Ipoh chee cheong fun in a PJ cafe

Eu Hooi-Khaw

Ipoh-style cheong fun with minced chicken, brown mushroom sauce and assorted fried mushrooms. – The Malaysian Insight pic, June 3, 2023.

THE much-loved Ipoh Canning Garden chee cheong fun has found a nice, new home in Ban Ke Cafe in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.

This style of chee cheong fun with a mushroom sauce has found favour with PJ folks since 1984, when it was sold at a stall in a coffee shop at the morning market in SS2.

At Ban Ke Cafe, this noodle dish has been dressed up a bit, but the original flavours remain. There’s no compromise on the smooth texture of the chee cheong fun as the supply comes directly daily from Ipoh.

We had the mushroom cheong fun, with a minced chicken brown sauce cooked with fresh shiitake mushrooms. Deep-fried enoki and oyster mushrooms topped the noodles, which had a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds and pickled green chillies on the side.

Altogether it was flavourful, wholesome chee cheong fun, with a tangy lift from the green chillies. I liked the crunch of the deep-fried mushrooms too. Minced chicken is used for the sauce as this is a pork-free cafe.

The steamed prawn cheong fun comes with dried shrimp sambal and prawns. It was served with crispy fu chuk that you could dip into the curry sauce. The curry sauce was spicy and had oomph.

Steamed prawn curry cheong fun. – The Malaysian Insight pic, June 3, 2023.

Jimmy Fong, who runs Ban Ke Cafe with his partner Terence Tai, is from Ipoh. His parents and his uncle began selling chee cheong fun in their hometown in 1964. They opened a stall in the SS2 coffee shop and the stall is still there.

There is more than chee cheong fun on the cafe menu. I liked the pesto pasta.

Fragrant and rich pesto with pine nuts. – The Malaysian Insight pic, June 3, 2023.

The al dente spaghetti was doused in an aromatic pesto rich with pine nuts, fresh Italian basil and garlic. The pasta was finished with cherry tomatoes and mushrooms and a sprinkling of crushed pine nuts and chilli flakes.

The tom yam seafood pasta more than passed muster, with its expected flavours of hot and sour that were well balanced in the sauce scented with lemongrass and other herbs and flavoured with black mussels, squid and prawns.

Hour and sour seafood tom yam pasta. – The Malaysian Insight pic, June 3, 2023.

The pan-seared chicken chop is a signature dish. We shared a boneless chicken thigh with a crisp skin and moist meat. It went well with the black pepper sauce. On the plate too were buttery mashed potatoes and salad. You could also have mushroom sauce with the chicken chop.

The salted egg fried chicken also caught our fancy.  The chicken was dipped in a salted egg yolk batter and deep-fried till crunchy. It was served with a lightly sweet and creamy salted egg sauce. Chips and a salad completed the dish.

Crunchy, fried chccken chop, with a salted egg sauce and salad. – The Malaysian Insight pic, June 3, 2023.

Small bites were on the menu, and we went for the onion rings, Szechuan fried chicken wings and vegetable spring rolls.

The fried chicken wings were yummy, as were the onion rings with a crispy batter.

The chee cheong fun dishes were RM16 each, pan-seared chicken chop RM25, pesto pasta RM20, chicken wings RM18, spring rolls and onion rings RM12.

Ban Ke Cafe is at Happy Mansion, BG-6 Block B, Jalan 17/13, Petaling Jaya. For enquiries, call 012-617 7126. – June 3, 2023.

* Eu Hooi-Khaw has been writing about food for the longest time, covering all aspects, from restaurant reviews to cooking and recipes, as well as the healthy side of it. She has written for major newspapers and magazines, published the cookbook Fresh Ingredients, and also writes for her website hooikhawandsu.com.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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