Breakfast this morning was at the legendary Foh San, one of Ipoh’s leading purveyors of dim sum ever since its founding as a small coffeeshop on Osborne Street back in 1971 by the late Tham Bak Yuen and his wife, Sam Ah Looi. In 1973, the couple decided to turn their coffeeshop into a dim sum restaurant, calling it “Foh San Hong Kong Dim Sum”. It was, at one time, the most popular dim sum spot in Ipoh, with crowds waiting outside at 5.30am for its 6am opening.
Mdm Sam Ah Looi’s younger brother, Shum Pak Kong, had started helping his sister and brother-in-law in their eatery from the beginning as a 13-year-old. Now, he is the 61-year-old General Manager of Foh San, which moved on 2 July 2009 to its current spot on Jalan Leong Sin Nam, dubbed Ipoh’s “Dim Sum Street” due to the presence of other popular dim sum spots like Ming Court and Yoke Fook Moon.
Nowadays, Foh San opens at 6.30am daily (except Tue) and usually sells out by lunch-time. Tables are much easier to come by these days at the much larger Leong Sin Nam location.
Get a table, order tea and the waitress will hand you an order card which you’ll need as you join the queue at the food order counters. Choose your dim sum, all freshly steamed, then hand your card to the server so she can tick your orders for payment later:
Our spread - one tends to over-order when so many types of dim sum are enticingly displayed:
IMO, Foh San’s standards may not be as stellar as the time when it ran a smaller set-up in its old location pre-2009, but it still fares better than the much-vaunted Ming Court, situated right across the road from it. But Yoke Fook Moon has the tastiest dai bao among the three (Foh San used to be #1).
51, Jalan Leong Sin Nam
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: +605-254 0308
Opening hours: 6.30am to 2.30pm daily, except Tue (closed)