Just 2 hours north of Kuala Lumpur, lies the quaint town of Ipoh in the state of Perak – my personal favourite spot for a quick foodie road trip! It’s also one of the best places to see Malaysia’s multicultural side come together, all for the love of food 💖 If you’re hankering for some good old local comfort food and you’re up for a drive, it’s time to head on up to Ipoh for the weekend!
P.S. If you’re from out of town or not up for a drive, you can always take the ETS train direct to Ipoh and Uber / Grab / cycle / walk around town!
1. Breakfast of Champions at Restoran New Hollywood
It’s not easy to find halal local Chinese food in Ipoh, so if you’re in Ipoh early enough for breakfast, Restoran New Hollywood, or more fondly known just as Hollywood, is THE place to be for a variety of halal local delights!
A mini food court of sorts, you’ll be able to savour halal Chinese hawker favourites like freshly made chee cheong fun that’s made to order on the spot with either prawn or chicken filling, char kuey teow with succulent prawns, an assortment of fried yong tau foo, hearty curry mee, classic half-boiled eggs on toast and fluffy chakoi!
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There are also Western dishes and nasi kandar, if you’re there later in the day. Don’t forget to down your meal with a cup of Hainanese coffee, served in an old style cup and saucer!
Address: 38, Jalan Lee Kwee Foh, Taman Canning, 31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7:00am – 4:00pm. Closed on Mondays.
2. Get curry smelling fingers at Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah at Kedai Kopi Yong Suan
The mark of a good plate of nasi kandar, in my opinion, is when the smell of curry and gravy still lingers on your fingers even hours after your meal. There are several nasi kandar places in Ipoh, but this is arguably one of the best!
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Also known as ‘Nasi Ganja’ (because it’s that addictive!), it’s actually a stall located in the premises of a Chinese coffee shop. This Indian Muslim stall has purportedly been in operation since 1956 – That’s a good 61 years of finger licking good food!
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You can either add on side dishes like vegetables, squid and the likes but I like to keep mine simple with their standard plate of gravy, ayam merah, salted egg and their must-have coconut sambal. This isn’t the place to linger over your meal, so be sure to clear your plates quick for the next round of customers!
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#HHWT Tip: Don’t get discouraged by the long line outside as those are just people queueing up for takeaways. Grab a seat inside and it won’t be long for someone to serve you!
Address: Yong Suan Coffee Shop, 2, Jalan Yang Kalsom, 30250 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 6:00pm.
3. Have traditional laksa with a twist at Laksa Telur Goreng Bersarang
If you love laksa, you need to try the laksa telur goreng bersarang served at Cafe Setinggan. The traditionally cooked laksa noodles and spicy fish gravy is topped off with a unique style of fried egg that makes it look like a bird’s nest, hence the name ‘telur goreng bersarang’.
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With just the right amount of flaked fish and traditional garnishing of cucumber, red onion and pineapple, the strange looking but melt-in-your-mouth fried egg topping is the perfect complement to the sour and spicy dish.
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The homey kampung-style restaurant also has stalls right next to it serving special drinks and a variety of pau that you can have in the cafe premises as well!
Address: Jalan Margosa D/8 Jalan Margosa D/8, 31350 Ipoh, Perak
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 7:00pm. Closed on Fridays.
4. Chow down on a plate of nasi lemak at Nelli’s Deli
Located in the heart of Ipoh’s Old Town, Nelli’s Deli serves a wide Western menu from English breakfast sets to fish & chips, but their signature nasi lemak is what keeps patrons coming back for more! Although slightly on the pricey side for a plate of nasi lemak, it’s well worth it as Nelli’s Deli Nasi Lemak Full Plate comes with a huge piece of fried chicken, calamari sambal and prawn sambal.
Another popular dish to try is their Nasi Ulam with Fried Chicken using local herbs. For snacks, try their prawn and anchovies fritters for something savoury or have churros with chocolate sauce for dessert!
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Don’t forget to explore the area while you’re there!
Address: No 99 Jalan Sultan Yusof, Ipoh
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm, Tuesday – Sunday (last order at 5:00pm)
5. Experience the only tau fu fah drive through shop in Malaysia at Funny Mountain Soya Bean
You can’t come to Ipoh and miss out on probably the one and only drive through tau fu fah shop in Malaysia! You can either park your car somewhere and savour the silky and sweet dessert by the side if the shop (there are no tables here, only limited seats) or drive up to the shop and their workers will come by your window to take your order.
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Eat the delectable bowl of tau fu fah in your car and hand back the bowl once you’re done, or take away.
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They also have fresh soya bean drinks and soya with cincau (which is frankly, the best thing ever!) – definitely a delight to have especially when the weather is scorching hot!
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Address: 49, Jalan Theatre, 30300 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 6pm or until finished. Closed on Tuesdays.
6. Have an icy dessert to cool down at Deen CT Corner Cendol
There’s nothing more refreshing than an icy bowl of cendol on a hot day, and Deen CT Corner serves up cendol with just the right balance of sweetness and flavours. Operating for more than 20 years, you know you’re in the right hands to serve you up this famous Malaysian dessert, with it’s worm-like green jelly, decadent coconut milk and the perfect drizzle of palm sugar on top of finely shaved ice.
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Go for the classic plain cendol or customise your bowl with toppings like sweet corn, kidney beans or ‘pulut’ – glutinous rice that just adds another dept of texture to your bowl. My personal favourite? Cendol with sweet corn and pulut. YUM!
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Address: 21B, Jalan Mustapha Al Bakri, 30300 Ipoh
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 6:30pm. Closed on Fridays.
7. Step back into time with ais kepal at Bits & Bobs
This nostalgic childhood snack from way back then has made a hipster comeback!
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Basically a ball of shaved ice that’s flavoured with syrups, Bits & Bobs serves the ais kepal with a combination of classic flavours like sarsi, gula Melaka, rosella, lychee or asam, wrapped up in plastic lined paper. You’re definitely in for numb lips and cold sticky syrup running down your hands if you’re a messy eater 😉
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Bits & Bobs really brings on the nostalgia with it’s old-school decor. Located in the now hipster Kong Heng Square, make sure to explore the area where you can also find a pop-up market on weekends, quirky boutique accommodation at Sekeping Kong Heng, cafe dining at Plan B, a museum that pays homage to the late Yasmin Ahmad, one of Malaysia’s most celebrated filmmakers, murals, various knick knacks, a barber shop and loads of insta-worthy spots!
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You can also purchase a postcard of Ipoh at Bits & Bobs, write down a note to your loved ones and they’ll send it for you!
#HHWT Tip: The trick to eating the ais kepal is to rotate it as you suck on it til you get to the centre!
Address: 99 Jalan Sultan Yussuf (@ Kong Heng Square), 30000 Ipoh, Perak
Opening Hours: Monday 10:00 am – 5:30 pm; Wednesday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:30 pm
8. Tea time with noodles at Mee Daud Mat Jasak
This humble noodle stall dates back to the 1970s, when the owner started selling his food from a push cart. Now his mee kicap and kari laksa are well-known in Ipoh!
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This is one of the few places to serve good mee kicap with yong tau foo, as well as mee kari with succulent fishballs in coconut curry gravy. Have the mee kicap with either flat rice noodles or yellow noodles! As the stall is pretty popular, while it opens daily from morning, they usually sell out by 6pm, although the stall closes later.
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Address: 1, Jalan Datuk Onn Jaafar, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm
9. Satisfy your dim sum cravings at Greentown Dim Sum Cafe
If you’re craving for some halal dim sum at any time of the day, check out the only halal certified dim sum restaurant in Ipoh, serving a decent variety of cooked to order dim sum.
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With favourites on the menu like siew mai, prawn dumpling and bbq chicken pau, you can’t go wrong! They also serve meals like fried rice and wantan noodles or other Chinese favourites like Lor Mai Gai (Chicken Glutinous Rice) and Lor Bak Gou (Fried Radish Cake) on the menu.
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Address: 10, Persiaran Greentown 4, Pusat Perdagangan Greentown, 30450 Perak, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm. Closed on Tuesdays
10. Head on over to Miker Food for dinner and the best pizza you’ll ever have in Ipoh!
When dinner time rolls around and you’re not sure of where to eat, head on down to Miker Food for a whole host of choices from Malay dishes to Western selections.
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If you’re a fan of tom yum, try the special Tom Yam Nyor that’s packed with seafood and served in a coconut. The water from the coconut itself is used in making the tom yum, giving it the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
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If there’s only one thing that you have at Miker, you can’t miss the handmade, stone oven pizza from the Chik Pizza stall! Crunchy, thin crust with generous toppings and gooey cheese, you’ll forget that you’re in Ipoh and not in Italy 😉 Try their Kampung pizza that’s topped with fried anchovies and cili padi for a local twist or their Crazee Meat that comes with pepperoni and meatballs. You can even try half-and-half of any of their topping combinations if you’re indecisive!
Credit: @chik_pizza on Instagram
Address: Jalan Padang, 30020 Ipoh, Perak
Opening Hours: Breakfast and Lunch from 8:00am – 4:00pm, Dinner from 6:00pm – 11:30pm. Chik Pizza is open from 5:00pm onwards.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to hit the road for a gastronomical adventure!