We are now into the fourth week of the school holidays. Last week was a rather mundane one where we stayed home most of the time, and C had to attend BM tuition three days consecutively. However, on Saturday morning, we drove to Klang to rendezvous with E's parents and had breakfast at their favourite bak kut teh shop in Teluk Pulai before heading off together to Ipoh. We were invited to E's uncle's 80th birthday dinner there.
As Sunday was a public holiday for the state of Selangor (making Monday a holiday too), we expected traffic to be slightly heavier with people taking the opportunity to travel over the long weekend. We got caught in a jam due to the exodus out of the city along the North Klang Valley Expressway from Klang heading to the toll exit. Thankfully, after the toll, the highway was clear and we arrived in Ipoh in good time.
We had lunch in a coffeeshop before heading to E's aunt's house where we were staying the night. Shortly upon arrival, E and I followed E's cousin and wife to another coffeeshop as they had yet to have lunch....(greedy us...)
As Ipoh is a food haven, we got to savour some new flavours as the local hawkers gave their own twist to some Malaysian culinary delights. The coffeeshop had stalls selling popiah, Ipoh's well-known bean sprout chicken noodle (nga choy kai see hor fun), pork satay, sotong kangkung (their gravy is different from the ones in KL), rojak (Ipoh version) and caramel custard. Too bad this time I didn't bring my camera to take pics of the food. I didn't even think of using my cameraphone as I was distracted by the hustle and bustle of the crowded place, our conversation and the food! The name of the coffeeshop is Kong Heng and based on the number of food blogs that have written about it (google 'Kong Heng Ipoh'), I guess it is indeed popular.
While we were enjoying our 'second' lunch, C enjoyed herself at home playing with her cousins (kids of E's cousins) and more so with games on the two iPads that were making their rounds among the five kids. As they were about to play soccer outside in the garden, it started raining. After 'lepaking' indoors, it was time to get ready to attend the dinner.
Dinner started rather late with the restaurant being rather inefficient in getting the first course out. The food was good and portions were large. A few dishes, especially those towards the tailend of the seven (or eight?) course dinner, had quite a lot leftover, and were 'tah pau-ed' (doggy-bagged), a typical Malaysian habit of not letting food go to waste. The restaurant's name is Kok Thai, located in Kinta City, near Jusco. (Another good restaurant we went to for a wedding dinner in August is Mun Choong in Jalan Pasir Putih - still can't forget its special tasty dish of stir fried freshwater prawns, sublime gravy!)
The next morning, E's uncle took us to a coffeshop famous for its pork noodles, and it served only that. It's called Kedai Kopi Kam Hor in Ipoh Garden. Breakfast conversation included Ipoh-KL comparisons. In Ipoh, you can still get good hawker food with relatively large serving at RM4.00 on the average. In KL, you get not-so-tasty food at a minimum of RM4.50 or RM5.00 or more, depending on what you order. In Ipoh, the food is cooked and served by the stall owner and their relatives or local workers. In KL, the food is cooked and served by a foreign worker like an Indonesian or Myanmarese who also runs the stall with the stall owner not present. The stall owner is probably at another coffeeshop manning his 'main branch' of his hawker stall 'chain', or maybe at home putting his feet up in front of the tv! So, imagine how 'tasty' the KL nga choy kai see hor fun is when it's prepared by an Indonesian 'cook'!
Before departing for KL, we introduced E's parents and C to our newfound Ipoh kopitiam, Kong Heng, to have lunch.