It is a bit of a custom to bring back some food whenever you travel, right? And none better than those type that can be kept for a week or three before consuming, when it comes to Ipoh, the default for such item would be these Ching Han Guan pork floss biscuits.
Ching Han Guan biscuit shop, Ipoh
The shop is located at the epicenter of Ipoh town, in fact, just a stone’s throw away from the Aun Kheng Lim salt baked chicken that I penned just a couple entries ago on this blog. Ching Han Guan can command quite a queue especially on weekends, so bring your mask and prepare to wait if you don’t call ahead. If you can call in advance, you’ll have your order prepared to be picked up without having to line up, so do that.
pork floss biscuit from top left – original, pandan, bakwa, salted egg yolk
These biscuits aren’t exactly biscuits, but pork floss wrapped in thin, fluffy layer of pastry that oozes a mixture of umami and porky goodness, they are savory and sweet at the same time, and goes super well with a cup of black coffee. The biscuits come in four different flavors – original (with only pork floss), pandan, bakwa (sweetened dried pork), and salted egg yolk.
My favorites are between the bakwa and salted egg yolk, and I suppose it is due to them carrying a slight saltiness that brings out the sweetness of pork floss even more.
Ching Han Guan biscuits are individually packed
If you’re in Ipoh and look to bring back some handy food gifts, be sure not to miss this.
Right after announcement of the easing of movement control order, I made a plan to travel up North for some long overdue family time, and on the way back, stopped by Ipoh for a bit of R&R. And since it was already late afternoon by the time we were heading back, I thought it was probably a good idea to have dinner packed from Ipoh “sekaligus”.
The choice for dinner was Ipoh’s famous Salt Baked Chicken at Aun Kheng Lim, located right in old town Ipoh – right by Jalan Theathre.
Aun Kheng Lim Salt Baked Chicken
Aun Kheng Lim is somewhat of an institution and a bit of a tourist attraction in itself, there’s only one item on the menu – chicken stuffed with some Chinese herbs, baked in coarse salt, aka salt baked chicken (fresh or frozen, RM 21 a pop in year 2020). You only get to order to go, the shop does not have any dine in area, or do they offer any fancy side dishes. You line up, asks for the number of chicken you want, take them, and eat at your own leisure.
whole salt baked chicken, tender enough to tear off by hands
You can have the chicken at room temperature, but warming it up with a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes is my preferred method of serving. The chicken is probably just a little over 1 kg, not terribly big, and perfect for 2 person of moderate appetite if you’re going all paleo and without rice. The combination of herbal note and those saltiness brought out the taste of the bird, so satisfying to gobble down with a glass of ice cold water (or beer) to go with.
If you’re in Ipoh, you owe it to yourself to tapao a few birds back home.
P/S: there’s another shop selling the same thing, and to my untrained tongue, they tastes pretty similar.
When it comes to food in Ipoh, the most famous of them all has got to be chicken rice with bean sprout, and for those who love this dish, there’s no other place that is more popular than Restoran Tauge Ayam Ong Kee right in the heart of Ipoh town, which was where we stopped by for lunch on New Year’s day.
Ong Kee Ipoh Chicken Rice
If you get to Ong Kee on weekends of during public holidays, getting there in itself can sometimes be a problem, and parking too can be quite a challenge. After all those, you may still end up spending a bit of time waiting for a vacant table. Though thankfully, food usually doesn’t take too long to be served, so there’s that.
innards, bean sprouts, poached chicken
The menu choices are simple, there’s poached chicken, innards, bean sprouts, and there’s also pork balls should you want to indulge yourself in some non-avian meat.
Most popular eateries get the “used to be better” and “overrated” labels quite a bit, but honestly speaking I do find Ong Kee’s chicken right on par with expectations. They are tender, not overly complex, and soak in properly balanced cocktail of soya sauce. The bean sprouts too is of rather good quality, as with most bean sprouts from Ipoh, probably due to the water quality.
the amount of chicken they sell each day is astounding
Overall, lunch proved to be quite a satisfying affair, and at RM 36 including drinks, it was quite an affordable option as well. Happy eating!
While on the way to Penang for Cheng Meng last week, we stopped by Ipoh for a quick dinner. The choice of noms for the night was the famous Menglembu Honey Chicken.
famous Menglembu honey chicken stall (shop now)
While I’ve had the honey chicken wings many times (usually tapao by Horng) The last time I visited this place was at some 10 years ago, and instead of that little small hawker stand, it is now a whole shop by itself, with ample workers to cater for their booming business.
The mainstay is their honey chicken wings (RM 2), but you can also order chicken skin (RM 2), honey bbq pork (RM 3), fried mushroom (RM 2), drumstick (RM 3), chicken breast/ribs (RM 3), and whole quarter chicken leg (RM 6).
the best honey chicken wings there is
We ordered a 2 pairs of honey chicken wings, 2 fried drumsticks, and a plate of deep fried chicken skin to share.
The honey chicken was as good as remembered. Sweet, succulent, and sticky in a good way. The meat gets torn off the bones so easily you can feed this to someone toothless. Chicken skin too would make very good beer food.
As for the deep fried drumsticks though, they were very ordinary, and play second fiddle to my favorite KFC.
If you’re willing to detour a little on a late evening drive between Penang and KL, do stop by this place and get some honey chicken. I assure you the extra 10km drive is worth it.
When it comes to dimsum, Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum restaurant at Ipoh is gotta be one of my all time favorites. I always try to make it a point to stop by Ming Court whenever I drive between KL and Penang in the mornings.
For evening commute, I sometimes head to Pun Chun for wantan mee and chicken biscuits instead.
Ming Court Hong Kong Tim Sum restaurant
The restaurant is located at the heart of Ipoh city in an unsuspecting shop lot, opposite another dimsum behemoth that is Fu Shan. While some swore by Fu Shan, I personally had the experience of rather disappointing meal there, hence I stick to this old school outlet these days. (the reason why I don’t blog about Fu Shan).
Parking can be a bit challenging, but there’re private car parks nearby. Like Hong Kong, sharing table is pretty much obligated here due to the volume of customer.
glutinous rice with chicken, braised phoenix claws, stuffed eggplant
The glutinous rice with chicken, braised phoenix claws (chicken feet lah!), stuffed eggplants, and of course, the usual hargao (prawn dimsum) and siumai (pork dimsum) are must orders. The portions are slightly smaller than those found in KL, but packed a bigger punch in flavors.
The dimsum here always tasted super fresh and steamy hot too.
har gao, siu mai, black sesame soup
One of the must-order signature dish at Ming Court is their black sesame soup. While the black colored soup might look a bit like diluted mud from the photo, the combination of it’s smell and taste really blew me away when I had this. It was rich yet really smooth, there’s no “jelak” feeling afer consuming the whole bowl either.
deep fried dimsum, chee cheong fun, pork ribs
Other than traditional steamed dimsum, there’s a wide variety of deep fried dishes too. I’ve tried their prawns with mayonnaise, wu kok, and quite a few other items completely foreign to me. They all tasted pretty awesome.
Their chee cheong fun and pork ribs were A-OK too.