One of the biggest reasons to come to Ipoh is to experience its culture of inexpensive and delicious food and coffee. One of Malaysia's best food cities, one could get a tasty, local meal for the pocket change that would buy a package of airport peanuts in Europe. Although the influence of Chinese and Indian food is apparent both in Ipoh and Malaysia at large, Ipoh has a culinary heritage that is uniquely its own.
Ipoh can be depended on for a great variety of dishes, including nasi kandar, beansprout chicken, salt-baked chicken, and a local specialty known as white coffee. Nasi kandar is a curried rice dish with a meat side of some sort (usually chicken or beef). Traditionally a staple of food stalls, there are a number of restaurants, including some chains, that serve it in Ipoh; just look for “nasi kandar” in the restaurant's name. If you had to pick a dish synonymous with Ipoh, it'd be the beansprout chicken, which is best had from neighboring rivals, Lou Wong and Onn Kee on Jalan Yau Tet Shin. As far as which is better, it's up to you; we suggest trying Cowan Street Ayam Tauge & Koitiau for a less touristy experience. Another popular Ipoh dish is the salt-baked chicken, made famous by Aun Kheng Lim, which is located on Jalan Theatre. Others have similar recipes, but these are the innovators; not that you'll be able to tell from the simple storefront and corner lot. Finally, Ipoh's most widely known contribution is on the coffee front, with its white coffee. Made from roasting coffee beans with palm oil margarine, it has a more subdued taste than coffee usually has. With more than a dozen locations around the city, coffee shops that serve white coffee are common, but Nam Heong, Kong Heng, and Sin Yoon Loong are the prime purveyors of this specialty (and are all located near each other on Jalan Bandar Timah).
If you're looking for certain areas where there are a range of options, Jalan Bandar Timah and Jalan Theatre, which bookend the State Mosque to the east and west, are home to a variety of shops that will get you an inexpensive bite without getting too far from the sights. Otherwise, there are food courts and hawker stalls on Lengkok Canning, as well as the Pasar Malam night markets, which vary their location depending on the night.
Lastly, be sure to pick up some of the locally grown pomelo fruit, a massive citrus fruit that has a significant rind. If you have any further curiosity, consult our individual cuisine pages or contact our embark community.