As part of our short adventure in KL, we reserve one of the days for a trip to Ipoh. I had heard many good things about the food in Ipoh, and since Sam’s mom calls it her home, we consulted her list of restaurants to check out.
How to Get There & Around
It’s worth buying your ticket in advance because when we arrive at the station the next train is booked out and we end up on the 9.30am train arriving at 11.42 in Ipoh. So to kill some time, we grab a bite to eat at the train station, but I can’t say it was anything too exciting. The roti canai and curry puff are a bit lackluster.
The train itself is comfortable, clean, but very cold (bring a jacket). Alternatively, you could rent a car and drive from KL. You’d then be able to explore a few sights outside of the town as well. But Ipoh itself is small, charming, and easily accessible on foot.
The place is pumping when we get here straight after getting off our train in Ipoh. We’re seated at a round table with a man and his two daughters. He turns out to be incredibly lovely and offers some of his satay to us.
Kong Heng has stalls set up within the restaurant like street vendors. I was confused by whether you order with waiters or straight at the stall, but I think in the end we end up going straight to each stall (except for drinks, which magically are offered and ordered at the table).
Eric orders the fresh and fried popiah and I’m definitely in favor of the fried version. Much like a spring roll, it’s full of vegetable goodness and crunch.
I’m immediately drawn to the tofu and egg I see as we walk in, so I order rice with pork and a side of the most delicious tofu and egg in a sweet, rich sauce. Plus that pork crackling! So crunchy.
74, Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh
Nam Heong Ipoh Old Town White Coffee
It’s absolutely packed when we get to Nam Heong, the original Old Town white coffee shop, but one of the guys plonks down a plastic table for us in the alleyway at the back. If you’re a bit squeamish about garbage and the lingering eau de parfum of the gutter, it may be worth waiting for a table inside the restaurant.
Order the white coffee (or tea in my case) at the table. But if you want the freshly baked egg tarts or dim sum, those require queuing up separately (even at 3 in the afternoon which is when we’re here).
Nam Heong Coffee Shop
2 Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh
Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong
Before heading back to KL, I’m keen to try the hor fun and caramel custard at Thean Chun, but it turns out they close at 4.30pm, so we actually don’t make it there in time. Sad face.
So we end up at Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong, which is kind of a blessing in disguise anyway. The tauge (bean sprouts) are outrageously tasty – the sauce is unreal (I think it’s the same sauce for the chicken too – hello, umami!). I’d probably order it with rice instead of the rice noodles next time, but what a great feed.
Restoran Tauge Ayam Lou Wong
49 Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Ipoh
It’s sweltering hot when we’re in Ipoh, so we escape the sticky heat via air-conditioned cafes (plus there’s free wifi!). At Everyday we grab cold sparkling drinks and at Plan B we sip on a cocktail and a beer. Yeah, both times the drinks cost more than any of our other meals but it’s totally worth it.
Everyday Lifeshop Cafe
29 Jalan Market, Ipoh
Jalan Panglima, Ipoh
Art of OldTown
In between meals we explore Ipoh’s vibrant street art. Some of it is part of Art of OldTown, but there are numerous other ones that have been created separately.
You can grab a map of all eight Art of OldTown locations and power through them pretty easily (though we couldn’t find one of them). Check out my photos of street art, plus Ipoh in general below.