Culture Lifestyle

8 things an Ipoh boy realizes after almost 20 years in KL

When I was a kid growing up in Ipoh, I could never get over the fact that KL folks would drive over 200 km to Ipoh to have a bowl of kai see hor fun (shredded chicken noodles, in case you didn’t know) or some taugeh ayam then head straight back home. I mean, what is so great about these dishes?

The chicken is white, the taugeh is white, the noodles are white, the soup was white (ok, not really white la, but clear-ish). Heck, even the plates, bowls, chopsticks and spoons are white! If anything, kai see hor fun and taugeh ayam should be (in)famous for being the blandest dishes in the world!

See? All white! The only thing whiter would be a Ku Klux Klan convention in the middle of a snowstorm!

I had even grown taugeh in one of my primary school science projects. It’s so simple, a gorilla could do it. (Put cotton wool in a cup, add beans and water, wait.) It certainly didn’t look like the kind of cuisine that would tempt people to spend RM100 on the 4-hour round-trip to Ipoh for a RM2 bowl of noodles.

Then, as many young people from Ipoh do, I went to KL seeking fame and fortune. And I had my first taste of KL’s version of kai see hor fun. Then, I finally understood the magical properties of Ipoh bean sprouts (beans, magic – didcha see what I did there? If you didn’t, just know that it’s not the pun that’s lame, ok.)

KL’s taugeh is skinny and limp, the hor fun is rough on the tongue, the soup was pure MSG, and the chicken was – thankfully – still chicken la.

taugehmeme

That’s when it finally dawned on me – eh, Ipoh taugeh and kway teow really quite special la! Nowhere else in Malaysia could you get such silky smooth kway teow and voluptuous sprouts! Ipoh’s bean sprouts are like the Salma Hayeks and Monica Belluccis of the Bean Sprout Kingdom, compared to the Kate Mosses and Gwyneth Paltrows that you normally get elsewhere.

So, lesson learnt. The stuff that I took for granted growing up in Ipoh are pretty awesome after all! Here are some other things this small town boy has discovered after setting down roots in KL. Some lessons turned out to be pretty unexpected, but all of it is true (to me la, at least)

 

1. What’s with the Sweet Brown Slime?

Pic from www.foodhunt.net

My first day in KL, a few of my Ipoh friends who had moved here before me decided to take me out for a welcome dinner. So I met them at the Damansara Uptown hawker center.

As usual, being in a new place, I asked, “What’s good around here?” And my friends recommended this and that. Being the noob, I assumed everything that had the same name should taste like how they did at home la. Oh man, I never knew…

Because I was feeling a bit homesick, I decided to order Sotong Kangkung. Now, the sotong kangkung you get at the Kong Heng and Lok Wui Kui coffee shops in Ipoh are truly awesome, with a capital “A”. It’s one of my all-time favourite hawker grub. I mean, eating it once or twice a week is definitely not enough. I could eat it every day!

So, when the plate of sotong kangkung came, I dug in. The moment it entered my mouth, I was like…

What kind of sick joke is this to play on a homesick Ipoh boy, KL?! (Pic from www.womenio.com)

Sweet brown sauce?! What. The. Fish. Lah? Who eats sotong and vegetables with this mysterious syrup that looks like it came out from an Indah Water treatment plant?! In Ipoh, we have it with the most awesome satay sauce you can imagine. That was the taste I had grown up with. Now, suddenly, 20+ years of delicious memories had been irreversibly traumatised!

Ohhh…but little did I realise the other nasty surprises that awaited me in the days to come.

Chee Cheong Fun, which I like to eat with yummy Ipoh-style mushroom sauce, was ALSO drowned in the same sticky brown stuff. Yong Tau Foo was also served with the Sweet Brown Slime instead of the usual chilli sauce! And (of all things) even Dim Sum too!!

Dang – this sweet brown sauce is everywhere! There is no escaping it!

This 1958 horror movie poster describes my sentiments about KL’s sweet brown sauce exactly.

Even after 18 years in KL, I have never been able to fully accept the Sweet Brown Sauce, even though it’s just about everywhere. So now, if I have Chee Cheong Fun, I always order it with curry. Yong Tau Foo? Chilli only please, hold the Brown Slime. Same goes for dim sum.

Whenever i get a chance to go back to Ipoh I try to go makan-makan all my favourite stuff, although it’s not quite the same anymore sadly. (I’ll explain later.)

But there is ONE place I can always count on to get decent Ipoh-style sotong kangkung in KL:

Lok-Lok trucks – the bastion of Ipoh-style sotong kangkung. Represent, yo! (Pic from backpackingmalaysia.com)

See the kangkung near the top? See the sotong in the middle row? See the satay sauce next to the chili sauce? There’s a perfect combination for you! Most of these lok-lok trucks have pretty kickass satay sauces. Sure, it’s a little bit of hassle to DIY your own sotong and kangkung then pour on the satay sauce. But for a little taste of home, it’s worth it la.

Well, after dissing the one major food group of KL, to be fair I also have to say…

 

2. What happened to all the awesome Ipoh food la?

Ipoh food sucks nowadays. There, I’ve said it. I’m not proud to say it, but it’s true. Really.

FLAMEFESTMEME

OK la, actually not all of Ipoh’s food sucks. But a lot of it has become really generic – no different from the stuff you can normally find in KL. Some of the local hawker food have become downright nasty. That’s a big disappointment for folks like me who go back hoping for a dose of nostalgia.

The legendary Ipoh hawkers like Kong Heng’s pork satay and kai see hor fun, and the famous hakka noodles on Hugh Low Street are just not the same since the second and third generations took over. Even the sotong kangkung I mentioned earlier can’t compare with those days. The tastiness has really gone down since my teen days, when my kaki and I wouldn’t mind waiting over half an hour for a table to grab our favourite nosh. Now, it’s more like “I can’t believe I had to wait half an hour for this crap!” But Ipoh flers still go la, for old times’ sake.

It’s not all bad at Kong Heng. My recommendation (clockwise from the satay): No, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. And a big Yes for their caramel custard too – still made the old fashioned way FTW! Pic from j2kfm.com

Even an old establishment like Foh San Dim Sum has seen better days. No doubt, they’re still a huge success, having moved to a palatial building of their own and enjoying overflowing crowds. But the food has deteriorated to the point where it tastes just like any other generic dim sum place. Locals go there for the nostalgia, but most of them know that Foh San’s competitors taste better now. (Dare I say it… I’ve even tasted better in KL – when it’s not dipped in the sweet brown slime!)

Foh San Dim Sum. Notice the crowd and the traffic jam? You have the pleasure of feeling their eyes staring daggers into your back while you eat, willing you to get lost and let them have the table! Pic from themalaymailonline.com

To add insult to injury, Ipoh food isn’t cheap anymore – prices are close to what KL folks charge. I guess we can’t really blame the operators as prices are rising everywhere and the prices of ingredients are almost the same nationwide. But at least maintain the standard of your elders la…

But it’s not all bad news. Thankfully, some places still maintain their forebears’ standards. The Dai Shu Geok hawker center is one such place. The yong tau foo stall there still serves legendary stuffed goodies, and it’s not unusual for the baskets of yong tau foo to be emptied within minutes. (BTW, it also helps if you know some MMA grapples if you want to try their stuff. Some of the local aunties can be very licik, squirming under your armpit to steal the famous fried turnip cakes you were reaching for.)

Only 37 bowls waiting to be prepared? It’s a slow day at Dai Shu Geok! Pic taken from bangsarbabe.com

The Funny Mountain stall still preserves the smooth and aromatic quality of its world-famous tau foo fah, even though the business has now passed on to the third generation. That’s because they still make it the same way it’s been made for the past 60-odd years.

That’s not a traffic jam. It’s the long line in Funny Mountain’s drive-through lane. Yep – Drive. Through. Tau. Foo. Fah. Pic taken from kayabuttertoast.com

There are other famous and not-so-famous places that still serve decent Ipoh fare. But the shock of tasting the decline in Ipoh hawker staples is just too much for this Ipoh boy to handle. (Excuse me while I go weep over my generic-tasting “Ipoh” kai see hor fun.)

 

3. Why Ipoh drivers so one kind wan?!

I had a road racer when I was in my teens. I used to overtake cars with it.

NAH, BACA:
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My dad would remind me about the potential danger of me, a big sized fellow, speeding through the city roads on a slim 2-wheeler. Crashing, being crushed to a pulp by huge-ass cars, stuff like that. But I always felt pretty safe on Ipoh roads. I knew that if I crashed, the drivers behind me would have plenty of time to check their left mirror, right mirror, rear mirror, adjust their spectacles, roll down their windows, breathe in some fresh air and enjoy the scenery, and maybe give a friendly wave to some passers-by before stepping on their brakes and rolling to a gentle stop, a few feet away from me.

Yeah, that’s how slow Ipoh drivers can be. It’s gets really frustrating.

Every time I go back to Ipoh, I need to have a Zen moment before I exit the highway toll. Just to remind myself that I’m entering another zone now – where time seems to move at a different speed. Otherwise when I exit the Ipoh toll, I look like a freakin’ greyhound, high on speed, bolting out of the race gates (see what I did there again? What can I say, I’m a punny guy!)

“OMG!!! LOOK OUT! It’s a KL driver!” – 90% of Ipoh residents

You know how accident victims look on TV shows when they finally notice the headlights bearing down on them? I get that a lot if I didn’t zone out properly first before paying the Ipoh toll. After I’ve properly “entered the slow zone” in my mind, I can ease into the 30kph traffic that’s so typical of Ipoh.

But slowness ain’t the main problem with Ipoh drivers.

Stick a speed limit reminder on any road, and BAM!! – Ipoh drivers will awaken their inner speed demon. They’ll suddenly speed up until they just break the speed limit. Don’t ask me why. I can’t explain this weird behaviour.

Back in my cycling days, I could easily overtake cars. Until I reached roads that had speed limits like 70kph or 80kph. Then I would get cars honking me and overtaking me. They would literally be trying to muscle me off the road in their hurry to beat the speed limit.

gollummeme

Thought process of a typical Ipoh driver

And it’s not just young flers who are the speed demons. Any old dude could be driving at 30kph until he turns into a road where the speed limit is 70kph. VRROOM!! That uncle will immediately speed up until he’s at least doing 75kph. He’ll happily cruise at that speed until he turns into a road with a 90kph speed limit, then he’ll do at least 95kph. Turn into a road with no speed limit, and he goes back down to 30kph, even when there are no other cars on the road.

Why like that, one? I also dunno!

Give me KL driving anytime, where it’s all about survival of the fittest. The law of the jungle is not pretty, but it has a logic that I can understand and operate in. Ipoh drivers seem to operate on some alien driving rules from a completely different universe.

 

4. I don’t remember Ipoh having so much traffic jam!

Alamak! KL exports its traffic problems to Ipoh… Pic from thestar.com.my

Like everyone else, I go back during festivals and occasionally on weekends. But, hot dang, what happened to the relaxed town I used to cycle around in?! All the streets, shops and makan places are frikkin’ jammed up, just like in KL.

Oh yeah, every other Ipoh boy and girl also goes back during festivals and on weekends. That’s a real bummer for anyone hoping to get a little taste of the tranquility they enjoyed in their childhood.

This is what Ipoh’s streets normally look like when I’m not back there. Haiz…

 

5. Ipoh pasar malam stuff so expensive one?!

I’ve gone to Ipoh’s “Gerbang Malam” weekend night bazaar in town once or twice. Really busy place. Because it’s located in Ipoh’s “Makan Central” near the famous taugeh ayam, there’s no shortage of after-dinner shoppers, whether locals or tourists. Got a lot of interesting stuff on sale too. Besides the usual pasar malam stuff, there are henna artists, buskers, portrait sketchers, antiques and other knick knacks you don’t usually see in a typical pasar malam.

Probably the most interesting Pasar Malam in Ipoh

Once when I went there, I wanted to buy a handphone casing. I thought: OK la, Ipoh + pasar malam = cheap!!! At least, it should be cheaper than KL la. The asking price turned out to be 3 times of what is normally charged in KL. Some more the fler refused to entertain any haggling. Walaueh… I’m guessing he’s not worried about his mountains of phone casings not being moved that night.

But…maybe I’ve developed the “rich KL tourist” look already la, after spending so much time here.

Actually, you can find some really interesting stuff at Gerbang Malam. Like this art stall selling awesome pencil sketches for just a few bucks. Pic from syigimsharif.blogspot.com

And this stall selling affordable arty-farty hipster retro light fittings. Wait…did I just say “affordable”? Pic from gopixpic.com

And this stall selling super cheap street fashion… Wah, it’s really dirt cheap wey!

Hey, everything looks super cheap here. How come the phone casing fler was asking for so much?

I must really have developed that “rich KL tourist” look already la.

Shit.

 

6. The No.1 export from Ipoh is … people.

No, I’m not saying that Ipoh is into human trafficking. But Ipoh does export a lot of its people. For some reason, very few youngsters want to stay in Ipoh. For that matter, not many middle-aged folks do either. Everybody seems to be headed out of Ipoh as fast as they can.

Now, I don’t have the exact statistics to prove that. But a random survey of my Facebook friends shows that 90% of my classmates (I didn’t do an exact calculation, but it looked like 90%) are currently working in places like KL (biasalah), Singapore, UK, US, or Australia. Most of them are doing ridiculously well. Even the bloody naughty boys! No wait, ESPECIALLY the naughty boys!

I recently discovered that one lout whom we used to call “Ham Choong” (or “Lecherous Worm” because of all his foul-mouthed joking), now has TWO engineering patents under his belt! I found out that another bad influence who tried to get me hooked on cigarettes (luckily, I was smart enough not to follow in his footsteps) is now a millionaire, and has been one for some time already (OK…maybe I should have followed him somewhat.)

Wonder if these kids grew up to be millionaire geniuses too?! Pic from ebaumsworld.com

Maybe Ipoh is too small to give talent like that the opportunities they need to shine. But when youngsters and even uncles and aunties are hopping overseas to do blue collar work, something is not right la!

Young people often go and work as waiters, coolies, and other blue collar jobs. Despite the hardships they experience overseas, many don’t come back. Even married couples with children do it. They leave their kids with their parents, spend 5 to 10 years overseas and come back with suitcases of cash to buy nice houses and cars and just take it easy with the kids for a while. When their moolah runs out a few years later, they simply hop on a plane again. Simple as that.

Stories of “tiu fei kei” (literally “plane hopping”) aka illegally overstaying to work in the UK, US or Australia are so common it doesn’t raise any eyebrows among locals. How common is it? Well, let’s just say it’s not unusual for the Ipoh-mali to land in a foreign city and discover that a Malaysian friend they met there knows someone from Ipoh too. There’s no freaky clash of coincidences about that. It’s just the law of probabilities – put enough Ipoh people into one foreign city, they’re bound to bump into each other!

Ipoh had produced so many hardworking and brilliant people, only to lose most of them. Imagine what the town would be like if all of them decided to come back and apply all their awesome brains and work ethic to their hometown.

Exactly what would happen

 

7. Why is Ipoh not listed as a Heritage town (yet)?

One of the sad things about going back to Ipoh is seeing the city grow older. And it’s not just the people.

See, Ipoh is memang an old city already. The city center is divided into “Old Town” and “New Town”. The “New Town” is already over 100 years old! The Old Town is almost 200 years old. Within these 2 areas, there are many lovely, lovely century-old buildings. Many of them were built by famous British architects of the day.

oldnewtown

Ipoh used to be the second most important city in Malaya, after KL. So, naturally, all the Mat Salleh who’s who wanted to visit and set up businesses here la. And they built all those beautiful buildings. Did I mention already just how lovely they are? Well, they are lovely.

Some of the most iconic buildings in Ipoh are its theaters. The Cathay and Lido theaters were the largest and most popular. In its colonial heydays, they hosted movie screenings as glamorous as any Hollywood gala. Then there are the Odeon, Ruby and Rex cinemas whose architecture reflects the beautiful trend of the swingin’ 40s. Then there was the Jubilee Park theatre with an adjoining cabaret on one side and an amusement complex on the other. This was once the entertainment hub of Ipoh.

Built in the 50’s and launched by the Sultan of Perak himself, Cathay theater enjoyed good business up until the 1990’s. Then came the cineplexes. Pic from ipohworld.org

The art-deco Majestic cinema was built in the 1940s. My grandma used to take me here for afternoon movies. It was torn down to make way for a condo – also called The Majestic. Pic from ipohworld.org

The problem is, all these iconic buildings have seen much better days. Some have been gutted and converted into restaurants or furniture warehouses. The Jubilee Park, once the most happening place in Perak that used to attract youngsters from all the smaller towns around Ipoh, now lies abandoned.

Before there was internet porn, there were “peepshow machines”. Hamsap flers from all over Perak would descend on Jubilee Park to splash all their pocket money just to see some naughty pictures on these machines. Pic from 188hughlowstreet.wordpress.com

Cathay theater today. How far it has fallen since its glory days. Pic from 188hughlowstreet.wordpress.com

Take a walk around the Old and New Town areas and you will see street after street of beautiful pre-WW2 shoplots. But most of them are in disrepair. Many are abandoned.

Typical sight of Ipoh Old Town’s 100+ year old buildings – abandoned, falling apart or being renovated out of their original character. Pic from realtymalaysia.blogspot.com

FMS Restaurant used to be one of the swankiest eateries in town. It has been abandoned for many years now. Pic from starproperty.my

Thank God, some buildings are still in fantastic condition.

Ipoh’s old Town Hall. It’s now used for important events, like government functions and glamorous weddings for the town’s upper class society. Pic from malaysiaholidaytravel.com

Ipoh’s majestic railway station. Look familiar to you? It should, because it’s designed by the same Mat Salleh who designed the KL railway station. But Ipoh’s version has some pretty dodgy tenants, unfortunately. Pic from flickr.com

Tragically, some owners, in their eagerness to make these colonial buildings more modern and attractive to tenants, have completely destroyed their facade and character.

Like these guys, who have turned the shop lots’ beautiful colonial architecture into random monstrosities! Pic from realtymalaysia.blogspot.com

Of course, there are those who do it right! These beautifully restored homes now house some of the hippest outlets in Ipoh. (Yes, Ipoh people also can be hip!) Pic from thestar.com.my

For all its heritage buildings and foodie culture, how come Ipoh is not being promoted as a heritage tourism like Penang and Melaka hah? Someone should really look into this!

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are several groups who are working hard to preserve Ipoh’s heritage. Some of them archive Ipoh’s history and culture. Some are actively promoting Ipoh as a heritage tourist destination, even though it has not received official recognition as such.

Remember the legendary Kong Heng coffee shop I mentioned earlier? A group of people had bought up the colonial buildings around the shop and maverick architect Ng Sek San has converted them into a lovely boutique hotel under the Sekeping group. Best thing about it is – he preserved everything that was lovely about it.

From the outside, it still looks like a run-down colonial shop lot. But on the inside…

…it’s a hipster’s paradise! Pic from travelchameleon.net

Stylo overload! Pic from tripadvisor.com

You can check out more pics of this unique hotel here.

Lovely!

 

8. Actually, Ipoh town and its people are super awesome la!

Sure Ipoh folks have their eccentricities (we are damn kedekut but still love shopping, we have schizoid driving habits, we are damn stubborn when it comes to new ideas, etc) but after all that you’ve read above, how can anyone doubt that Ipoh is an awesome place?

After all, if you have enjoyed reading this piece – it’s written by an Ipoh boy!

30 Comments

  1. Reload Food

    24/11/2015 at 11:25 am

    All hail to Ipoh~

  2. Sadiq

    26/01/2015 at 12:42 pm

    Tepen also best lah, a lot of good food hahaha

  3. Khor Soon Seng

    24/01/2015 at 10:10 pm

    I m a true blue Ipoh chai, studied in Anderson in 80s, great place, my friends some of them are still there. In fact there are a lot of great places here besides makan, we hv the Taman DR Seenivasagam, Tambun n it’s pomeloes, the famous Tg Rambutan, bookstores like Anthonian, the old shopping complexes like Yik Foong, Super Kinta, Ipoh Gdn Plaza, Ipoh Emporium, Perak Emporium, Beauty Supermarket, Hoh mou tan Cheh Tao translated to Tg Rambutan bus station, opposite vangeh rice, don’t forget the 2 cave temples (perak tong & Sam poh tong),2 Buddhist temple at Tambun Road and Kuala Kangsar road, one of the first modern private hospital, Hospital Fatima, hangout places for supper, at Ipoh Gdn mushroom umbrella food court, hotels like excelsior…used to hangout there for live world cup match in 80s…Casuarina for its Filipino bands, Ulu Kinta waterfall, on and on bro….to those who know me, I was known as Siam then….Andersonian …1981 to 1985, Sri Kepayang, 1978-1980, La Salle, 1972-1977.
    Lastly, Ipoh Mali, Kincing Talak Munyi.
    Don’t forget the famous, the late Rose Chan…Itu is a diff era

  4. Jasbir Singh

    24/01/2015 at 7:48 am

    I was born and brought up in Ipoh. Attended ACS, Ipoh. So did my father and grandfather before me. I now reside in Melbourne. I still have my siblings in Ipoh and I make it a point to make my annual pilgrimage to my hometown every year. Many things have changed. Yes, the food has become more commercial and the traffic worse. But I still think Ipoh is a great place to live and has the best food. If not for the limited good job prospects, I will still be in Ipoh. The wonderful memories of growing up in Ipoh will always remain with me. I plan to retire in Ipoh one day. I hope Ipoh does not lose its old charm by overdevelopment and becoming too touristy

  5. Gary_Chin_Wei_Meng

    22/01/2015 at 10:45 am

    I like to congratulate your observations of Ipoh during the weekends and festive seasons. However, I like to share my thoughts after 19 years in KL and now retired back in Ipoh for 3 years. You are right there are some old favourites that have passed us by and become the crap that we put in our mouths but there are fantastic new additions that you may not have a chance to visit. To put it mildly, you may have experienced what we call the Ipoh Tourist Disease. Hence you pay tourist prices 🙂 But if you go back to the sleepy old corners of Ipoh,… I can still get Hakka Mee at RM2.60 and it tastes damm good 🙂 Mind you the best, which just retired a month ago was serving double portions at RM2.90 in Ipoh Garden South. You want great Pan Mee, look no further than Station 18, behind Tesco. Cheap and GOOD and don’t forget to order the Foo Chuok, and don’t be shy ordering 10 pieces or more. They disappear very fast before your eyes. Let’s not forget the Ipoh Curry Mee. Some like it soupy, some like it dry, some like it with santan, some with none, and depending on the time of the day, not all are open all day. Choose your timing carefully. And if you miss your Sotong Kangkung, my recommendation to you is try out the new Nam Heong restaurant near the Ipoh Fountain. The peanut satay sauce is about as original as it can get 🙂 And if you need a guide, tinkle me for a good old Ipoh feel. ex-Michaelian 68

    • Chee Seng

      22/01/2015 at 11:17 am

      Shucks…the “Rich KL Tourist” vibe is that strong, eh? Thanks for the recommendations. Will definitely go and check them out next time I’m back!

  6. jason

    20/01/2015 at 3:46 pm

    If become heritage town, later longer queue for food and traffic jam also. Ipoh please stay small…

  7. Kobibing

    20/01/2015 at 1:13 pm

    I love this piece, so true it’s actually hurt. The food, the white coffee, the people, the hills, the water, the building, the school etc so many good old memories.. Only those from Ipoh could feel it.. I guess we (ex ipoh-ians) never truly move on after all these years.. #ipohrules #always

  8. maddy

    20/01/2015 at 10:45 am

    i love ipoh

  9. Jeffrao

    20/01/2015 at 12:59 am

    I’m not an Ipoh person but I think you missed out the other good export of Ipoh…

    There use to be a saying the Ipoh girls are damn hawt and white…maybe its cause of the water they drink…

    Does this still hold true..

  10. BSSIDHU

    19/01/2015 at 9:29 pm

    My friend.
    You use the word SLIME once to often.It’s disgusting.Yes.Ipoh food is unbeatable.

  11. Ghafar

    19/01/2015 at 8:46 pm

    IPOH…..Ini Pekan Orang Handsome!!!

  12. Ninja Siam

    19/01/2015 at 5:51 pm

    Missed good old days in Ipoh with ‘Mat Rempit’ everywere on Saturday night, missed with ‘char koew teow’ in dataran Ipoh, missed with illegal car racing from Padang Ipoh thru Ipoh Parade thru Balai Polis Bandar Ipoh and back to Padang Ipoh, missed ‘Nasi Vanggey’, ‘Nasi Ganja’, missed buying a sticker at yik foong, missed illegal drag race and drifting at puspakom gopeng..what the good old days…can’t ‘buy’ all those memory in other places..

  13. Sydney65

    19/01/2015 at 3:51 pm

    As a tourist guide, I have travelled North and South of Malaysia but traffic during holidays in all cities are jammed. Penang and Ipoh are no exception. I miss the food. I will never complain about Malaysian Food. Yes, you have to search but don’t need to go too far.

    Trying staying here in Sydney, Australia. Authentic food that is Not Authentic, restaurants claim they are Authentic. On presentation they look good. When you put in the Mouth, taste bad.

    Nothing like Malaysian Food. Taste So Good.

  14. sulayman

    19/01/2015 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, many can travel 200km to eat their favourite food, this is most probably because Malaysian petrol price is subsidized heavily and thus became very cheap and still worth it to travel 200km to have favourite makan!

  15. A.Gopal Krishna

    19/01/2015 at 2:56 pm

    I am from Ipoh and studied at SMI and Anderson Schools. The good old days at Ipoh can never be forgotten.

  16. Lok Mun

    19/01/2015 at 2:06 pm

    There is a reason why we Ipoh folks drive so slow. Like some of you mentioned, Ipoh is such a small town everything is 10 minutes away. (If it takes more than half an hour to get anyway means ‘terrible traffic jam’.) No point speeding, you just get to wherever you want to go one or two minutes faster at the most. Also there aren’t many highways with flyovers in Ipoh, Roads mainly two types, those who pass through housing estates, in which case please do not speed because you might knock down some uncle or aunt walking by, or those in town areas, in which case no point speeding because eventually you will end up stopping at one of the many traffic lights anyway.

  17. khush

    19/01/2015 at 12:28 pm

    Good captivating storey.You forgot about kwan low mee. This was fantastic at acs canteen in the 60s Now I find almost same stuff in
    buntong outskirts side stall. These are the places to get the stuff you are looking for after 40 yrs also the curry mee. Good to share food adventures in Ipoh and ya the long life noodels around jusco makes you want to come back. Good writeup exciting

  18. Hoo

    19/01/2015 at 10:33 am

    Wonderful documented stories about Ipoh, Good work, keep it up !. I travel to Ipoh from KL once every 3 month and Ipoh does bring back some nostalgic moments, it make me feel sad sometime when I think of those close friends from Ipoh who like you have mentioned already ‘ tiu Fei kei ‘ or ‘ jump aeroplane ‘ to US and work there, never to return to Ipoh anymore. I personally have met quite a number of them residing in New York when I was there in 1989. But I’m from KL and definitely not a ‘ tiu fei kei ‘ expert !

  19. John

    18/01/2015 at 11:45 pm

    Go back to Ipoh then. KL would be free from traffic jam if all outsiders are back to their respective hometown.

    • Kay

      19/01/2015 at 1:16 am

      What with the negativity?

    • razor dave

      19/01/2015 at 9:43 am

      Ipoh boy here telling all KL guys like John to stay in KL and don’t frigging jam up the roads here by coming up. the reason why there is serious traffic jam in Ipoh is cuz all those KL guys coming here on chinese new year and long holidays. Ask any Ipoh dude. normal days it’s pretty much much clear of jams except for after work commute.

  20. Alan Tang

    18/01/2015 at 9:28 pm

    Good write up !
    Everytime when I read about foodies comment on Ipoh foods, it brought me good memories of my years in Anderson School, Ipoh in the mid 70s. The curry noodles and yong tau fu then taste much better than the present fare. Blame it on progress or mass production?
    Wonder why no one has come up with a franchise offering real Ipoh food so far.
    Keep up your writing.
    Cheers!

  21. jc

    18/01/2015 at 8:40 pm

    worked in ipoh for 2 years before returning home to KL. i miss the food and how close everything is to each other! anything more than 10mins away is “far” while in KL it’s acceptable to drive 20-30km to work each day. the town has really changed even in the 3 years since i’ve left. thankfully there is a greater awareness for the need to preserve the beautiful colonial buildings. i hope more businessmen join efforts with the local council to restore the buildings. i love what Julie (from indulgence) did with Burps and Giggles (the first truly australia/KL-style hipster cafe in ipoh!). she set an example for the cafe scene and it’s great that the kong heng area has turned out the way it is now…although i really dislike that plan b has made an appearance!

    anyway ipoh is a great town. if only the people drove a little faster.

    • Chee Seng

      18/01/2015 at 9:10 pm

      Yup! Indulgence was the first really “modern” place in Ipoh. We all watched in disbelief when this lady dared to sell RM4 slices of cakes in Ipoh during the 90’s. 😀 But she proved everyone wrong la. And she’s set the standard for everyone else today. The other place is Maria’s, but I’m not sure if they’re still open in Ipoh.

      When the high speed train between KL and Ipoh comes online, maybe it would be viable to live in Ipoh and commute to KL to work. That would be getting the best of both worlds, eh?

  22. Justin Ho

    18/01/2015 at 5:41 pm

    The taste of Ipoh food, satisfying and unforgettable. Always looking forward to it, once back to Ipoh from Samarinda, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. What a world of difference between the Ipoh food and Samarinda food. Keep up the tradition.

  23. Anonymous

    18/01/2015 at 1:42 pm

    Bro, i think you missed out on schools especially SMI, ACS, MGS and Anderson which all have hit the centennial mark.. Legit heritage sites in Ipoh which deserve recognition because they have been maintained and used up to this day… Other than that awesome write..

    • Chee Seng

      18/01/2015 at 9:20 pm

      Yup, indeed there are many beautiful buildings – too many to list down la, bro…

  24. Kenny_Loh

    18/01/2015 at 9:21 am

    Having gone to school in Ipoh, the thing that saddens me is how the buildings have been brutalised. Just look at the bakery across Kong Heng and Panglima Lane is no better. About the only buildings that retain its old colonial charm are the ones designed by Seksan, another Ipoh fler though he is from SMI and I’m from ACS

  25. Kenny_Loh

    18/01/2015 at 9:21 am

    Having gone to school in Ipoh, the thing that saddens me is how the buildings have been brutalised. Just look at the bakery across Kong Heng and Panglima Lane is no better. About the only buildings that retain its old colonial charm are the ones designed by Seksan, another Ipoh fler though he is from SMI and I’m from ACS

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