Holiday Foodsteps: Ipoh Central Kopitiam

These are the ingredients to the perfect weekend breakfast: a good cup of local white coffee, toast (kaya is a bonus) and perfectly done eggs. If those are the ingredients to your perfect breakfast too then Ipoh Central Kopitiam is going to make your morning.

We spotted the kopitiam as we stepped out of Foh San and despite being absolutely stuffed from all the dimsum,  we couldn't resist the pull of the coffee so across the road we went, because that's just what tourists do in Ipoh - eat. One sip and we were sold - we knew we'd have to come back the next day.

 Frothy, and with that lovely flavour that only local coffee seems to have - the perfect pick-me-up.

A gorgeous runny yolk on light, crisp toast.

The coffee shop doesn't only serve coffee, eggs and toast, of course (though I would have been equally happy if that was all it served).

Apom balik - the soft, fluffy sort.

Curry chee cheong fun

Hor hee, for the ones who prefer a warm, soupy start the to the day. 

I'm always on the look-out for a good cup of local white coffee (the places that get their coffee right almost always get their eggs and kaya toast right, too) - so if you happen to have a favourite coffee shop in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya, I'd love to hear from you, one kopitiam lover to another.

Holiday Foodsteps: Top Wok, Ipoh

It was meant to be, Top Wok and us - destiny, if you may. It had been an eventful day involving a trip to the emergency unit (be very, very careful - steps in the caves can get extremely slippery) and all we wanted was to settle down to a good dinner to laugh it all off. After discovering that our first choice restaurant was closed for the day and that a wedding was being held in our backup restaurant, we kept our fingers crossed that the third time would be a charm. 

No 12-1, Lebuh Perajurit 3/1,
Taman Ipoh Boulevard Timur,
31400 Ipoh,
Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-547 6392, 6012-506 1503

Salted fish topped tofu. A perfect golden brown on the outside, soft on the inside and paired with a delicious gravy that hinted of salted fish and crunchy fried onions - this went right up there on my list of favourite tofu dishes.

Tung Po Yuk - slow cooked pork, served with steamed mantou. The tong po yuk here is a bit of a house special and it truly didn't disappoint. It brought back happy memories of a 5 year-old me, deeping strips of soft, steamed mantou into that deep, dark gravy that we all know and love.

Otak otak.  I'm always a little apprenhensive about otak otak served at restaurants - there's always a tendency to go a little overboard with the gelatin so what you get is not the rich, velvety fish paste but a fish jelly of sorts. The flavours from Top Wok's version were delightful and while the consistency wasn't quite spot on, it still made for an addictive, satisfying dish.

Sizzling Nyonya squid. Sweet, spicy, sour, and with that tantalising sizzle. Enough said.

Steamed grouper tail. Fresh fish, a generous amount of garlic and steamed for just the right amount of time - check, check and check.

Buttermilk mantis prawns. Contender number two in the buttermilk mantis prawn challenge was a pretty strong one - a drier dish than the one in Leun Fong, this one was a little more to my liking.

To wash it all down - a nice cold (eye-opening) glass of umbra juice.

Top Wok serves the sort of warm, comforting food that makes families happy. Looks like the third time really was a charm for us.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake with an Orange-Chocolate Glaze

Everyone needs a good chocolate cake recipe - it's like that Little Black Dress in our closets, a secret weapon, a safety net. I realise that I don't bake chocolate cakes very often (in fact, I do believe that I've probably never baked a chocolate cake before - I know, shame on me) but I've stumbled upon a recipe that's going to be my LBD from now on. I tweaked the recipe I found on my go-to site for recipes, and thought I'd experiment a little with some orange-chocolate glaze just because it was Chinese New Year.

Adapted from shirleyo's One Bowl Chocolate Cake III Recipe


2 cupswhite sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup boiling water 
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

Orange-Chocolate Glaze
1 cup chocolate chunks
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons milk
Rind of 1 orange, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a nine inch round pan.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking and salt.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer. 
Stir instant coffee powder into the boiling water and stir into the the cake mixture. 
Batter will be thin. 
Pour into the pan and bake for 70-80 minutes (or until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean).
For the orange-chocolate glaze, melt the ingredients on low heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are well combined and the mixture has a smooth, silky consistency.
Allow the cake to rest overnight before glazing and serving.  

This is truly one of those moist, decadent chocolate cakes that the inner child yearns for, definitely a crowd-pleaser. I recommend serving it warm (perhaps 30 seconds in the microwave) with a generous helping of ice cream.