Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken
Nga Choi Gai or Bean Sprouts Chicken (芽菜鸡), is one of the old-school dishes that come to mind at the mention of Ipoh’s famous cuisine. Now, you can savour the authentic tastes of Ipoh at Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken (怡保老友芽菜雞).
My first visit to the restaurant was in April as an invited tasting. Subsequently, I came back again twice to try the food myself before writing this review.
The must try dish of Lou Yau is definitely the boiled kampong chicken ($9.50 for 2, $19.90 for half, $39.90 for whole). Lou Yau uses free-range kampong chickens and the choicest birds are freshly transported to Lou Yau. The chicken are first boiled in broth with generous servings of herbs and spices to increase the moistness of the meat.
To cook it, the chickens are boiled in a gentle heat that keeps the meat tender before being submerged in an ice bath, which seals in the juices and gives the skin a glossy sheen. The expert preparation of the kampong chickens in specially concocted sauce is what makes the meat, including the breast, tender and succulent and the skin glisten.
You can pair your kampong chicken with chicken rice or Ipoh hor fun. The silky rice noodles is light but flavourful. It sits in a broth made from hours of boiling pork bones, old mother hen, dried sole fish, dried shrimps, yellow beans and other ingredients. It was more tasty during my first meal here. But on subsequent visits, I find the broth became more bland. Forget about the dry version. Soup/Dry $1.60, With Chicken and Prawn (Soup/Dry) $5.50, With Chicken (Soup/Dry) $4.50, With Yong Tau Foo (Soup/Dry) $5, With Braised Meat and Beancurd (Soup/Dry) $4.50
Lou Yau’s bean sprouts (Small $3, Large $5) is blanched and bathed in a savoury sauce, giving it a good crunch on all my visits. It is said that the bean sprouts is grown using the mineral-rich spring water in its ‘hometown’ of Ipoh. Only the best stalks make the final cut to be transported fresh to Lou Yau in Singapore. It gives a beautiful contrast against the tenderness of the boiled kampong chicken.
Besides Lou Yau’s signature kampong chicken and crunchy bean sprouts, there are also delicious side dishes such as Braised Chicken Feet ($4.50), Cold Tofu with Dried Shrimps ($4.50) and Saito Fishball Soup ($5/6 pcs), amongst others. For a delightfully sweet finish to a satisfying meal, try the Ipoh desserts like Ipoh Herbal Tea ($2.50) or Luo Han Guo Longan Tea ($2.50).
One Person Hor Fun Set comes with Hor Fun, Steamed Chicken and Bean Sprouts. Price: $6.90
One Person Chicken Rice Set comes with Chicken Rice, Steamed Chicken and Bean Sprouts. Price: $6.50
Personally, I quite enjoy the food at Ipoh Lou Yau. My only gripe is that it is quite expensive with the portion given.
Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken (怡保老友芽菜雞)
Address: #B1-52, Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm
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