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  • Writer's pictureRick

West Malaysia Day 19: Reminiscing the Old Tastes of Taiping

There were many food centres in Taiping. The number was astonishing. I counted at least 10 food centres concentrated within a radius of 500 metres around Taiping Mall, excluding restaurants and cafes. Taiping was truly a food haven for cheap and good food. And not forgetting a ton of Taiping creations too.

I went to Tai Chien Coffee Shop (大千茶餐室) for breakfast. It was at this kopitiam that I first experienced some of the unique creativities of Taiping, such as the Taiping-specialty hor ga sai (虎咬狮) coffee and orange chicken, in 2017. Most of the stalls were still around after all these years.

I tried the fried wanton noodle this time. It was, in general, wanton noodle with slices of char siew and lettuce but the wantons (meat dumplings) were fried and mushrooms were added. It was always a different dining experience. And I ordered kopi-o kosong automatically — totally forgetting about the hor ga sai coffee here.

A check on Google Maps showed that it would take 17 minutes to walk to Antong Coffee Mill. I decided to walk since I had done it before, but I missed out that the mill was right beside a highway with no pedestrian walkways and it would have been better to use a transport. And not forgetting about the sun.

As usual, I reached Antong Coffee Mill as though I had just stepped out of a rain. I took a rest to cool off before checking the exhibits in the showroom. A video explained Antong’s traditional kopi-making processes and still-in-used olden-day equipment in the mill could be observed. The mill used to be opened to visitors but was off-limit now if without a guide.

In the retail section, I bought two packets of Antong’s coffee. One packet was coffee beans since I could grind and brew it myself. I also purchased a cup of kopi-o and a curry puff and rest at a little corner to enjoy it. There were new murals around the coffee mill and I found the name of the painter who was painting the rain tree mural when I was last here.

I e-hailed a Grab car from Antong Coffee Mill back to town and alighted at Restoran Yut Sun (日新茶餐室), opposite Tai Chien coffee shop — not to be confused with Restoran Yat Sun (日新) with the same Chinese name. I had my first Hainanese-style chicken chop at Yut Sun. And I decided to go for the chicken chop again — it had been so long.

After lunch, I headed in the direction of Knight Alley Hotel but detouring a few times to check out some historical spots like the Clock Tower (Menara Jam), original site of Siang Malam (under construction), Peace Hotel, Hotel Peking and also the modern and most prominent Taiping Mall and Novotel Hotel, now the tallest in Taiping.

It was not so hot in the afternoon due to cloudy sky, which was the norm in Taiping since the town was at the foot of Bukit Larut or Maxwell Hill. Taiping was also hailed as the “rain town” (雨城) due to this reason. Taiping was a better place to be in during the hot season.

1:30pm, I was back at the hotel. I needed to charge my phone as the battery was nearly depleted. Using Google Maps, Grab app and taking photos concurrently took a heavy toll on the power level.

At 4pm, I went out for some Taiping snacks and dessert. I visited P.S.L. Goreng Pisang along Jalan Pasar. Top choice was definitely a piece of goreng pisang (banana fritter), tapioca fritter and fried Chinese rice cake from an array of tantalising fried fritters. It cost only RM5 for three.

The fritters were still-hot but not oily. Each type of fritter used appropriate batter to ensure they had the best texture and taste. I munched on them while searching for street arts along Jalan Taming Sari and Jalan Barrack.

And the “Postman” mural was in the process of being replaced. The “post card” was still on the wall in the morning when I passed by the mural but it was already being painted over in the afternoon. Would the “postman” still be around after the new artwork was completed?

After eating the fried fritters, I went to Restoran Ansari Famous Cendol to have cendol. I opted for the cendol with kacang (red bean) & jagung (sweet corn). It was a small bowl, not too much and yet was a nice dessert without being too sweet.

Then, back at the hotel again, since I had nothing more to do in the late afternoon, and waited for nightfall.

My dinner was delayed, without a doubt, after eating so much stuff. But I still headed out at 7:30pm to look for something light to eat in case I felt hungry in the middle of the night. I came to Pusat Penjaja Taiping (Taiping Hawker Centre) opposite the main entrance of Taiping Mall. I browsed through nearly all the stalls before deciding on the stall named “C39 Noodles House” because it seemed to be the busiest.

I ordered a fried noodle from the menu. It was a nice noodle dish with prawns, chicken, fishballs, fish cakes, etc. And a little too big a plate for someone who was not at all hungry — it was my fault for having snacks and dessert in the late afternoon.

I slept at 1am.


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