Thursday, 29 June 2017

(The Star) Massive influx of tourists over long weekend

Many Malaysians took advantage of the Hari Raya holidays and week-long school break to visit Ipoh.

In fact, Singaporeans too, arrived by the bus loads at the city famous for white coffee and bean sprouts chicken.

S.H. Teh, from Penang, said it was because of the long weekend that she and her family decided to make a trip down to Ipoh.

A girl poses by an old bicycle at the Ipoh Booth Cart, one of the many tourist attractions at Ipoh Old Town.

“This is a first visit for some of my family members though I’ve been here several times,” said the 35-year-old mother who was spotted posing for photographs with her young children at one of the many attractions along the touristy Concubine Lane, Ipoh Old Town.

Theng Saw Vira, a Kelantanese studying at Universiti Malaysia Perlis, said she and three other friends visited Ipoh for the first time.

“We did some research on the Internet and decided on a trip to the Lost World of Tambun and also cave temples that Ipoh is famous for.

“And of course, a trip to Ipoh is also about eating. We’re definitely going to have the famous chicken hor fun here,” said Theng, 24.

Ipoh Old Town was not the only place packed with tourists.

Concubine Lane in Ipoh was crowded during the Hari Raya holidays.

Outstation folk were seen making a beeline for shops selling local delicacies such as the Guan Heong biscuit shop, which recently made it into the Top 50 World Street Food Masters list at the World Street Food Congress 2017, and also shops and eateries at the Gerbang Malam area.

For some, enduring a five-hour car journey on a jammed expressway was no big deal if the reward was to be able to savour Ipoh’s famous eats.

Engineers Marcus Tng and Angela Pang, both 25, felt a sudden urge to find out for themselves how good were the foods raved about by their friends and the Internet and made a last minute trip to Ipoh on the eve of Hari Raya.

“We drove for five and a half hours from Puchong but it is well worth it.

Tourists buying biscuits and pastries at the Guan Heong biscuit shop, which recently made it into the Top 50 World Street Food Masters list at the World Street Food Congress 2017.

“We had the beansprouts chicken, Ipoh white coffee and the tau fu fah and soybean at Funny Mountain.

“After this, we’ll try out some assam laksa and curry noodles,” said Tng.

Pang agreed that it was a purely a “makan trip” for the both of them.

“We’re just going to eat as much as we can till we go home tomorrow.

A young boy trying his hand at making candy floss at Concubine Lane

“We’ve not thought about visiting any places,” she said.

Similarly, so strong was their craving for the food here that sisters, A.K. Anushinee and Dharshini decided on a day trip to Ipoh, bringing along their parents.

“The jam was terrible. It took us five hours to reach here from Subang Jaya but you’ve got to make use of the long break when it comes along.

Singaporean tourists arriving by the bus loads at Ipoh Old Town.

“Based on recommendations from friends who live in Ipoh, we had the sang har mien (freshwater prawn fried noodles) at Hoong Tho Restaurant, dim sum at Foh San, white coffee at Sin Yoon Loong and egg tarts at Nam Heong,” 24-year-old Anushinee said when met at Funny Mountain Soya Bean shop.

“We’re heading to Dai Shu Geok (Big Tree Foot in Cantonese) in Pasir Pinji for the assam laksa and fried yong tau foo (stuffed bean curd and vegetables) after this,” she added.

Dharshini, 28, added that the trick to eating so much in one day was by sharing the food.

“That way, you’ll have space for more.”