[Ipoh, Malaysia] We know that the restaurant is popular when they are so many shops with similar names (or “imitations”) around and one such example is Tuck Kee 德记.
With 3 outlets in the vicinity, the original shop Restoran Tuck Kee 怡保德记 started out in 1963 whereas Sun Tuck Kee 新德记炒粉小食店 was rumoured to be opened by one of their relatives 2 doors away.
As for Kedai Makan Tuck Kee 德记炒粉店, it is just 100 metres away along Jalan Theatre, and can be confusing for first timers visiting Ipoh.
Restoran Tuck Kee is located along Jalan Yau Tet Shin, the famed food street offering some of the local favourites such as Steam Chicken with Beansprouts and beancurd by Funny Mountain.
Opened at 5pm daily, the half-a-century old restaurant in a rustic coffeeshop setting is filled with vintage floor tiles, old-school ceramic walls, round tables and plastic chairs.
There’s a perpetual crowd at any time of the day, especially when it opens till 2am daily.
The menu is concise and straightforward, with photos, English and Chinese words to aid in ordering.
Ordering is done via an order chit and payment can be made before or after the meal after submitting to the staff .
Signature items on the menu include the War Tan Hor Fun (Small RM7, SGD2.35/ Medium RM13, SGD4.30/ Large RM16, SGD5.30), Yu Kong Hor (Small RM8, SGD2.70/ Medium RM13, SGD4.30/ Large RM17, SGD5.70), Braised Chicken Feet (Small RM6, SGD2/ Medium RM8, SGD2.70/ Large RM11, SGD3.70) and Baby Octopus in Soy Sauce (RM18, SGD6).
The crowd pleaser is definitely the Yu Kong Hor (Small RM8, SGD2.70/ Medium RM13, SGD4.30/ Large RM17, SGD5.70) also known as Moonlight Hor Fun due to the raw egg yolk that resembled a full moon against the night sky, and in this case on top of the dark hor fun.
The Hor Fun is stir fried in savory- sweet dark soy sauce to add smokiness and distinctive “wok-hei” to the otherwise bland rice noodles, before adding in lard, pork slices and vegetables.
Till today, each plate of Hor Fun (Flat Rice Noodles) is prepared and stir-fried individually because the owner believes in the time, effort and strength of fire needed to create each masterpiece.
So be prepared to wait a little longer to appreciate the effort put into each individual plate.
Unlike other hor funs that I had tasted before, it retains its springy, soft and smooth texture without turning dry thanks to the spring water in the limestone hills in Ipoh that is known for being rich in minerals.
Break the raw egg yolk and give it a good mix, which amplify the smooth texture of the Hor Fun that glides down my throat easily.
Another bestseller is the War Tan Hor Fun (Small RM7, SGD2.35/ Medium RM13, SGD4.30/ Large RM16, SGD5.30) also known as Egg Hor Fun is a soup version of the flat rice noodles.
Comes with shrimps, pork slices, pieces of lard and vegetables, the raw egg is cracked over the soupy Hor Fun to create a thicker texture.
No doubt that the gravy is fragrant and comforting, the hor fun lacks the “wok-hei” in this case.
Apart from their signature Hor Fun, side dishes such as Bean Sprout (Small RM4, SGD1.35/ Medium RM5, SGD1.70/ Large RM6, SGD2), Braised Chicken Feet (Small RM6, SGD2/ Medium RM8, SGD2.70/ Large RM11, SGD3.70) and Baby Octopus in Soy Sauce (RM18, SGD6) are available.
While contemplating which side dish to order, the Baby Octopus in Soy Sauce (RM18, SGD6) seems like a popular choice there.
The baby octopus were first steamed before drizzling shallot oil, fried garlic and spring onion on it.
Surprisingly, the texture of the baby octopus was extremely soft and crunchy, which retained the freshness of the seafood.
Coupled with aromatic shallot oil and umami fried garlic, this dish is simple, but yet delicious.
Restoran Tuck Kee does live up to its name for serving wholesome, comforting and sedap Hor Fun that Ipohans are always proud of and made my trip to Ipoh so memorable.
Restoran Tuck Kee 德记茶餐室
No61, Jalan Yau Tet Shin, Ipoh, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 5pm – 2am (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.