Have not heard of Kanthan Baru? It’s a small village, located nearby some industrial area about 20km away from Ipoh. Some people would say that hidden gems are usually not found in strategic places… that why we call it “hidden”, right?
I have not set foot into Kanthan Baru for many years. My colleague mates used to stay in Chemor, which is about 5 mins drive. We would gather at his place to do our college homework and have supper with their parents in Chemor or Kanthan.
I got to know about this shop thanks to Motormouth. He got to know about this place after watching Taste with Jason (Axian) on Astro AEC and he couldn’t wait any longer to try their Hakka offerings. But since there were only two of us, we just ordered a few items to be shared between the two of us. The Hakka lei cha (pounded tea rice) came with different types of chopped greens, condiments and a pungent chlorophyll-smelling broth – this was actually my first time trying lei cha and it was quite a pleasant surprise, as it wasn’t as bad as I perceived. But I didn’t really add all the broth to the rice, so it was still acceptable.
Pink-dyed dumplings called “cha guo” are also sold here with various of savoury fillings. It is quite difficult to find these nowadays, so when we saw these, we actually gone overboard by ordering too much (*gasp). Available in shredded yambean with peppery dressing, preserved vegetable (mui choy), grounded peanuts, dried shrimps and Chinese chives, I love the yambean and peanut version.
Authentic Hakka yong tau foo (we call it yong liew) are hard to come by, as the key ingredient for the stuffing lies in the minced salted fish. Fish paste + finely minced pork + salted fish = heavenly combination but due to the time-consuming process and cost, most proprietors would just omit the salted fish. In Chong Chew, they skipped on the salted fish as well, but they substitute it with an ingredient that rarely make an appearance in Hakka or Chinese cuisine – fennel seeds. Used extensively in Indian cuisine, fennel seeds acts as after-meal mint or used to flavour the curries. However, the combination of the yong liew with fennel seeds were surprisingly nice, adding a little bit of omph to the morsels.
And something for the real breakfast, chee cheong fun with curry pork skin and long beans. Those mentioned above does not count. :)
Chong Chew Kedai Kopi
282, Kanthan Baru,
31200 Chemor, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: 05-201 7616/012-518 3382
Directions: You can read it here.
*The map does not point to the exact location of the shop, it is just a reference on the nearby spot.