|The "Big Tree".|
Years ago when I was in Ipoh on a working trip, my colleague brought me to the famous Dai Shu Geok (literally translated to mean "at the foot of (a) big tree") Yong Tau Foo. Though the stall looked humble in appearance, the crowd was anything but!
So, when we made our way to Ipoh for a short weekend holiday recently, I knew this was one of the places I wanted to revisit. Nearly four years later, the crowd was still as big, business still as good, and the yong tau foo still as tasty!
|Yong Tau Foo under sweltering heat|
|Lunch hour at Dai Shu Geok|
Workers would just keep on churning out tray after tray of freshly deep-fried stuffed items, as quickly as the patrons snap them up. When I arrived, I saw that some of the trays were empty, but soon after I found a seat and made my way over again, they had been briskly refilled with hot, fresh ones.
Variety here is good in my books, mostly consisting of the traditional stuffed items like wantans, aubergine, ladies' fingers, chilli, tofu, foo chok (beancurd sheets) and the newer varieties more recently created, like yau cha guai (chinese crullers), stuffed hard boiled eggs and stuffed long bean rings. After selecting your pieces, you hand over the bowl to the ladyboss, who will then issue a receipt and put your bowl in the "queue" (see the top right hand pic?). After a quick refry, your yong tau foo will be delivered piping hot to your table!
I loved the thick, generous fish-paste fillings which made for a nice, substantial bite. My favourite was the crispy wantans and the thin foo chok (bean curd sheets), the latter deep fried to a point where it could almost dissolve into your mouth.
Another favourite was the round disc-shaped yambean fritter (spot it in the pic on the left), something I saw on Choi Yen's blog before we went to Ipoh. I don't remember seeing it the first time I visited, so I made a mental note to order it this time.
|Huge trays of yambean fritters waiting to be deep fried.|
I was very curious what yam bean actually was, and did a bit of googling - turns out it's our local turnip or sengkuang (sar kok in Cantonese).
The fritter was crispy on the outside, while inside consisted of translucent bits of chopped sengkuang that turned out slightly sweet and chewy. This seemed to be everyone's favourite as well, judging by just how much the workers were preparing. How I wish we could get this in PJ or KL! Anyone?
I didn't care much for the curry laksa noodles (RM 2.40) that I ordered to go with the yong tau foo, from the same stall. It came with some big chunks of aubergine, but the curry soup was extremely oily to a point that made it difficult to consume. I gave up after a short while.
However, the Red Bean Ice / hong dau suet was a joy to drink in the sweltering heat! It had a lovely consistent texture from the blended red beans, just runny enough to be consumed through that straw. It was also very creamy and just sweet enough for me, managing to retain most of its taste even after the ice had melted. I contemplated ordering two glasses for awhile... Gulp.
Adam wanted something more carb-substantial that just yong tau foo, so he decided on Chicken Rice (RM 10.20 for rice with a portion of half a chicken) from a nearby stall keeper who was pretty aggressive in marketing his chicken and Ipoh bean sprouts.
Unfortunately, this was one of the poorer chicken rices that he had tried in Ipoh. The chicken was a tad too chewy and the sauce was salty and had very little fragrance of the commonly used hou yau / oyster oil. He was still left craving his favourite chicken from Thean Chun in Ipoh Town.
We also ordered Pork Balls from the same stall at RM 0.80 per ball (cost more than yong tau foo, can you believe it?! We couldn't.) I actually thought the pork meatballs were pretty good, bouncy and flavourful. It was served in a dark, murky broth that was also very satisfying, a result of peanut and pork bones boiled over slow fire.
|Ah Ho Siu Yuk Stall & our takeaway|
Adam decided to takeaway a RM 10 serving of the siu yuk (roasted pork) from this stall for us to snack on after our hotel check-in. The flesh was sufficiently tender, but I wished the crackling was a lot crispier.
Looks like the only thing worth having here would be the yong tau foo!
Dai Shu Geok 大树脚 Ipoh Famous Yong Tau Foo
(at the intersection of Jalan King & Persiaran Tokong)
No. 652, Jalan King,
Pasir Pinji, 31650 Ipoh,
Tel: +6 012 524 5408
Opening Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm