Malaysian Food · September 10, 2021

ngar choi gai sar hor fun feature

Ngar Choi Gai Sar Hor Fun: Ipoh’s Golden Triangle

Ngar Choi Gai Sar Hor Fun: Ipoh's Golden Triangle

Ngar Choi Gai Sar Hor Fun (芽菜鸡沙河粉), an iconic dish hailing from the vibrant city of Ipoh in Perak, Malaysia, has captivated the taste buds of locals and visitors alike. This delightful combination of poached chicken, blanched bean sprouts, and flat rice noodles has a fascinating history and owes its fame to the city’s rich heritage and geographical advantages.

Ipoh, often referred to as “The Town Built on Tin,” gained prominence for its flourishing tin industry. During the British colonial era, the city attracted a wave of immigrants from Guangdong and Hakka provinces, who flocked to the tin mines. Over time, these homesick settlers started producing flat rice noodles, known as Sar Hor Fun, originating from Shahe, Guangdong. The name “Sar Hor Fun” pays homage to its place of origin. This delicious dish is traditionally served in a fragrant clear soup.

Ipoh’s geographical location, nestled amidst the Banjaran Titiwangsa mountain range, provides it with an abundance of limestone. This natural resource contributes to the unique characteristics of the local cuisine. The mineral-rich groundwater, known for its high alkali content, imparts exceptional smoothness and tenderness to the rice noodles made in Ipoh. Additionally, the locally-grown bean sprouts, nurtured by the mineral-rich spring water, boast a remarkable crunch and succulence. These bean sprouts are blanched for a brief moment, then enhanced with sesame oil, soy sauce, and a touch of white pepper for an added kick.

The poached chicken, also known as “white cut chicken (白切鸡),” is reminiscent of the famous Hainanese chicken rice. This component of the dish undergoes a meticulous process to ensure its juiciness and tenderness. The chicken is first salted, then gently poached in hot water until perfectly cooked. A quick plunge into cold water halts the cooking process, preserving its delicate texture. The chicken is then lightly coated with sesame oil and air-dried until it is ready to be sliced. Before serving, a special sauce is drizzled over the chicken, imparting a burst of flavour.

In modern times, Ngar Choi Gai Sar Hor Fun has evolved to be commonly served alongside Hainanese chicken rice, accompanied by an array of delectable side dishes. Meatballs, fish balls, dumplings, braised chicken feet, mushrooms, and more complement this harmonious culinary experience, offering a diverse range of textures and flavours.

Ngar Choi Gai Sar Hor Fun represents the perfect harmony of flavours and textures that epitomise the culinary wonders of Ipoh. Its history intertwined with the tin mining heritage, the geographical advantages that enhance the quality of its ingredients, and the meticulous preparation techniques have made it a trio of dishes that should not be missed.