Happy New Year 2010 everyone! Overall, 2009 was quite a sad year for the world. Let’s hope 2010 will be a good one!
Mention Bidor and food like duck thigh noodle, chicken biscuit (Kai Jai Peng) and ‘Sat Kei Ma‘ (squarish, sweet dessert made of flour and chicken eggs) immediately come to mind. For frequent travelers along the North-South Expressway between Ipoh or Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Bidor is surely a familiar town.
The last time I drove back to Penang from KL, I decided to make a stop at Bidor’s famous Pun Chun Restaurant for dinner. Instead of trying to finish the journey as fast as possible, sometimes it is nice to visit some small towns along the way, have some food and feel replenished to continue.
Pun Chun was very easy to find because it is located along Bidor’s main street, which is only about 5-10 minutes’ drive from Bidor Toll exit. Upon reaching the restaurant we were shocked to see the number of people eating at the restaurant, what a buzz!
We finally found a table and made our orders but then we were told that we had to wait at least 30 minutes due to the sheer number of customers at that time. Well, I didn’t really mind actually because it would give me some time to nose around the restaurant and observe their operation lol.
A lady busy blanching noodles for orders that came in non-stop.
To complete the order, individual double-boiled duck thighs are taken from a huge cooker and served together. Double boiling ensures that no water loss will occur and it also locks in the flavor and essence of the ingredients.
A closer look at the steaming hot containers of duck thighs.
And this is the famous ‘Ngap Pei Meen‘ (duck thigh noodles). Although the noodles look dry, it was actually still quite springy and tasted not bad at all. Each plate costs RM5-6 if I remember correctly lol.
As good as the wantan noodles could be, the herbal duck drumstick is the ultimate reason for Ngap Pei Meen’s tastiness. I remembered the first duck thigh noodles I had when I was small, it had a very strong herbal taste – so strong the broth was actually bitter instead. After that experience I never dared to touch any duck thigh noodles anymore.
But Pun Chun’s version changed my mind, the broth was a little sweet, savoury and fragrant with the whiff of herbs (dried longan, wolfberries) smell – which I feel was very acceptable even for those who dislike herb tasting food.
Because of the double boiling, the drumstick’s flesh was also fall-off-the-bone soft in addition to its smoothness and tenderness.
For the soupy version, they simply pour the whole steaming container of duck thigh with its herbal broth into a bowl of already-blanched wantan noodles. Somehow the herbal broth tasted a little diluted if taken this way, making it less tastier if compared to the dry version.
If you are wondering, me and my friend had 2 bowls each – both the dry and soup version lol. We thought since we came all the way, what the heck why not try all.
One of the many Pun Chun’s colorful Chinese logo.
Along the street where Pun Chun is located at, there are many fruit stalls with Petai (stink beans) being the majority. Anyway, I was quite happy with the duck thigh noodles dished out by Pun Chun. But according to some of my friends who have eaten there many years ago, the quality has dropped.
This made me wonder, if the food is already good before the quality went down, I can only imagine how great it was back in the years. I think the key is to try these rare and traditional foods as quick as you can to capture its taste at the possible best. Do you agree?
Address: 38 & 40, Jalan Besar, 35500 Bidor, Perak.
Telephone: 05 4341554, 05-4341562
GPS Coordinates: N4 06.699 E101 17.259 (malfreemaps)