Some of the most famous dishes in Ipoh revolves around chicken, isn’t it? There’s many chicken rice places such as Pak Kong, kai si hor fun which features chicken at Thean Chun, honey chicken wings at Menglembu, and salt baked chicken at Aun Kheng Lim.
Well, to add to this list, today we’re going to talk about one of local’s favorite bean sprout chicken hor fun place at Ipoh – Restaurant Cowan Street.
Cowan Street Chicken & Horfun, Ipoh
Restoran Cowan Street Ayam Tauge & Koitiau is the full name of the place, and despite the name, is located at Jalan Raja Ekram in Ipoh New Town, a stone’s throw away from other popular eateries such as Ming Court dimsum.
The restaurant has a reputation of having erratic opening hours, and has 3 rest days per week. They’re serve dinner for quite a limiting hours of 6-9:30pm, do call ahead and check if they’re opened to avoid disappointment.
dinner for two – chicken, bean sprouts, chicken feet, offal
We ordered chicken for two, a plate of bean sprouts (always a must!), chicken feet, and added a plate of chicken offal to go with two bowls of hor fun, there’s no rice served at Cowan Street.
Ordering was very quick, and service was even quicker, it took only a couple minutes before everything was served, I was quite impressed.
The review of the food is simple.. everything here was absolutely on point!
The chicken was cooked just right, smooth, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. The bean sprouts did not disappoint, and even the chicken feet and chicken offal were all just spot on.
I absolutely love the texture of everything here, those meat, fats, and innards’ soft and tender texture in contrast with those crunchy bean sprouts, perfect. If one would to nitpick, you could perhaps say that the dishes are just very slightly to the salty side, but they do balance out with the hor fun.
when in Ipoh, one must always order bean sprouts
Dinner came to be RM 45 including two drinks, perhaps a little pricey according to some, but I’m more than happy to pay for the quality and will certainly be back here again when I have another chance.
When it comes to Ipoh food, kai si hor fun & chicken rice usually comes to mind, and if you along down the list, eventually you may.. or most likely, not going to end up with mee goreng.. I mean, it’s Ipoh, right?
However, since we like to be a bit off the mainstream, mee goreng (and mee rebus) in Ipoh is what we’re going to talk about today.
legit mee goreng
The particular hawker spot is called Cathay Mee Stall, manned by an Indian couple at the ground floor of “New Beauty Hotel” in Ipoh town. Searching by the name “Cathay Mee Stall” will also get you to the same place.
The set up is simple, and they offer 3 choices to choose from – mee goreng, mee rebus, and rojak (which is similar to mee rebus without the mee, essentially).
For our after-hike refueling exercise, we ordered a plate of mee goreng with a plate of mee rebus.
mee rebus (would have been jawa mee if you’re Chinese?)
The mee rebus came within minutes as it requires a lot simpler assembly, while mee goreng took 30 minutes as the stall does get quite busy even during MCO with a lot of takeaways & delivery orders.
Both versions came with generous amount of ingredients – including egg (boiled in rebus, fried in mee goreng), prawn fritter, potato, tofu, and such. The noodle used here is also a little thinner than usual, giving it more surface area to soak up those yummy sauce.
Cathay Mee Stall, Ipoh
The mee goreng is said to be the best in Ipoh, and I must say that it is indeed very well fried & a rather delicious rendition of the dish. However, I do feel that their mee rebus is perhaps even more superior, if you’re a fan of mee rebus or jawa mee, don’t miss this version as their sauce & ingredient paring hits the right spots for me (and perhaps you!).
Kai Si Hor Fun (kuih teow with shredded chicken) to Ipoh is pretty much char kuih teow or asam laksa to Penang, if there’s one hawker dish you should not miss when in Ipoh, it should be this.
And when it comes to kai si hor fun, the most famous of it all is arguably the Tricycle Chicken & Prawn Noodle at Restoran Thean Chun.
Thean Chun kopitiam at Ipoh Old Town
Restoran Thean Chun is located at Ipoh Old Town, and on “normal” days, commands quite a long queue and wait time. Thankfully, due to Covid-19 and being somewhat early in the morning (before 10am), there wasn’t a crowd.
P/S: yes, we did have to obtain police permission for interstate traveling with valid reason.
The kai si hor fun is a dish that has elements of prawns as well as poultry. Shredded steamed chicken & sliced prawn on top, a soup base that’s enhanced by prawn oil, and along those yummy Ipoh bean sprouts and chives, makes for quite a unique taste. This dish outside Ipoh usually can capture some of these elements but falls short when it comes to quality of bean sprouts.
Also, speaking of bean sprouts, they are offered as a side dish as well, which I recommend 100%.
kai si hor fun with bean sprouts
Other than the excellent kai si hor fun, another stall worth checking out would be the pork satay at the rear. We tried their pork meat satay as well as intestine (actually pig fallopian tubes, or “sang cheong”) and they were definitely yummy, especially those intestine, soft and crunchy at the same time and goes super well with satay sauce.
pork satay with intestine too
If you know anywhere else serving this “intestine” in satay format, let me know!
On my trip to Ipoh when we were in this period of “Recovery CMO” back in August 2020 (yes, 2020 is a strange year), I was introduced to one of the more famous Ipoh hawker offerings by the name of “liu fun” at Choong Kee, or commonly also known as Big Tree, at Pasir Pinji, Ipoh – 忠记大树头炸料粉.
Choong Kee “Big Tree” at Ipoh
As it turns out, liu fun is almost entirely exactly like yong tau foo – with stuffed tofu, red chili, bitter gourd, long beans, tofu, and so forth. These comes both in deep fried as well as soup version. The only difference here is that instead of serving with chee cheong fun or rice like most yong tau foo places, in Ipoh, you get to choose your choice of noodle (meehun, yellow noodle, kuih teow etc) instead.
The ingredients (or yong tau foo in this case) = liu 料, noodle = fun 粉. Hence, liu fun 料粉.
Choong Kee is located under a big tree, and hence the name. While there maybe others that claim to be of same origin, this is apparently the one and only Choong Kee in the whole of Ipoh or anywhere else.
do you call it yong tau foo or liu fun?
There’s close to a dozen different ingredients to choose from, with the price clearly stated on the billboard atop the stall. The SOP is simple, take your pick and place them in a basket, and the operators will re-fry or put them in hot soup prior to serving.
The must-order here is their excellent fried turnip. Imagine a very good, crunchy & sweet version of fried radish, but better.
Pasir Pinji chee cheong fun, tapao only
To kick it up a notch, instead of their “noodle”, we actually stopped by the famous Pasir Pinji chee cheong fun and tapao a couple packs of these delicious carbs to go with the liu fun.
The chee cheong fun is super soft and carries an excellent texture that is just right, they also come with pickled green chili and a chili sauce that’s spicy and slightly sweetish. It is a must-try if you’re into chee cheong fun.
chee cheong fun, liu fun, and roast pork
Pairing the yong tau foo/liu fun with the chee cheong fun proved to be an excellent combination, and if you’re a fan of siu yok (roast pork), there’s a stall at Choong Kee offering that as well, get some!
When it comes to food, the action in Ipoh pretty much centers around the new town area regardless of time of day it is, and if you’ve already gotten enough of the various rendition of chicken rice and are longing for some good old fashion fried noodle, then Tuck Kee is certainly a place to check out.
Ipoh Tuck Kee, Ipoh New Town
Located at Ipoh New Town along Jalan Yau Tet Shin, the middle lot occupied by Tuck Kee sprawls over the parking area outside the old shop houses at night. If the weather cooperates, alfresco is a great choice, otherwise the place may get a little bit packed and you may even have to queue up for a table during busy weekends.
Menu is a simple two page affair – one with the various types of noodle, the other with a selection of 5 different side dishes (menu photos below).
braised yee mee, wat tan hor, hokkien mee, yu kong hor
For the five of us, we ordered just about a little bit of everything from the menu.
Of the four types of noodle we ordered, the moonlight hor (yut kong hor) was the best, followed by a pretty good braised yee mee and wat tan hor. The Hokkien mee though, was a bit of a let down with the texture of noodle being too easily torn. If you only have to order one dish here, get the moonlight hor.
The accompanying sambal is on self-served, take all you can basis, which was awesome cos the sambal was legit.
baby octopus, chicken feet, bean sprout
The three side dishes we ordered were all quite spot on. You can always count on bean sprouts in Ipoh and this one did not disappoint. The baby octopus reminds me of the version they served at Teow Chew Meng, which was good, and those chicken feet is almost as satisfying as the version in Kimberley Street in Penang.
Best of all, at Tuck Kee, service is super fast, and prices are super reasonable. A portion of noodle in the photo above was at RM 7 or RM 8, with the only dish over RM 10 being the octopus, no wonder the locals flocks to this place.