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IPOH best chinese restaurants Part 6: O Cafe @ Canning Garden, Ipoh

A local Ipohan once disclosed to me that traditional Hakka cuisine are far and inbetween in Ipoh.

Thus when O Cafe opened its doors to welcome strangers for its homely Hakka fare it was well received by both the locals and tourists.

Positive reviews of its fare went on its rounds both offline and online.
Upon hearing of its unique proposition we made sure that we arranged a visit to O Cafe during our recent Ipoh trip.

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Dining in O Cafe is not unlike being invited to a friend’s home for dinner, albeit missing the owner presence at the table with you.
Meals are served in an actual dining room in a lived-in house.

Step past the front door and you will find yourself facing the cashier counter with a small dining space on both your right and left.
Another dining space is past the counter, but on the left.

The interior is adorned with colorful walls and home ornaments that could be charming or somehow uncoordinated, depending on your take.

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The menu is kept simple but offers a compact selection of Hakka dishes with a few general Chinese dishes thrown in for variety.
Its signatures are the popular Chinese confinement dishes such as the chicken in rice wine and pork trotter in vinegar so that became standard order for many of its patrons, with our group being no different.

Instead of the common white rice, the rice served was of a healthier grain.

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Sadly, as much as we would like to love this place, our meal left us discontented.

The much acclaimed Vinegar Pork Trotters (MYR12.90) was borderline decent. A typical serving consisted of a few chunks of pork knuckles with a thick crown of succulent fat.
We are of opinion that a hard boiled egg isn’t necessary and the gravy could be sharper, preferably with a stronger vinegar flavour. 
It was a small serving for the price but considering the scarcity of this dish the price became an afterthought for many.

Chicken Rice Wine (RM13.90).
The 4 of us preferred this over the trotters. The heat from the ginger was heady, the gravy tasty and the chicken meat was well flavoured with essence of the stock.

The 4 of us love the texture of crispy-on-the-verge-of-soggy noodles sauced in eggy gravy.
Thus we enjoyed the Crabmeat Crispy Mishua (RM14.90), a pleasant portion easily sharable with 3 pax. There were generous chunks of crab meat plus a few prawns thrown in addition to slices of pork and vegetables.

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Surprisingly enough, we crowned this Spicy Sour Spare Ribs our favourite for the night.
The portion is generous, the pork tasty and tender. And this dish wasn’t even one of their signatures.

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In summary, our meal was borderline good but certainly nothing exceptional to prompt a revisit.
The slightly pricier dishes (in comparison to other Chinese restaurants in Ipoh) can be forgiven with the reasoning of “true homecooked dishes” but even then, one walks away a bit disenchanted.

Do visit if you miss a homely meal or authentic Hakka fare, but if you were fortunate enough to be raised with an accomplished cook in your family then do keep expectations in check.
Any comparison is futile.

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NOTE:
1. O Cafe’s exterior looks like any ordinary single-storey house and there is no significant signboard to market it as a food establishment safe for a big figure 2 at the front.
2. The outlet’s fully air-conditioned.
3. Parking is by the roadside outside of the house.

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Ipoh Best Restaurants series:
Part I: Kedai Makanan Rasa Lain –> http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-restaurants-for-dinner-part-i-kedai-makanan-rasa-lain-bercham-claypot-crab-fishballs/
Part 2: Ipoman Seafood Ipoh: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipomanseafoodipoh/
Part 3: Restoran Cathay Ipohhttp://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-chinese-restaurants-part-3-restoran-cathay-for-old-school-pork-chopchicken-chopfish/
Part 4: Restoran Yum Yum Ipohhttp://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-chinese-restaurants-part-4-yum-yum-for-halal-delicious-nyonya-thai-food/
Part 5: Wong Koh Kee: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-restaurants-part-5-wong-koh-kee-a-classic-cu-char/

O Cafe @ Canning Garden, Ipoh
2, Jalan Raja Kam, Canning Garden, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
HOURS: 11:30am – 4:00pm, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Close on Fri.
No GST
Tel: +6014-3393796
https://www.facebook.com/ocafe96/