Spurred on by a discussion with NY-based Hound, Lau, on Foh San's dim sum, I decided to take a 2.5 hour drive to Ipoh this morning to catch a dim sum brunch there.
Whoa, I knew that Foh San's relatively new 2-year-old premises on Leong Sin Nam Road is much larger than its old 40-year-old location in Yau Tet Shin Road, but the huge dim sum palace was packed to the gills at 10am when we were there!! Ipoh residents do NOT believe in queuing, so one literally has to stand around & stake out a table, keeping an eye out for one where the diners are preparing to pay their bill & leave.
Once we'd secured a table, the super-efficient wait-staff will come round with pots of tea & clean tablecloth/tableware/cutlery. You get your dim sum in various ways: there are trolleys which come around with literally dozens of options - steamed radish cake, pan-fried noodles, steamed dumplings, fried dumplings, etc, etc. Or you can order from any of the friendly waitresses from the menu; or you can go to one of the vast display counters & choose yourself from the 100 or more types of dim sum on offer here. Yes, 100 or more!! I can come back here a dozen times & not get to sample everything!!
What we had this morning:
- siu mai, har gau, char-siu-bao, lo mai gai, wu-kok - these were all the best, and I do mean the BEST I'd had in Malaysia this year (by that, I meant dim sum places in KL & Penang which I'd probably written about before)
- the black pepper chicken dumplings, and the green-colored prawns & celery dumplings were interesting;
- an interesting beehive-shaped pau which contained a filling of glutinous rice at the base, and stewed chicken on top. It was delicious and now I'm in a fix because I liked it so much, but don't fancy a 2.5 hour drive up to Ipoh just to get it!
- Pork & century egg porridge, served in a claypot - delicious, but not as good as those one can get in Hong Kong's top dim sum restaurants.
Verdict: Foh San is definitely up there amongst the best dim sum places I'd tried - it's definitely the best I had in Malaysia since I'd been here at the beginning of the year. It's better than ANY dim sum places I'd ever had in the US (SF, LA, NY, Seattle) or the UK. It rates below top dim sum places in Singapore like Crystal Jade Palace in Ngee Ann City, Imperial Treasure in Paragon & also Great World City, and HK's top tier dim sum restaurants. But Foh San's price is simply UNBEATABLE: RM52 or just USD17 for 4 persons! Come on - that worked out to USD4.25 per head - unbelievable, considering that we ate till we nearly had to be stretchered out of the restaurant :-D
Foh San Restaurant
51 Jalan Leong Sin Nam
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: +605-254 0308