5 must-have dishes when popping by Taiping

The sleepy little town of Taiping has a few culinary tricks up its sleeve.

The small town of Taiping in Perak deserves attention. Rich in history and natural wonders, the former colonial settlement is now a haven for retirees, who flock there for its balance of tranquillity and infrastructure.

Nonetheless, if you’re a tourist or just headed there for a long-delayed social call to your relatives, be sure to hit up these Taiping specialities that locals know and love.

Char Koay Teow with Fish Balls

Sold in the legendary Larut Matang Food Court of Taiping – the town’s dining institution which has stood the test of time and boot-cut jeans – the Char Koay Teow at stall number 78 draws visitors like a magnet thanks to its fresh juicy fish balls and the oily-wet texture of its flat noodles.

Oilier than its cousins from Penang, Taiping’s own version of Koay Teow also features fresh Char Siew. Be warned, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but nonetheless is a source of pride for many Taipingites.

Goreng Koayteow
Stall No. 78,
Larut Matang Food Court,
34000 Taiping, Perak.

Popiah Basah

Another iconic Taiping dish that shares the same roof as the aforementioned Char Koay Teow is the Popiah Basah. There are many stalls selling these soft spring rolls (just like the Char Koay Teow) but only one of them is the real deal.

Jaffan Popiah Taiping of stall number 1 makes their Popiah Basah with a secret ingredient – scrambled fried tofu. How is that even possible, you ask? Uncle Omar who mans the shop is more than happy to clear your doubts.

Jaffan Popiah Taiping
Stall No 1,
Larut Matang Food Court,
34000 Taiping, Perak.

Yong Tau Foo

Unlike the more famous Chinese counterpart of the dish, the Yong Tau Foo that Taiping is famous for is of the Malay variety.

Head to Pusat Penjaja Taiping, also known as Bomba Food Court due to its proximity to Taiping’s fire station, and you will find a long row of Yong Tau Foo vendors, each claiming to be the original one.

Nobody knows how so many Yong Tau Foo stalls came to be under one roof but each one makes their own mark with their distinctly different sauces.

Also try the Sotong Kangkung, which, in case you haven’t guessed, features brined squid on a copious amount of water spinach lathered with a thick nutty sauce. Yum!

Taiping Hawker Centre
Jalan Tupai,
34000 Taiping, Perak.

Cendol

A trip to Taiping is not complete without digging into an ice cold bowl of cendol. This crowd favourite even played a big role in igniting a small, silent row in the town once.

Choose between forerunner Ansari Famous Cendol and younger contender Bismillah Cendol for a bowl (or more) of coconut milk goodness, palm sugar syrup, green jelly, kidney beans and grilled glutinous rice – yes, grilled.

Ansari Famous Cendol
92, Jalan Barrack,
34000 Taiping,
Perak.

Bismillah Cendol
233, Jalan Barrack,
34000 Taiping,
Perak.

Mee Udang

The Mee Udang in the Kuala Sepetang part of Taiping is renowned for using freshly caught prawns in this delicacy. Although it is a bit of a drive from downtown Taiping, locals and tourists alike make the pilgrimage whenever possible to get a taste of the decadent broth and the big meaty prawns. As you should too.

Restoran Mee Udang Mak Jah
Kampung Menteri,
34650 Kuala Sepetang,
Perak.

This article first appeared in uppre.com