Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day Two (Includes Kaya Puffs and Pomelo): Ipoh - Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur Trip 2013

I woke up at 5.30am because both parents were already up and gunning to get out of the hotel for breakfast! The sleep was great although i 'nua' a while longer before dragging myself out of bed for a necessary bath.

Out of French Hotel by 6.30am and was greeted by a dead quiet road scene. Amazingly, it was the same scene the morning before but the feeling this time, after having had sufficient sleep and a refreshing rain shower, was vastly different.

Dim sum for breakfast two days in a row is seriously no joke; albeit this time, we patronised the imposing Foh San that was modernly designed with a nicer ambience! For my review, click here.

Mom goofing around with the power lines that stretched from building to building. This is a scene not commonly seen in Singapore as most of the power lines are located underground. 

Feline waiting for something; food, i presume. 

Very old school, non air-conditioned bus sighted on the street! The cute bus was quite petite with only one entrance that also served as the exit. Can see from my parents' face that this brought back some nostalgia of Singapore's public transportation a few decades ago. 

TOUR
Took a dump in the hotel and it was time to meet up with Daniel, our tour ambassador arranged with Jammy from MyIpohHoliday, at 8.30am at the lobby of French Hotel

The eight-hour itinerary was customised by us with initial inputs and recommendations from Jammy, who is an Ipoh native! Our criteria was simple; an air-conditioned car (petrol included) that can seat three of us with a driver cum ambassador who can speak Mandarin. 

Daniel turned out to be a real gem as he shared with us attractions in Ipoh that we can visit next time and his childhood memory of places like the cave temples and Kellie's Castle. Planning for a trip to Ipoh, you can send an email to Jammy at myipohholiday@gmail.com; she also advises on other tour-related queries like accommodation! You may also visit the facebook page here

Our itinerary brought us to a quite a number of places, first of which was the eerily beautiful Kellie's Castle! For more details (and photographs of course), click here

Kellie's Castle was actually out of Ipoh city and took us roughly 30 to 40 minutes each way. 

However, the ride wasn't boring as we chatted a bit with Daniel and there were plenty of sights including abandoned houses and even an entire street devoid of any human resident! 

Visited four cave temples in one go! Starting with Kek Lok Tong Cave Temple [極樂洞] - Cavern of Ultimate Bliss (the latter was my cannot-make it translation). As with Kellie's Castle, a post has been dedicated to the temple and you check out this link for the details. 




Lunch was at Sun Yeong Wai [新扬威烤鸭饭店], restaurant famous for their roasted duck! I was elated to find char siew that was just a notch lower than Kay Lee! The only regret i had was not asking for takeaway for another session of indulgence back in the hotel. 

Two doors away was Yee Hup, a brand synonymous with Heong Peng (香饼) which was a type of pastry biscuit that Ipoh was famous for. I didn't get any as the shop didn't provide any sampling! :(

What i did manage to purchase were a few boxes of coconut biscuits! Sampling was provided and i must say it appeared dry yet tasted surprisingly delicious and crunchy with a trailing coconut fragrance.

After the fulfilling lunch, it was time to walk a bit to digest the food - visitation to yet again another cave temple known as Kwan Yin Tong Temple [觀音洞] - Cavern of Guanyin Bodhisattva

Truthfully, visiting five temples in merely five hours was a very tiring affair! Time to further indulge in my favourite activities; food hunting! 

The Ipoh man, Daniel that is, brought us to his favourite food haunts which were all within walking distance from our hotel. One which was the smooth soya beancurd from Funny Mountain

Another one that came strongly recommended was Sin Eng Heong, renowned for their kaya puffs! Coincidentally, it was opened by the relative of my secondary school senior. 

In my three days, two nights in Ipoh, this was the first time i saw people queuing for food! Daniel mentioned that the weekend queue would be all the way out, past a few shophouses. 

Trays and trays of fresh kaya puffs came and went for twenty minutes before it was our turn! Each piece cost RM 0.80 and we requested for only five since this would be a pain to bring back to Singapore.

Food map for Sin Eng Heong as above with red border. 

Pomelo was another Ipoh's specialty even though Daniel didn't appear to be too fascinated with it. Nonetheless, the parents wanted to try and we chose a fruit stall located right opposite Sin Eng Heong. 

Two types were available; the more expensive red meat and the cheaper white meat. Since the difference in pricing wasn't much, we went with the red one (tied with red string). 

Our only condition was for the stall owner to help us remove the skin! The way she manoeuvred the knife and the speed she removed the skin were simply a jaw-dropping show! 

Back at the hotel where we can finally take another bath and rest our tired feet, it was also time to attack the food we bought; the kaya puffs and the pomelo! 

Let's start with the puffs - they were marvelous and featured the yellow type of custard kaya that i personally preferred over the green one. The skin was thin, extremely flaky with a light crispiness that tasted very satisfying in conjunction with the incredibly generous kaya filling!

The pomelo was another story altogether; not as sweet as we expected with an unwanted tardiness that made us wondered why we bothered buying it in the first place.

Rested for 90 minutes before stepping out once again for dinner! Amusing wall painting finally spotted even though such street art was not as prevalent as Malacca or Penang. 

Clay wrapped beggar chicken with herbs! Salted baked chicken seemed to be another must try in Ipoh as i can see quite a number of shops selling them. It's a pity that i am travelling to other parts of Malaysia and it would not be convenient for me to haul them from one place to another.

Mom perked up at this shop selling traditional Chinese biscuits and pastries! I am so glad she didn't buy tonnes of stuff - imagine the weight i have to endure back to Singapore! One torturing memory was a trip to Kuala Lumpur with her; thanks to her, i had to hand carry thirteen paper bags filled local goodies! 

Lou Wang beansprout chicken which was overrated in my opinion. Check out my review here. A Facebook friend has corrected that the original beansprout chicken is supposed to be the one at Cowan Street. Maybe i would check it out the next time i visit. 

Another reputable one serving the same dish, Ong Kee, was located diagonally from Lou Wang. If i am with the Gang of Four, chances are high that we would visit it straightaway after Lou Wang! 

It was barely 8pm and i didn't want to sleep so early! Hence, it was chill out time at the Jose & Deli Eatery which resided on the second level of French Hotel

While our time away in the cafe under a canopy of soothing music as the parents read the Chinese dailies and i thumbed at my mobile for facebook updates and blogging. Not to mention there was also dessert involved! Blissful indeed!

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For Day One, click HERE.
For a summary of my trip, click HERE.

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