Lou Leong is actually well-known Ipoh biscuit-maker, Yee Thye (Est. 1975)'s ambitious foray into the profitable "Nga Choy Kai" (poached chicken and beansprouts) food business for which Ipoh seems to be famous for these days.
Growing up in the 1960s and into the 70s, I'd never associated Ipoh with "Nga Choy Kai". Then, it was Ipoh "hor fun" at Loke Wooi Kee or Thean Chun; and delicious pork & pig's intestines satay, and popiah from Kong Heng.
But Ipoh in the past decade has become synonymous with "Nga Choy Kai", and places like Lou Wong, Ong Kee and Cowan Street vie for the pole position as the city's top "Nga Choy Kai" eatery.
Eating at Lou Wong and its rival, Ong Kee, adjacent to it, can be pretty challenging - sitting is basically al fresco amidst the heat & dust of Ipoh New Town. Lou Leong, close by, provides air-conditioned comfort away from the crowds (one realises after a while that the diners packing Lou Wong & Ong Kee are 99% out-of-towners anyway) and the stress.
Yellow-skinned, very flavoursome, chewy free-range chicken, bathed in fragrant soysauce and sesame oil, and topped with scallions and cucumbers.
Locals swore that the fat, crunchy, juicy beansprouts for which Ipoh is justly famous for is due to the minerals in the soil and water in and around Ipoh.
The poached beansprouts are also flavoured with very good quality soysauce and sesame oil.
The pork meatballs here are force-meat, mixed with tapioca/cornstarch flour, resulting in a springy, bouncy texture.
This is one of my fave accompaniments for Hainanese-style chicken rice - juicy, gelatinous chicken ski and cartilage, braised in flavoured soysauce (star-anise, cinnamon bark) till tender.
This cool, iced drink made from sour-sweet mango-like "umbra" (Malay: "buah kedondong") is perfect. It's served here with a salted plum to provide the additional kick.
The clean, cool atmosphere in Lou Leong is a vast improvement over Lou Leong and Onn Kee's alfresco seating arrangements (with their rickety foldable tables and plastic stools) just down the road from it.
Lou Leong Ipoh Chicken (老梁芽菜鸡)
26, Jalan Theatre, Taman Jubilee
30300 Ipoh, Perak
Tel: +605-241 2337