Stepping into a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant was the last thing in my mind when visiting Ipoh which, IMO, is better known for its legendary coffeeshops and casual Chinese eats purveying chicken rice, poached chicken with 'hor fun' in soups, 'dim sum' dumplings, curried noodles and the famous Ipoh 'pak ka fei' (white coffee) with 'kaya' toasts.
But a couple of my Ipoh-born friends insisted that they take me for lunch at Ipoh's famous Oversea Restaurant - yes, the one which had made a successful foray into Kuala LUmpur over 35 years ago, culminating in the Oversea Restaurant branch in Jalan Imbi (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861239 and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/840858).
We had a 'light' lunch, by Ipoh standards:
- Soup of the day: pork-rib, old melon and wolfberries consomme. It was thick and full of flavor, a result of slow-simmering for hours.
- Fish-maw, fish-stomach, shitake mushrooms and whole cloves of garlic, slow-cooked in a claypot. The braised saucewas unctuous, whilst the fish-maw and mushrooms were slippery and sticky - the Chinese *love* this type of texture.
- 'Char-siu' (caramelised BBQ pork) and 'siu-yuk' (crisp-skinned roast pork) were absolutely delicious and beat the versions in KL hands-down.
- Deep-fried prawns, covered with a chopped cashewnut-mayonnaise sauce. Tasty, but I'm not quite used to a warm, mayo-covered dish.
- Long beans, stir-fried with crisp shallots and tiny anchovies. It was my fave dish during this lunch.
Overall, the dishes here at Oversea Ipoh seemed better prepared and tasted better than its KL counterpart - not sure why, maybe the ingredients used here were sourced differently - from local Ipoh suppliers, and the chefs were just that bit better.
Oversea (Haewaytian) Restaurant
57-65, Jalan Seenivasagam (Clayton Road)
Tel : +605-253 8005/+605-2530885/+605-253 1970