Top 10 Places to Eat in Ipoh

6/24/2019 10:31:00 PM

Top 10 Places to eat in Ipoh
Top 10 Places to Eat in Ipoh - A Guide by Sarah Cooks

Ipoh is one of Malaysia's top destinations for foodies! It's a small city with a large Chinese population, surrounded by limestone hills and caves, and with wonderful produce, all of which contribute to their excellent food scene. Their bean shoots, pomelos and hor fun (rice noodles) are famous, which I'm told is due to the mineral-rich water from the limestone hills. In fact, based on personal experience, I think you'd struggle to be in Ipoh for more than two hours without a local telling you about their excellent bean shoots, pomelos and hor fun noodles! Many tourists just pass through Ipoh quickly on their way to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore, but it is well worth it to stay a bit longer and really explore the food scene. There is so much deliciousness on offer!

We've visited twice in the last year for a five-day stint each time and loved it! Stretchy-pants ahoy!

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 places to eat in Ipoh!

1. Thean Chun

Thean Chun is an old school coffee shop / kopitiam, and is my favourite place to eat in Ipoh. If you're short on time, this would be my number one recommendation, as you can get a large variety of dishes here, and they're all great.

Kai See Hor Fun, Bean Shoots, Creme Caramel, Thean Chun
Kai See Hor Fun, Bean Shoots, Creme Caramel, Thean Chun

The famous dishes here are the kai see hor fun (chicken and prawn rice noodle soup) and the creme caramel. Kai see hor fun is an iconic Ipoh dish, and in my opinion Thean Chun's is the best. The very first time I tried it I wasn't expecting to like it, because the dish looks quite plain and "cheng" compared to say, a chilli-and-coconut-laced curry mee/laksa or a Penang Hokkien mee. But I was absolutely blown away! The chicken and prawn broth is so rich and flavourful and the hor fun noodles are so slippery and delicious. Just perfection.

The sweet and smooth creme caramels are also famous, and they literally sell hundreds every day, both for diners eating in, and those who buy huge volumes for parties or to take back with them interstate.

You also must get an order of satay. They have the usual chicken and pork, but also more unusual varieties like pork liver and intestine. The satay man here takes extra care with his satay, threading tiny pieces of fat between the pieces of meat for extra succulence and deliciousness.

Chicken Satay, Thean Chun
Chicken Satay, Thean Chun

The Satay Man, Thean Chun
The Satay Man, Thean Chun

If you're after something a little different, the beef vermicelli noodles are also great.

Beef vermicelli noodle soup, Thean Chun
Beef vermicelli noodle soup, Thean Chun

But my favourite is, of course, the kai see hor fun. The kai see hor fun at Thean Chun is one of the only dishes I'll have multiple times on our short trips to Ipoh because I love it so much!

Chicken and Prawn Rice Noodle Soup, Thean Chun
Kai See Hor Fun / Chicken and Prawn Rice Noodle Soup, Thean Chun

Restoran Thean Chun, Ipoh
Restoran Thean Chun

Restoran Thean Chun
Address: 73, Jalan Bandar Timah, 31650 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 8am-4:30pm daily, 8am-12pm Sundays, Closed Thursdays

2. Ipoh Kong Heng

Right next door to Thean Chun is Ipoh Kong Heng, a similar old school restaurant / coffee shop / kopitiam selling local specialities like poh piah, loh bak, chee cheong fan, roast meats on rice, kai see hor fun and creme caramels. Just quietly, the first time we came here we had been planning to go to Thean Chun but it was closed, and we were super hungry so just popped next door to Ipoh Kong Heng. I'm glad we did, because it's a great venue!

The kai see hor fun and creme caramel are both very good. (But I think Thean Chun has the edge on both those dishes). However, the roast meat stall at Ipoh Kong Heng is excellent - the char siew, especially, is fatty and tender and so tasty!

Lunch at Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng
Kai See Hor Fun, Roast chicken and char siew on rice, Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng

Ipoh Kong Heng Creme Caramel
Ipoh Kong Heng Creme Caramel

Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng
Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng

Restoran Ipoh Kong Heng
Address: 75, Jalan Bandar Timah, 31650 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 7am-5pm daily (last order 4:30pm), Closed Wednesdays

3. Hor Fun Noodles at Restoran Tuck Kee

As I mentioned above, Ipoh is famous for its hor fun (rice noodles), and one of the best places to get them is at Restoran Tuck Kee, which has been around since 1963. They do a variety of fried noodles (hor fun, mee, mee hon, dai loke mian etc.), but I'd suggest eating as much hor fun as you can when in Ipoh! Go hard or go home! As a bonus, they do all their dishes in small, medium or large sizes so it's easier to try a greater variety of dishes from the menu.

Left: Yu Kong Hor - RM8 (small)
Right: Hokkien Fried Hor Fun - RM7 (small)
Meatball soup - RM3.50 (small)

All the hor fun dishes are super tasty - the noodles have that delicious wok hei smoky aroma, and the sauces are so flavourful! And all of them are full of generous pieces of bak yuu pok (crunchy fried lard pieces). So indulgent!

War Tun Hor Fun - RM7 for small

This war tun hor fun is one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. (My family would call it sar hor fun). The fried noodles are in the bottom of the bowl, and are drenched in a generous amount of delicious egg gravy, with loads of bak yuu pok lard nuggets. Incredible.

Restoran Tuck Kee
Restoran Tuck Kee, Ipoh

Restoran Tuck Kee
Address: 61, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 5pm-2am daily; closed Wednesdays

4. Bean Shoot Chicken Rice at Lou Wong

Another iconic Ipoh dish is chicken rice with bean shoots, and Lou Wong is a great place to try it. They only sell the one dish, and do it really well - silky poached chicken with rice and blanched bean shoots with soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper. You can also get different sides like vegetables and hor fun to round out your meal.

Lou Wong Chicken Rice
Lou Wong Chicken Rice

The restaurant is often full of big groups and out-of-towners. I like the bustling atmosphere and there is unlimited self-service chilli sauce. Yes!

Lou Wong Chicken Rice
Lou Wong Chicken Rice

Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong
Address: 49, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30000
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

Bonus: Lou Wong is in a pretty food-centric part of town - Tuck Kee is just down the road and there are lots of restaurants, food stores, bakeries and biscuit shops on the same street. It's great for a little post-dinner stroll!

5. Chicken Rice at Restoran Huat Chicken

In a more residential part of Ipoh is Restoran Huat Chicken, which is less hyped up than Lou Wong and just a regular local restaurant. I think the food is even better! The chicken is so tender and succulent, the sauce is so tasty, and their rice is full of delicious chickeny goodness. It's definitely worth getting a Grab or taxi out to try it!

Huat Chicken, Ipoh
2-person serve of Huat Chicken - RM15, Small Meatball soup - RM3.50, Braised egg - RM1.50

Hor Fun Noodles
Hor fun - RM2.00

Restoran Huat Chicken, Ipoh
Restoran Huat Chicken

Restoran Huat Chicken
Address: No. 4, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1C, Medan Ipoh Bestari, 31400 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 12-4pm & 6-10pm daily; closed Mondays

6. Kaya Toast and Ipoh White Coffee at Sin Yoon Loong

White coffee is a must-try when Ipoh! Ipoh white coffee is famous for its rich roasty flavour and gorgeous aroma. It's served with sweetened condensed milk - my favourite! Sin Yoon Loong is a well-renowned old fashioned coffee shop, and it's a wonderful spot to stop in for a traditional Malaysian breakfast of kaya toast and soft boiled eggs with coffee.

Coffee, Kaya toast and soft boiled eggs at Sin Yoon Loong

Sin Yoon Loong

Kedai Kopi Sin Yoon Loong
Address: 15A, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 6am-5:30pm; Sundays 6am-1pm

Bonus: The street that Sin Yoon Loong is on is good for a little foodie wander - there are awesome cake/kuih stands right on the pavement outside Sin Yoon Loong, and a few similar old-school coffee shops near by.

Malaysian Cake Stalls
Kueh stalls outside Sin Yoong Long

Make sure you visit the ma chi stall across the road from Sin Yoon Loong! Freshly made ma chi (or "muar chee" as I know it) is the best! Warm chewy glutinous rice dough tossed in sugar and ground peanuts. Breakfast dessert!

Ma Chi stall, Ipoh
Ma Chi stall!

Ma Chi, Ipoh
Ma Chi!

7. Kopi Ais and Egg Tarts at Restoran Impressive

Do you like thick, rich, and sweet Malaysian iced coffee? If so, you will LOVE the kopi ais (iced coffee) at Restoran Impressive. We discovered this place on a tip from the driver who took us on a half day sightseeing tour of Ipoh. Exhausted from the heat and all the walking, we asked if we could get an iced coffee on the way back to the hotel, and he took us to Restoran Impressive. He said he and his wife always come here for a coffee when they come to Ipoh town, because the coffee is very kau, or rich. That's a good enough recommendation for me!

Takeaway iced coffee in a bag
Takeaway kopi ais in a bag, Restoran Impressive

The coffee here is super thick and strong. Warning: you may feel like Bart and Millhouse after they drank a squishee made entirely out of syrup.

Restoran Impressive is a normal restaurant with a selection of food stalls (the fried chicken one looks particularly tempting), but we always come for an afternoon coffee and snack.

Kaya puff, egg tart, iced coffees, Restoran Impressive
Kaya puff, egg tart, kopi ais x 2, Restoran Impressive

Don't skip the egg tarts and kaya puffs - there's an unassuming little warmer next to the cash register and they're truly delicious. I'm not sure where they get them from, but they're the best ones I've tried in Ipoh. They're warm and soft and flaky and just delicious!

The egg tart and kaya puff warmer, Restoran Impressive
The egg tart and kaya puff warmer, Restoran Impressive

Restoran Impressive, Ipoh
Restoran Impressive

Restoran Impressive
Address: 31, Jalan Ali Pitchay, Taman Jubilee, 30250 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 10:30am-10pm daily (individual stalls will have different opening hours)

Bonus: egg tarts and kaya puffs are another Ipoh speciality. Apart from Restoran Impressive I don't have a favourite place, and just tend to buy one or two whenever we walk past a bakery. I've mainly tried the ones around the foodie district near Lou Wong and they've all been pretty good - Lam Fong (52, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh), Sin Eng Hoe (54/56 Jalan Yau Tet Shin, 30000 Ipoh), and Minisu Traditional Coffee and Pastries (153, Jalan Sultan Iskandar, Taman Jubilee, 30000 Ipoh).

8. Cendol Abang Kacak

This cendol business is officially called "Wawasan Cendol", but is now also known as "Cendol Abang Kacak", or "Handsome Brother Cendol", as the guy running the stall, Kelvin, is quite handsome! You can add durian, beans or corn to the cendol, but I like it plain. Nothing better than shaved ice, palm sugar, coconut milk and cendol jellies on a hot day! When we came across his stall, we didn't realise that he was a famous vendor; we just wanted some cendol. Kelvin is a really nice guy and the cendol was great! My pictures below show the small stall just outside Thean Chun and Ipoh Kong Heng, but I'm told that they've now opened a proper sit down cendol shop that is open every day on Jalan Yang Kalsom, so I've shared the address and opening hours for that shop.

Cendol Abang Kacak, ipoh
Cendol Abang Kacak, Ipoh

Cendol Abang Kacak

Wawasan Cendol / Cendol Abang Kacak
Address: 8, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 10am-6pm daily

9. Tau Fu Fah at Funny Mountain

Funny Mountain is one of the more famous foodie destinations in Ipoh. They specialise in tau fu fah - a soft tofu pudding in sugar syrup that is served warm. Funny Mountain's tau fu fah is well known for being especially silky soft and smooth. It is such a soothing dessert. There's almost always a queue, but they've also got a "drive through" service if you're getting takeaway - just join the queue of cars and they'll come and take your order from your window. Love it!

Tau Fu Fah, Funny Mountain
Tau Fu Fah, Funny Mountain

Funny Mountain, Ipoh
Funny Mountain

Funny Mountain
Address: 50, Jalan Mustapa Al-bakri, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 10am-7:30pm daily; closed Tuesdays

10. Salted Gula Melaka Ice-Cream by Balo Ice-Cream at Zakka Loft

Zakka Loft (right around the corner from Huat Chicken!) is a cute little community centre that combines an ice-cream shop, cafe, an arts and crafts centre, and a fitness centre. (Yes really, there was a super-intense Zumba class going on next door when we were hoeing into our ice-creams). The staff are really friendly and will let you taste the ice-creams before you buy! They have lots of interesting ice-cream flavours, (think mojito, peanut butter), but for us the clear standout was the salted gula melaka. OMG! (For anyone who doesn't know, gula melaka is Malaysian palm sugar, and gives that characteristic sweet smoky deliciousness that so many Malaysian desserts have). Must try!

2 Scoops of ice-cream in a paper cup
Balo Ice-Cream at Zakka Loft

Zakka Loft, Ipoh
Zakka Loft

Zakka Loft
Address: No. 2, Jalan Medan Ipoh 1C, Medan Ipoh Bistari, 31400 Ipoh
Opening Hours: Tues-Thurs 2-10pm; Fri-Sun 1-11pm; Closed Mondays


And that's my top 10 places to eat in Ipoh! Do you agree with my list? Any great places I've missed out? Let me know in the comments so I can add them for next time! I still have a few different places I want to check out next time - like the famous Nasi Ganja, the hakka mee at Paris restaurant, all the dim sum, and more. So much deliciousness so little time!

Woman eating noodles and smiling at camera
Hot, sweaty and full of noodles - The Sarah Cooks Story

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  1. A couple of things: I wish I hadn't read this both before dinner and exercise. And it also made me long for warmer weather too! :D

    1. Totally! I am really not enjoying the cold weather right now!



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.