Eating poached/steamed chicken in Ipoh is a must for Jien and I – because it tastes more superior that what you can get in KL, I feel. Some of my followers told me to try Sam Ma Chicken Rice, citing it to be a local’s favourite when it comes to eating Ipoh “nga choy kai”.
We finally visited the restaurant a couple of weeks back with our friends during our short trip to Ipoh over the weekend. Sam Ma Chicken Rice is located in Ipoh Garden and the place was surprisingly quiet when we arrived close to noon. I’m not sure if it’s due to the cut-down of travelling due to the aggressively spreading virus but I’ll take it as a bonus since we had almost the whole restaurant to ourselves.
The good thing about travelling with friends is you get to try more – we ordered half a portion of regular poached chicken (RM22 – half, RM42 whole) and another half portion of poached kampung chicken (RM32 – half, RM60 – whole) to compare. Our friends also added a portion of chicken innards into the mix, with Jien and I stayed away from lol.
I found the poached regular chicken just alright; the sauce is darker than I’d expected and not as fragrant from sesame oil compared to the one at Cowan Street. We all agreed that the kampung chicken is better as the meat has a smoother and firmer texture.
I usually opt for hor fun soup (RM1.90 per bowl) when eating poached chicken and Sam Ma’s version is decent (smooth) enough to go with the protein available. Our friends who ordered a portion of rice (RM1.20) had no complains – though I was told it’s not rice cooked in chicken stock and oil, but more of garlic rice. The blanched beansprouts are plump and crunchy, while the lettuce is pretty ordinary so I wouldn’t bother ordering that next time.
Overall, I find the poached chicken quite decent at Sam Ma, but still slightly lacking compared to the one at Cowan Street. It is definitely tastier than the commercialised options like Lou Wong (though Jien disagrees as he likes Lou Wong regardless), so Sam Ma Chicken Rice will be my go-to spot for poached chicken since Cowan Street’s version isn’t always open.
Food: 6.5/10 (non-halal)
Verdict: Go for the poached kampung chicken instead.
Sam Ma Chicken Rice
No.3, Jalan S. A. Lingam,
Taman Ipoh Selatan,
Tel: 017-756 8562
Business hours: 11am till 3pm, 6pm till 9pm