Nestled in the historical town of Ipoh, sits a small traditional restaurant along Jalan Dato Tahwil Azar (Osborne Street) that serves one of the best Hainanese Chicken Chop. At first glance, the shop does not attract your attention but don’t be fooled by its outlook. For decades, they have been pampering the taste buds of Ipoh Mali for generations. I first heard about this restaurant from our baby boomer family member who is an avid foodie, who used to come here when he was just a child. It’s a delight for a youngster like me to see how the restaurant has been holding up. Decked with marble tables and tiled walls, it was a trip back to the 70s. Cathay Restaurant offers Hainanese chops, steamed bread, French toast, half boiled eggs, Chinese dishes with rice, coffee and tea. There are also food stalls which are open for breakfast. Surrounding the restaurant are office blocks, and knew that we had to beat the lunch crowd.
What is Nasi Ganja all about? For the unordained; Ganja is the Malay word for Cannabis! Goodness, will I be addicted to it? Is it legal?? These are some of the conversations overheard when one mentions this. However, there is no illegal substance used in the recipe (phew). The term was coined as the proprietor of Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah’s built up a slew of die-hard fans, claiming his cooking is so tasty that it is as addictive as ‘ganja’ or cannabis. Unfortunately (or fortunately to some) there are those who claim that after a full Nasi Ganja meal, you will feel sleepy akin to a trans like state. Truth is, who doesn’t after a satisfying meal?
Mee Goreng Mamak or in proper English, Fried Noodle Mamak Style originated from the Indian Muslim community in Malaysia. It is one of the most commonly loved hawker fare as it contains prawns, fish cakes, fried beancurd, tomatoes, eggs, and spices; a filling spice laden meal for anytime of day! Cathay’s version comes with the whole plethora of Mamak goodness; a healthy dose of bean sprouts, chopped scallions, fritters, dried beancurd, and potatoes all cooked to moistilicious (is there is such a word) perfection intertwined with yellow noodles and lots of egg – scrumptious!