Cantonese owner-chef, Wong Koh Kee, founded his namesake restaurant nearly a century ago here on Concubine Lane, in the colorful quarter of Old Town, Ipoh. The legendary eatery is currently run by the third-generation of the Wong family, fronted by his sixty-something year-old grandson, Wong Ying Hoong.
Traditional Cantonese cooking is the byword here. Ipoh is a largely Cantonese city, and Ipoh-ians can be pretty conservative in their taste preferences. Wong Koh Kee dishes out some very tasty Cantonese fare in this busy little place.
Wong Koh Kee serves perhaps the best "Gwoo Lo Yook" (sweet-sour pork) in town. This is perhaps the most common Chinese dish known to the outside world. The version here, above all, was sheer perfection: crisp, batter-fried pork smothered in sweet-tangy tomato-accented sauce, with onions and capsicums. So simple, yet so hard to get perfectly right by many a Chinese restaurant chef. The chefs here at Wong Koh Kee have truly mastered the dish to produce a flawless one, the best I’d had anywhere!
Don’t miss ordering the "Sam Wong Tan" (steamed hen’s egg-century egg-salted duck’s egg. The version here incorporates minced pork into the egg custard mixture. Drizzled with good soy sauce, then topped with golden-fried shallots and minced garlic, and finely-chopped scallions, the steamed egg concoction had just the right smooth texture.
The stir-fried water convolvulus with roasted pork - the dish had a savory, very slightly bitter-ish after-taste, and we were guessing what secret condiments went into the cooking of this dish - perhaps Cantonese preserved shrimp eggs (har chi)?
"Hong Siew Yue Tou" (fried, braised fish-head with tofu, roasted pork & bean sauce) - this delicious platter of fried, then braised fish-head pieces, with roasted pork and tofu, flavored with preserved soy beans (taucheo) looked too big to be finished by the four of us. But it was so good, we polished off every bit of it.
We just tasted some of the best Cantonese fare in a long, long time today. This place is a definite keeper.
Wong Koh Kee Restaurant
3, Jalan Panglima, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Opening hours: 10.30am to 3pm daily