Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah@Jalan Yang Kalsom, Ipoh

Demona: Do not be fooled by the extremely chinese looking shop as the food served inside is far from anything porky/ non-halal.

I discovered this place thanks to my colleague for being a gracious host in her birth town. According to her, this was the first nasi kandar business to open in Ipoh and she grew up eating this with her family during weekends.

It is currently run by the founderโ€™s grandson Ahmad Haris, who appeared humourous. He scared me initially by raising his voice while I took some pictures of his stall’s display of dishes. I quickly apologised and *tsk*tsk*, gave some “sales talk”, by telling him the reason I took those pictures was because the food looked extremely delicious! Suddenly, he laughed out loud and for a split second, I thought he had a split personality. He explained later that he was just pulling my legs *PHEW* and told me to take as many pictures as I want.

His grandfather, started off originally peddling door to door to sell his rice and curries. From then onwards, everyting else was history.

50 years down the road, the crowd was still packed to the brim at lunch time, and the long queue of customers by the stall constantly remained, LONG. Customers of all different races, were seated everywhere, hungrily devouring this deliciousness while sweating away in the hot weather and spicy food.

Demona: I could not wait to sink my teeth in … THIS!

Demona: My colleague told me that, at one period of time, the nasi kandar from word of mouth, was nicknamed as Nasi Ganja (Heroine Rice) because customers enjoyed the deep fried ayam merah (red chicken?) and sambal so much that they came again, and again, and again for it, sometimes a few visits in a week. They had no idea why, but the mysterious craving for the nasi kandar just forced them to return to the shop, queue up, and eat it again.

Some people said that it was due to the big amount of a certain spice (I do not know what) added into the ayam merah and sambal, so much that it could trigger an addiction, some people said, real heroine was added in, in small amounts.

Rumours, rumours, rumours.

My colleague was also telling me about the spice story, and she said that they had reduced the addition of the “heroine-like” spice to a smaller amount to adhere to the food compliance. From then onwards, the nasi kandar tasted slightly different from what she ate previously, but still… managed to maintain the tastiness of it.
HMMMMMMM… I found it strangely interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Demona: Mysterious spice? Heroine-like? Addictive?….. THIS. It may look a little wierd from the pict, but trust me, it was… UMPH UMPH UMPH. We wiped the plate clean and went for a sambal refill.

Verdict: Sweating in the heat, from the crazy blazingly hot weather and from the curry and sambal, ladies.. your make up will melt! But it is all worth it. You can cool off with a icey, dicey cold cup of lime juice. Just the perfect drink to complement the fiery, tummy growling dish.

The best part about the nasi kandar without a doubt was its trademark ayam merah and sambal. The beef rendang, was unsatisfactory. The meat was too tough, obviously overcooked.

Each plate, with a chicken and egg, cost RM 4. Not cheap for Ipoh, but a normal price for KL. It is worth the queue, sweat and dollar. However, this shop will definitely stand up against plenty competition from the Penangites Nasi Kandar stalls!

TuBoLeng ( Mini Octopus)

TuBoLeng aka mini octopus: This is quite a popular local dish in northern Perak/Penang area. Take some fresh mini octopus, boil them and dip them in the spicy peanut sauce and you will have a wonderful dish to go along with beers! Mmmmm, crunchy juicy mini octopus makes me droool.

One place where you can find this dish is at BaganSerai where mommy’s ex-student cook up some mean dish.

Fried Eggplant in Curry Spices: Another of our favorite is the fried eggplant laced with indian curry powder. It might look like a gooey black mess, but wait till you taste the Spicy, Crunchy eggplant slices. The curry spices /Indian curry leaf provides the firepower and i suspect the chef added some sugar to give the eggplant the crunchiness.

SeaFood HorFun: Pretty impressive with thick seafood gravy and fresh seafood “liao”.What make this dish better than most horfun is the thick Wok-hei flavour and crunchy yet sinful home made fried pork lard…mmmmm..

Verdict: Extremely value for money ( We always get free drinks/fruits/desserts due to mommy) northern Malaysian Chinese cuisine that is heavy in taste/flavour. What more could you ask from such lovely small family owned restaurant?

ps: I could not remember the name of the restaurant but it is along the main street of bagan serai.