Mei Er came home from the United States with her American boyfriend (Dan) so we decided to go for a roadtrip to explore local food and places of attraction as a cultural exposure and experience for him. And we have chosen: Ipoh!
I volunteered to plan the trip only to plan it at midnight before our trip. Hehe. #lastminute. But I thought it turned out great even though I only took an hour to plan half asleep. And so I shall share the plan too to benefit people who have been asking about the places that shared on my Instagram and Facebook!
Basically, I compiled a list of places to eat and places to visit so that we could mix and match the plan as we went along so not to get stressed up about having to follow a schedule. Plus, I wasn’t sure what my friends would like to eat or visit. So in a nutshell, it was a free and easy trip, cherishing the moment and experience that we had — I now think this is how a trip should be like.
Read on to discover what we ended up doing for a full day..
Dim Sum breakfast at Ming Court Dim Sum. We left Klang at 6.30am on a Saturday so that we could catch breakfast in Ipoh! Not sure when else I would be willing to wake up so early.. We arrived at 8.30am and were glad to get a table after a short wait. I didn’t do any research about what to eat there so we just grabbed whatever we felt like. Everything turned out satisfactory *success*
Runny Egg on Toast and White Coffee at Sun Yuan Foong. I wanted to go to Nam Heong or Sin Yoon Long but both were packed and somehow we ended up in Sun Yuan Foong that was also full house actually. I only realized that I entered the wrong coffee shop after ordering my food. LOL. Anyway, no complain at all for the toast and coffee we had. In fact, I just learned that some claim this place has better coffee than the other two.
Mural paintings hunt at Ipoh Old Town. Our stomachs needed a break after 2 rounds of breakfast so we walked around town to hunt for the famous mural paintings by Ernest Zacharevic. It was timely because we were already in the area and there was a map showing all the locations of the murals. We also visited Concubine Lane, which was famous for Baroque murals and diamond painting. This portion of the trip made me realize that Ipoh is so much like Penang and Malacca: food and heritage.
Caramel Custard and Pork Satay at Thean Chun. Ipoh has so many gems around! Still within the same area, we stopped by Thean Chun for caramel custard — my first! — and pork satay. I’ve never had caramel custard before so I thought it was interesting. Dan shared that similar dessert is available in various parts of the world too. As for the pork satay, I liked this so much better than the one in Malacca! The satay meat was juicy and not too fatty while the sauce was just the way I like it. Yums.
Tau Fu Fah at Funny Mountain Tau Fu Fah. I never had any luck with this super famous tau fu fah in my previous visits to Ipoh. I’m glad I caught it this time round! I like soya bean and I thought theirs was really great. Coupled with their super smooth tau fu fah, we found ourselves slurping a bowl each within a minute. We could have more but let’s not be greedy. *happy*
Boat Ride and Sightseeing at Taman Rekreasi Gunung Lang. Here’s one that is a little under radar. It’s a recreational park that reminded me of China — the greenery, hills and lake. There’s a really short RM3 boat ride that brought us across the lake. Then across the lake, you’d discover a park that would need some maintenance. The scenery’s beautiful so it’s sad that the place was not maintained but nevertheless, still worth the visit for a good walk and break. By the way, there was supposed to be a waterfall but it was “rosak” (under maintenance) when we were there. *laugh die me* I thought it was supposed to be a natural/real waterfall.
Roast Pork at Chee Kong, Restoran First Kwong Chow. It was almost 2.30pm when we left Gunung Lang and I recalled noting down that there’s a place for roast pork that would sell out within an hour, starting 2.30pm. We decided to head there and was surprised to find a huge crowd at 2.30pm sharp! I later found out that they started selling at 2pm but anyway, it didn’t matter because it was still crowded when we left almost an hour later. Mmm~ The roast pork was great. Crispy skin and juicy meat. I think I can still remember the flavour a week after the meal. Anyway, we made a mistake by following the crowd/queue. We queued for 25 minutes when we should have just sat at a table and get our order at the table. Oh well.. Didn’t think it was logical so many people were tapao-ing. It’s crazy!
Muah Chee at Hong Kee Mah Chee. This wasn’t in my list. RK remembered about this little stall nearby so we dropped by to grab a bite. He was saying how the place was so great but somehow it wasn’t famous. When we arrived, there was a crowd and he said, “Oh I guess they’re famous now.” Haha. Cute.
A temple near Sam Poh Tong. I put Sam Poh Tong in my list and for all my life, I thought that’s the temple at the front of the road where GPS always led me to. After spending about an hour at the temple, we drove over to the other two temples down the street just to discover that Sam Poh Tong was the third temple on that road. LOL #banana #cantreadchinese. By the time we were at the actual Sam Poh Tong, it was closing already so we didn’t get to visit. But it seemed nice so I’d make sure I get it right next time!
Kellie’s Castle. We were hesitant to go to Kellie’s Castle because it was Cheng Beng season and we were getting tired. I forgot what triggered us to drop by in the end but I’m glad we did because this trip changed my perception of the place. The last time I visited the place, the place seemed so eerie. It was quiet. It was empty. But this round, the place seemed livened up! I didn’t remember the place being so well maintained. I didn’t remember the place having so many information boards, talking about the history, the significance, the love, the architecture, the mystery and the whatnot about the building. Even though I still find the place a little eerie (because I’m cowardice like that), I learned to like the place as a museum now. *feeling accomplished*
Hakka Mee at Restoran Hakka. Honestly, I didn’t think we’d spend a full day in Ipoh so I did not have anything listed for dinner. It was 6-ish but we had to grab dinner before heading home so that we don’t have to worry about dinner back in Klang. RK shared about this place he went during his last trip so we went. Wow. It was packed. We had to wait quite a while before it was our turn to order but good that they served very quickly after taking order. Our mealtime was quite short though because suddenly, there were swamps of flying ants (?) that invaded the entire restaurant due to the sudden rain outside. It was epic. We left very quickly after because it was disturbing. I hope it’s not a common issue for them though the restaurant seemed pretty cool and calm about the bug havoc.
Rojak and Mixed Fruits at Tong Sui Kai. We were so greedy. Haha. Dinner was not even in my list but we even went for dessert because it was nearby. I first tried the mixed fruits a few years ago and I really liked it. Even though we were tired and bloated, I think the flavourful rojak and refreshing mixed fruits kept us awake for a little more.
There were a few other interesting things on my list but we could not go on anymore. We left Ipoh at 8-ish and you bet we were dead tired when we reached home. But it was a really fulfilling trip! Even for myself, I have discovered so much more about Ipoh. And I feel that there are so much more about Ipoh to discover so I definitely don’t mind another trip to Ipoh to explore the contemporary side of Ipoh — their super hipster cafes and some hi-tech eateries. Ipoh rocks!
Photos were fragmented throughout the trip but still cool to check out: Trip to Ipoh 2015 Facebook album.