This area in Ipoh is popular for ngah choy kai (芽菜雞). Besides Lou Wong, there is Onn Kee next door and another Onn Kee (I don't know if they are of the same management) across the road. There are also several shops selling salted chicken, which I will come back next time to try and to blog.
Lou Wong was a massive hive of activity - almost to the point of chaos. The place was packed to the brim. Many were standing around waiting for tables. The restaurant spilled to the street - 2 rows deep of tables. It is hard to imagine a restaurant doing such roaring business at 5.30pm. It was definitely to late for lunch and too early for dinner. What were the people there for?
I did not know if the large crowd was because of the CNY holiday season. Or is it like this everyday? I asked one of the waiters. He said it was the CNY crowd. He claimed on a normal day it is so quiet, you could hear a fly. I have no idea if he was serious.
We ordered the usual chicken, innards, ngah choy (taugeh), some fish and meat balls, rice and soup hor fun (河粉). The food arrived soon enough and spoke well for the efficiency of the place in spite of the crowd and the seemingly chaotic situation.
The chicken was rather ordinary. I did not find it that fantastically good. The meat was rather soft and did not have the firm texture of good chicken meat. It was OK for a hungry stomach but if you want good pak cham kai (白切雞), I don't think this is the place to come to.
The innards were likewise ordinary. But then, how extraordinary can innards ever be?
The ngah choy (芽菜) or taugeh were good. They were short and stubby. And very fresh too.
The fish and meat balls came in a soup. We did not order very many. Again, they were just ordinary.
Some of us had rice for the meal. They only served ordinary white rice. No chicken rice. A chicken rice place not selling chicken rice. What a disappointment. I had soup hor fun. And I was glad I did. It was good. The hor fun was so soft and smooth. It certainly lived up to Ipoh's reputation for good sar hor fun (沙河粉).
I have heard so much about Lou Wong. There were a couple of ngah choy kai (芽菜雞) places in PJ that took on similar names. I do not know if they are related or just trying to ride on the name. One of them may still be around in SS2.
The experience at Lou Wong was not great. I felt Ipoh Lou Wong was over-rated. Perhaps the quality was diluted because of the large CNY patronage. I had tasted similar ngah choy kai in other shops in Ipoh, KL and PJ. Ipoh Lou Wong was certainly not the best.