Bowled over by Ipoh’s curry noodles


Stall operators at Yee Fatt Tea Shop preparing curry noodles.

THERE is something alluring about a steaming hot bowl of curry noodles.

From the spicy aromatics to the rich broth used, some versions will make you crave for more while others will leave you sweating from the heat.

Ipoh is not only famed for its bean sprouts and chicken, but also its curry noodles.

The curry noodles here are mostly inspired by Indian and Hainanese flavours, which is different from those found in the Klang Valley.

In fact, there are several types of curry noodles in Ipoh, with each having its own distinctive flavours and serving styles that are worth trying.

Here are five in Ipoh that stand out.

Dry curry noodles at Xin Quan Fang Restaurant with a separate dish of meats and garlic-infused dip.
Dry curry noodles at Xin Quan Fang Restaurant with a separate dish of meats and garlic-infused dip.

Xin Quan Fang Restaurant

No. 172, Jalan Sultan Iskandar

Opens daily from 7.30am to 1pm.Known locally as the ma ta liu (police station) curry noodles because of its proximity to the Pekan Baru police station, one could say it is a crime not to eat here.

Serving Hainanese-style curry gravy, the dish is served with roast pork, poached chicken, char siew (barbeque meat) and prawns.

Ordering the meats separately is recommended as the selection is served with a flavourful garlic-infused curry dip.

As this place is often packed, with people willing to queue up and wait patiently for their food, it’s best to head there early too.

Prices are between RM5.50 and RM8. The separate serving of meats is priced at RM13 (small) and RM14 (big). Non-halal.

The bowl of curry noodles from Yee Fatt Tea Shop packs a real kick.
The bowl of curry noodles from Yee Fatt Tea Shop packs a real kick.  

Yee Fatt Tea Shop

No. 39, Jalan Kampar

Opens daily from 7.30am to 3pm except Mondays.Opened since 1955, Yee Fatt is also known as “MGS curry mee”, as it is located opposite SMK (P) Methodist (Methodist Girls’ School).

The curry served here has a real kick and it is made from a blend of curry powder, shallots, spices and santan.

Customers, who have a choice of ordering a dry or soupy version, get their portion of noodles with pieces of chicken meat and char siew.

The curry also goes well with another popular dish here, the lor mai gai or glutinous rice with chicken.

A regular bowl is priced at RM6.60. Non-halal.

The dry curry noodles at Moon De Moon Restaurant comes with a generous amount of gravy.
The dry curry noodles at Moon De Moon Restaurant comes with a generous amount of gravy. 

Moon De Moon Restaurant

No. 148, Hala Wah Keong, Taman Mirindi

Opens daily from 7.30am to 1pm except Mondays and Tuesdays.Established in 2010, the curry noodles here is one of the best in the city.

The dry variety is popular with locals and the noodle dish is usually topped with big pieces of chicken and potato with a generous amount of smooth and rich curry gravy.

The spiciness level is just right, as some versions can be overpoweringly hot that it numbs the tongue.

The place is also known for its kai see hor fun (sliced chicken kuey teow).

Although the location of the restaurant is considered quite obscure – within a housing area in Kampung Simee – those with a nose for good food still manage to find it.

Even famed Hong Kong actor Chapman To has dropped in for a meal here. It was during his visit to Malaysia last year.

Fair warning to those willing to seek it out – it is best to get there early as there is usually a long line of hungry customers after 10am.

The dish is priced at RM5. This curry noodle stall is pork-free.

The dry curry noodles dish at Keng Nam Coffee Shop comes with chicken slices and char siew.
The dry curry noodles dish at Keng Nam Coffee Shop comes with chicken slices and char siew.  

Keng Nam Coffee Shop

No. 127, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa

Opens daily from 6am to 11am.Be it soupy or dry, the curry noodles here has just the right level of heat to kick-start the day.

The soup version is quite thick and also flavourful.

I recommend the dry version here as its savoury taste balances out the spicy flavour nicely.

The noodles are served with the usual chicken slices, char siew and roast pork.

Kuay teow lovers beware, this shop only has mee and meehoon options for the noodles – there is no kuey teow available here.

Like many of the famous eateries in the city, Keng Nam is often packed to the brim, so if you intend to avoid the crowd, make a beeline there early.

Prices are RM6 (regular) and RM7 (big). Non-halal.

Curry noodles at Sun Heng Coffeeshop is still flavourful despite the lack of santan and evaporated milk.
Curry noodles at Sun Heng Coffeeshop is still flavourful despite the lack of santan and evaporated milk.   

Sun Heng Coffee Shop

No. 19, Lorong Cecil Rae, Canning Garden

Opens daily from 7am to 12.30pm and closes on the first Thursday and Friday of the month and during public holidays.The curry here is not like the more popular ones mentioned above.

Despite that, it stands out because of its flavour, which it gets from the use of pure and fresh ingredients in its anchovy-based soup.

From the curry spices to other aromatic ingredients, the soup is boiled for between seven and eight hours to achieve maximum flavour.

There is also no santan or evaporated milk used in the curry, which is good for those watching their diet.

The noodles are served with slices of chicken, char siew and roast pork, and priced at RM6.30. Non-halal.

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