Spanning approximately 9 miles in length, Jalan Ipoh (Ipoh Road) has been the major route connecting Kepong, Selayang, Sentul and Batu Caves to the fringe of Chow Kit, just before Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (affectionately known as Batu Road) way before the existence of highways like Jalan Kuching. It acts as a pulmonary artery, sending workforce and leisure seekers to the pulsating beat of the city and vice versa, much like the function of the pulmonary vein.
Although it was never marked on the map of the Klang Valley as a significant gourmet trail, this good old friend does offer some rather interesting eateries. From Kari Kepala Ikan Sentul to Mee Boon Dim Sum to the few crowded Bak Kut Teh stalls to the endless mamak corners, one is never left hungry travelling along the road.
Bearing the same name, Restoran Jalan Ipoh is located at Jalan Batu Bernam, off Jalan Ipoh (Batu 4). Surrounded by clusters of eateries, this cornered breakfast spot is easily recognized as one of the most crowded coffeeshops in this area, with tables and chairs spilling out to the pavement, Malaysian style.
One of the favourites here is the Teluk Intan Chee Cheong Fun. Rice rolls filled with braised, diced turnip bits and dried shrimps, it is simply flavourful, albeit the inconsistent, slightly burnt taste. Add a few pieces of extravagance like beancurd skin, meatball and pig’s skin for enhanced texture and flavour. A drizzle of the sweet sauce is a must. For extra heat, add on some chili sauce and pickled green chilies. Delicious and reasonably priced as well.
At RM1, yes satu ringgit, the pyramidal Nasi Lemak is as good as it gets. The sambal ikan bilis is slightly sweet, with optimal heat. Wrapped in banana leaf, the coconut rice is fluffy and aromatic. What else can one ask for?
A glass of Teh-O-Ais to soothe the throat and cool the body before attempting the main course, maybe?
Judging from the endless orders and the mountainous, emptied ceramic bowls, the Seafood Noodle seems to be the signature stall of Restoran Jalan Ipoh. With prices ranging from a few ringgits to about RM15, this stall offers noodles and porridges with a choice of several types of seafood as accompaniment. They include clams, fishballs and red snapper fillets. A personal favourite would be just clam. With bee hoon and kway teow, served dry.
The clam soup is light, with seaweed and coriander for added flavour and texture. It might be a hassle detaching each and every piece of the clam meat from its shell, but the effort pays off once a couple of these morsels are eaten with the dry noodles. The bursting sweetness of the clam meat complements the savoury, dark soy sauce dressed bee hoon/kway teow combination very well. The generous serving of fried lard bits adds aroma and crunch to the ensemble.
Jalan Kuching may be a faster alternative, but if you have some extra time to spare, try taking the longer, more interesting Jalan Ipoh route. For all you know, you might bump into an interesting, unsung eatery.
Like this one.