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IPOH best restaurants Part 5: Wong Koh Kee, a classic cu char

Wong Koh Kee is a classic culinary gem.
A 3rd generation business with almost 80 years of history, Wong Koh Kee retains simplicity in everything; its recipes, the venue, the furniture, the cutleries and even the order taking procedure.

Heck, even its staff are ancient.
But that’s the charm you see, for this is one venue to head to for a taste of yesteryears’ cuisine, the sort that your grandparents would dish out; cheap, tasty, no frills and prepared via traditional methods.

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Available only for lunch, be prepared to eat and go, for the place is perpetually crowded and table turnovers is high.

You can linger if you wish but I doubt your conscience (unless you have absolutely none) will allow you to dawdle when the old waiters not-to-discreetly clear away your plates plus the many pair of eyes boring into you as they stand in queue for a seat in the shop.

tai chow

Since no printed menu is provided, ‘newbies‘ can take a clue or two from the other tables. Otherwise just ask the waiter.
He is likely rattle off the trademark dishes; steamed three yolks egg aka ‘sam wong dan‘, Hong Siew Yu Tao (braised fish head) and the pei pa chicken.

BELOW: The famous steamed egg and the fish head.

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I am not a fan of fish head, nor do I want to eat chicken.
Hence our meal consisted of sweet and sour pork (RM10), stir-fried watercress with roasted pork in belacan (RM10), homemade stuffed tofu (RM6) and Woo Tau Kou Yoke (pork belly stewed with yam) (RM7).
Yes, I love my pork!

Unfortunately my tastebuds didn’t agree with Wong Koh Kee’s version of ku lou yok.
Based on reviews online I learned that this is unique method of cooking where each pork piece is fried with a crispy batter that puffed away from the meat.

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If you perform a cross section on any piece, you will discover a tiny scrap of meat within a hollowed centre. The coat of flaky batter encasing the meat might work for some, but I want my meat, not batter in sauce!

That said, the tangy gravy with the crispy batter is actually enjoyable if you can forget that it is supposed to be a PORK dish.

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For fibres Wong Koh Kee’s signature watercress dish was on every table. Due to the use of watercress plus the addition of belacan and roast pork, this isn’t your typical stir fry vegetables dish.
Though it is popular, I personally found it rather greasy and heavily flavoured.

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Woo Tau Kow Yoke or pork belly stewed with yam (RM10) had acceptable portions of lean meat and fattier cuts. The yam pieces were soft and had soaked in all the delectable flavours of the braising sauce.

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If I have to pick ONE favorite dish from our lunch this would be it.
This simple, handmade tofu stuffed with fish paste dish served in eggy gravy was lovely in its simplicity.
The tofu was of the firmer type. There were little fishpaste in each. But it is homely and the flavours are clean, just the type of dish that I like.

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Conclusion:
Wong Koh Kee is known for simple, no-frills food that is easy on the wallet and still satisfies the tummy.
Personally I am looking forward to my next meal here. The place strikes a chord in me, reminiscences of past years, of younger days and of the time when I used to have a family and when homecooked meals are an everyday affair.

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Wong Koh Kee
3, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh,
Perak, Malaysia.
*Exact location: From Kwong Heng and Plan B look opposite for this lane.

No fixed off days. call in advance.
Hours: 10.30am – 3pm – ONLY LUNCH.
No GST.
Tel: +605-241 9474, +6016-531 3826
Waze: ‘Wong Koh Kee’

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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/

Part 6: O Cafe, Canning Garden: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-chinese-restaurants-part-5-o-cafe-canning-garden-ipoh/

Part 7: Yam Yam Restaurant: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-restaurants-part-7-yam-yam-restaurant-for-dai-chow-in-tmn-ipoh/
Part 8: Restoran Makanan Laut Crab House: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-chinese-restaurants-part-8-restoran-makanan-laut-crab-house/

Part 9: Choy Kee: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-restaurants-part-9-restoran-makanan-laut-choy-kee/
Part 10: Sin Hup Kee: http://www.rebeccasaw.com/ipoh-best-chinese-restaurants-part-10-sin-hup-kee-jalan-leong-sin-nam/