As a native of Ipoh, I know very well that good food can be found all over the town. Not only is Ipoh famous for its “nga choy kai” (blanched bean sprouts with poached chicken), hor fun (rice noodles), chee cheong fun (steamed rice noodles) and salt-baked chicken, good seafood is also widely available and enjoyed, if you know where to get the best.
In Ipoh, you don’t need to travel to the seaside to have a great seafood meal. Right in the center of town, there’s a small restaurant that has been dishing out fresh seafood to its legion of fans for years.
Restoran Lucky is located along Jalan Pasir Puteh and you can gauge its popularity by just looking at the number of cars, many of them are luxury models, hogging the parking spaces all around the restaurant. Many of these are regulars who patronize the restaurant almost every day! For more than 30 years, the restaurant has been dishing out the freshest premium fish and top notch seafood to their loyal customers.
Be prepared to fork out more than the average meal when you dine here. The owner, Mr Teoh ensures that only the best and freshest ingredients are used.
We ordered their steamed pomfret noodles as we were told their fish supply had just arrived. Two decent-sized pomfret mixed with beehoon came in a deep dish submerged in a tasty tangy broth. Known as “Teochew-style”, the broth was flavoured by cubes of soft white tofu, tomatoes, sour plums and “kiam chye” (pickled vegetables). The pomfrets were extremely fresh, their flavours add on to the umami-ness of the broth. The portion served to us cost RM55.
Mr Teoh told us to try their “loong tan” (estuary garoupa) head so we ordered this, stir-fried with bittergourd. The estuary garoupa is prized for its thick gelatinuous skin and there’s plenty of this in the dish we ordered. Fermented black beans, garlic and spring onions boost up the flavour levels and the plate was wiped clean. Charged by weight, the 1.3kg estuary garoupa head cost RM130.
My brother told me their “suen choy” was one of the best in Ipoh, so of course I had to order a small pot to try. The claypot of simmering sour vegetables stew had all the right levels of sourness and spiciness, thanks to the liberal use of tamarind and dried chillies. The mustard leaves were soft enough, having absorbed all the exotic flavours from the tamarind and chillies. At RM9 for a small pot, it’s one of the priciest pot of suen choy in Ipoh, but it’s pretty good.
While you are there, order a plate of roast pork (RM15) if you are a porky fan. The thick cuts of crunchy skinned fatty pork will keep you busy and maybe partially satiated while waiting for your main dishes.
After the roast pork, we were still hungry so we had a plate of poached village chicken smothered with thick oyster sauce (RM32) and garnished with spring onions. The yellow skin was thick and had a good bite to it while the village chicken was slightly chewy (as good village chickens should be!) but was so flavoursome we picked the plate clean pretty quickly!
“Sang Har Meen” – prawn noodles is one of their signature items and we simply had to try this. Every other table seemed to have this. For the 8 of us, 800g of freshwater prawns were used to braise the egg noodles. Clumps of rich orangey prawn roe dotted the thick gravy and clung to the smooth strands of noodles. Not a drop of this sinfully tasty broth was left. Price of this portion: RM75.
My favourite item was the steamed homemade fish balls. Bigger than the usual fish ball, the smooth white balls, at RM1.10 each, is springy and simply delicious. Made from a combination of “saito” (wolf herring) and “taufu yue” (yellowback fusilier), these were really some of the best fish balls I had. To prove that, I ordered 50 pieces of the fish balls for takeaway.
Restoran Lucky Ipoh
266A Jalan Pasir Puteh
05-255 7330, 012-501 6630, 012-510 6279
Business Hours: 7.30 am-3.30 pm
Closed 1st and 3rd Wednesdays
GPS: 4° 34.802’N, 101° 4.913’E
All the above photos were snapped with my iPhone 4S – yes, I love my Apple!
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