Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuck Kee in Ipoh

It was the Merdeka Raya festive week. And we decided to drive up north to see the in-laws. Before we left, I made arrangements to meet up with YF in Ipoh. He is an old classmate and a very good friend. He drove all the way from Teluk Intan to meet us. Ipoh is almost his second hometown. He knows every nook and corner of the city - especially places to have some good makan. We met him at a petrol station just after we exited the expressway and followed him towards Pasir Pinji. The restaurant he chose was Tuck Kee.

Tuck Kee is located at the junction of Persiaran Tokong and Jalan King in Pasir Pinji. This part of town is apparently also known as Taman Hoover. It is accessible either from Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun or from Jalan Pasir Puteh. It is a typical Chinese restaurant - brightly decorated and has a very pleasant Chinese ambiance. It is big, occupying 2 shop lots and 2 floors of dining area. We arrived around noon and the place was almost pack. As we progressed into our meal, the crowd grew even bigger.

The restaurant is apparently famous for its barbequed meats - char siew (叉烧), siew yuk (燒肉) and roast duck. They have a take-away counter for the meats. Throughout our meal, there was a constant queue at the counter. Very considerately, they even provide fans for the take-away patrons.

Quite naturally, the barbequed meats topped our orders that day. YF had mentioned their meats to me on several occasions. We order a combo of all 3 meats.  I honestly did not find the meats to be fantastic. They were not bad but I wouldn't go ga-ga over them. The siew yuk (燒肉) had a crispy skin as most roast pork do. The roast duck was ordinary. And the char siew (叉烧) did not match up to those we find in KL and PJ.

Next was the (I hope I got name correct) chen long choy (青菜 or green dragon vegetable). It is a "new" vege that is gaining popularity in Chinese restaurants. It was simply cooked and topped with some crispy deep fried small fish (not ikan bilis). The crispy fish complemented the vege very nicely. It was a good vege dish.

The fish dish was very nicely done. It was slices of grouper stir fried with ginger and spring onions (姜葱鱼片) in a light sauce. The fish and spring onions were cooked just right - not at all over done. We enjoyed the freshness of the fish.

The combination of the next dish was very unusual, yet delicious. It was tofu cooked in a pumpkin sauce. In it were some carrots, peas, shrimps and others. The pumpkin flavor was distinct but not overpowering. It was a good subtle base for the smooth mildly fried tofu. A superb innovation.

The braised pork (东坡肉 - tung por yuk) was another great dish. It was half lean pork braised in a thick soy sauce with some siew pak choy (小白菜). It was served with a bun. The meat had a bit of sinful fat on it. It was soft and succulent and very pleasing. The bun was deep fried and had a kind of vege stuffing topped with sesame seeds. It was really nice dipped into the sauce. 

The lunch was most enjoyable - perhaps a little too heavy. It was not only because of the good food but also the good company. YF did not allow me to pay - apparently his territory. After the meal, we walked over to a nearby hawker place - "under a big tree" (大树下) for red bean dessert. I will write about this hawker place on our way home....

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