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Monday, October 18, 2010

Ipoh chicken and bean sprouts and Ipoh Night Market, Malaysia

Just another day in Ipoh.

There was no question as to what would be our first dinner in Billy's hometown. Chicken and bean sprouts are the pride of Ipoh, Malaysia, and we headed to the locals' favourite, Restoran Lou Wong Tauge Ayam Kuetiau.

Restoran Lou Wong Tauge Ayam Kuetiau

I can still remember that warm and muggy evening, the plastic stools sticking to the backs of our thighs as we huddled around an uneven table perched precariously on the street.

Locals eating rice noodles

There is no menu here, just a short list of specialties that are ticked on the waiter's notepad. Every table has the same, a plate of white chicken, a serve of bean sprouts and bowls of soup and rice noodles to wash it all down.

White chicken

There is no fuss about service or elaborate presentation. The chicken is chopped with alarming speed, a rhythmic sound of the meat cleaver striking the chopping board.


White chicken RM36 (about AU$13.33) including bean sprouts

We dig in eagerly into chunky pieces of white poached chicken that are soft and juicy, drenched in a light soy sauce and garnished with coriander, shallots and chilli.

Ipoh bean sprouts

Ipoh's signature bean sprouts are short and stumpy in appearance, but deliciously crunchy, snapping between the teeth, dressed with light soy sauce, oil and white pepper.

Fish paste balls RM7.50 (about AU$2.75)

Fish paste balls are smooth and elegant, but it's the local rice noodles that win us all over, slippery silky ribbons that glide down the throat with ease.

Ipoh rice noodles with chicken

Barley drink and gui ling herbal drink RM1.20 each (about AU$0.45)



Restoran Lou Wong Tauge Ayam Kuetiau

"There is not much to do in Ipoh," Billy's parents had said. "There is only the night market."

Night market? My eyes lit up at the thought.

Ipoh Night Market


The night markets are a chaotic kaleidoscope of gastronomic glee. There are a few stalls selling kitchenware gadgets or plastic bags filled with fish, but for the most part, everything on sale is edible.

We join the jostling crowds, the air thick with smoke and the clatter of woks and hawker calls. There is something to see whichever way you look, and I'm like a kid in a candy store.

Char Tow Kway fried radish cake

Frying pastries


Fish paste balls

Fruit stall

Duku Langsat

Billy bought a bag of duku lungsut, which look like a longan but have a tarter flavour beneath its powdery leathery skin.

Mah Lai Goh steamed cake

Pau steamed buns

Making Apam Balik peanut pancake

Removing the cooked Apam Balik

Apam Balik filled with crushed peanuts and sugar

Apam Balik

Cooking crispy peanut crepes

Crispy crepes filled with peanut

Peeling sugarcane

Sugarcane juice

Steamed mantou buns

Kuih Lapis layer cake

Wheat flour cakes

Market aquarium

Steamed corn

Fried snacks galore

Pluto pups and fried pastries

Lok Lok skewer stall

Lok Lok stalls are a popular fixture in hawker markets around Malaysia. Set up like a communal self-serve steamboat, you simply choose your skewers, plunge into the pots of boiling water to cook, and then dip in whichever sauce you prefer.

Lok Lok skewers

Self-serve skewers

Stall holders in a hive of activity

Marinated chicken fried in paper bags

Ice creams

Ice creams for everyone!

Restoran Kam Wan food court

Did the evening end there? Of course it didn't. Despite the early start and long day of travel from the Cameron Highlands, we still perk up when Billy mentions the word "supper'.

It's 11.00pm at night, but in Malaysia this just means the night air is cool enough to enjoy a little more feasting.

Watermelon shake and milo ice

We've barely sat down before a drinks stall operator is by our side, ready to take our orders. I order a cool sweet and icy watermelon shake, but Minh only has eyes for her beloved milo ais.

Aiyu jelly and ice

Ice kacang

Popiah RM1.70 (about AU$0.65)

The boys order ayu jelly and ice kacang laden with sweet corn, basil seeds and jelly, but I only have eyes for the popiah, a delicate crepe wrapping filled with carrot, jicama, bean sprouts and tofu, all mixed with a spicy shrimp paste.

It's crunchy and sweet, refreshing yet spicy, and a perfect late night snack to complete a day of feasting.

> Read the next Malaysia post (Concubine Lane and Funny Mountain soy milk)
< Read the first Malaysia 2010 post (Kuala Lumpur)

View Larger Map

Restoran Lou Wong Tauge Ayam Kuetiau
49 Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Ipoh, Malaysia

Restoran Kam Wan (Aneka Selera)
Ipoh Garden, 17-18 Jalan Canning Estate, Ipoh, Malaysia

> Read the next Malaysia post (Concubine Lane and Funny Mountain soy milk)
< Read the first Malaysia 2010 post (Kuala Lumpur)
20 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/18/2010 01:32:00 am


  • At 10/18/2010 2:53 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    bahahaha the faces on the fish paste skewers are just too cute! im totes a sucker for novelty lol

  • At 10/18/2010 6:09 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Love the street/market food scenes here Helen! Beautifully captured...it's all making me hungry!

  • At 10/18/2010 8:04 am, Blogger Lauren aka Ms Baklover said…

    Oh my goodness! How fantastic!! I loved the deep-fried pear-shaped pastries and the artwork/type of the ice cream sign. Thanks for teaching me a bit more about Malaysian food. Unfortunately for the moment I will only get to use it at the odd restaurant here in Melbourne, but one day I will make it to Malaysia itself!

  • At 10/18/2010 8:30 am, Blogger Shanks said…

    So it's sugarcane...I always wondered what the locals were drinking out of what we called "colostomy bags" lol. ;)

  • At 10/18/2010 8:53 am, Anonymous john@heneedsfood said…

    Night markets just about anywhere are a sight to behold. It's an absolute playground for foodies. Love your pics Helen. I felt like I was there

  • At 10/18/2010 9:51 am, Anonymous billy @ a table for two said…

    Now that's what I called a food heaven!

  • At 10/18/2010 10:23 am, Blogger Maz at Dimmi said…

    Wow, every picture so perfect! Really captures the essence of a night market!

    Those fishies in bags made me so, so, so sad though... :(

  • At 10/18/2010 10:38 am, Blogger Chrys said…

    ggooossshhh!!! i miss home even more, now! thank you for this post - it was as if i was there, too!

  • At 10/18/2010 10:54 am, Anonymous yewenyi said…

    Well, those drinks in a bag are a great idea, but I had no idea how to put one down for a moment, lost my straw...

  • At 10/18/2010 11:55 am, Blogger Su-Yin -Décorateur said…

    AHHHHH IPOH!! billy brought you to the good spots ;)
    I hope you had a taste of the 'roti sayur' it's the best! I would drive 2 hours from KL back home to Ipoh for roti sayur. haha
    You have a picture of my roti sayur guy. YUM!

  • At 10/18/2010 12:21 pm, Blogger Charles said…

    Restoran Lou Wong! Ipoh Bean Sprouts!

    I miss them both. We almost skipped Ipoh, planning to go directly from KL to Penang, but our friend in Malacca said we had to go "for the bean sprouts."

    For the bean sprouts? Are you crazy? Who goes someplace for bean sprouts? Everyone goes to Ipoh for bean sprouts he said. And now we know why, and we go to Ipoh for bean sprouts too.

    Thanks for reminding me!

  • At 10/18/2010 12:29 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I want smiley-face fish paste!

    I also think the chickens in your "White Chickens" photo look like they're about to leap into a performance of the cancan...

  • At 10/18/2010 6:50 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    mmmmmm I need to go back to Malaysia!!

  • At 10/18/2010 9:36 pm, Blogger foodwink said…

    This is fantastic, Helen! You have showcased so much of my favourite hometown foods - especially the crepes, which we call "apong" in Malaysia.

  • At 10/18/2010 9:39 pm, Anonymous Aimee said…

    The food looks awesome! I'm definitely keep this post in mind the next time I'm over in Malaysia!

  • At 10/18/2010 11:10 pm, Anonymous J2Kfm (Malaysian Food Blog) said…

    You made our night markets look soooo good! Hahaha, funny when we travel to other countries, the street fares would be so enticing, and we'd go on a snapping frenzy.

    But when back in the comfort of one's hometown, we tend to ignore the possibilities of a pasar malam run. :)

    Thanks for the Ipoh posts.

  • At 10/18/2010 11:29 pm, Anonymous Celeste @ Berrytravels said…

    Ah, way to add to the feeling of homesickness! Looking through all the photos of the pasar malam just makes me ache for home!

  • At 10/19/2010 12:17 am, Anonymous Mzungu said…

    Ipoh chicken my favourite.

    It's the things I miss about Malaysia, the simple restaurants serving great food, and those awesome night markets

  • At 10/19/2010 8:36 am, Blogger Mel said…

    the fun part about night market is the non-stop eating! i miss Malaysia's night market.

  • At 10/20/2010 10:09 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Fried paper bag chicken! Oh, I haven't seen that for years =( How I enjoyed the process of peeling sticky paper off to reveal tasty chicken inside as a kid.


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