Saturday, September 3, 2011

Malaysia Food Blog - Mix Fruit Ice (杂果雪) @ Ipoh's Dessert Street (Tong Sui Kai 糖水街)

Location: Ipoh, Perak.

You may have seen shaved ice (刨冰) elsewhere, but where else could you find one with so much fruity goodness, topped with a scoop of ice-cream to ward off the hot Malaysian sun?

Going back to Ipoh to spend my holidays does lead me a walk down memory lane. I recall my schooling days, when I used to spend my time with my friends from the Red Crescent Society to have a refreshing cup of drink or a bowl of shaved ice right after an afternoon march under the hot blistering sun. It was a blessing from Heaven to dip into the coolness under the shades of the stalls.

I haven't been back there after my adventuring days with the club ended and I pursued my career and life elsewhere from Ipoh, and I never thought I will miss it so much until I revisited the stalls during these festive holidays. I got to know that the usual stall we visited is no more, but the familiar bowl of shaved ice is still sold by the stalls along the street locally known for its dessert - Dessert Street a.k.a. Tong Sui Kai (Cantonese for 糖水街, Mandarin: táng shuǐ jiē).

The Bowl

Whoever hasn't tried out shaved ice in Malaysia, everyone's favorite bowl under the sun? Then again, how many of us get to taste one in which fruits are added to the coolness of the ice flowing down your throat? And that, is Mix Fruit Ice (杂果雪, Mandarin: zá guǒ xuě, Cantonese: zap gor sooit), a blessing under our hot Malaysian weather.

You will be surprised by how generous they are with the fruits. You get watermelon scooped into ball form, slices of jackfruit, lychee and papaya. Did I left any out...? Oh yes, there are Leong Fun (凉粉) and red beans hidden underneath the mountain of ice as well. Different stalls may offer different ingredients to go with, but these are generally there with your bowl of Mix Fruit Ice.

I understand from friends who are outstation that Mix Fruit Ice exists in other locations, but still none as generous with fruits as those in Tong Sui Kai. A bowl of Mix Fruit Ice is around RM4.00, a far cry from my teenage years, which I remembered as around RM2.00. I remembered that whenever I ordered one in those bygone years, it was to celebrate or commemorate something, since it definitely drain my meager pocket money very quickly.

Shaved ice, nuff' said... Red syrup, known locally as 红糖 (literally Red Sugar, Mandarin: hóng táng) decorates the bowl with sweet delight. If you are health conscious, try ask for brown sugar, or 黄糖 (Mandarin: huáng táng) in the stead of red syrup.

You could try out different stalls there. I am not recommending any particular one, but just in case you aren't sure whether they sell Mix Fruit Ice, look for the picture or word like the 4th one from the left. The English word may not be the same, and it may not even be there; if you are not sure, remember to ask...

Most probably this bowl will not be in the list of food an Ipoh guy will bring you to (at least it is not on mine...), not because it is not nice, but because we have taken this for granted. You may not even find this is most shops in Ipoh, at least none could offer as much as those in the stalls of Dessert Street, the famous Tong Sui Kai. If you are in Ipoh any other time, do try this out, whether you are sheltering from the hot glaring sun, or passing by in an equally hot night.

Suitable for:            Nothing beats a gathering here, be it with friends or with family. An inexpensive alternative for a romantic duo to share the same bowl of cool shaved ice as well
Cost:                             Affordable; you could get it less than RM5

Address:                     Jalan Sultan Ekram, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak.
                                        Truth is, I just copied the above address from Google Map. I don't think the address will do any good anyway, since nobody is going to mail to these stalls. If you want to know how to get to there, just ask any locals there. As them how to get to Sam Tet primary school's stalls, and everyone will know where you want to go. Here is a map with directions from the roundabout in the city, assuming that you start out from there.

Operating hours:   Depends on which stall you are visiting; stalls are there for your evening tea, and more opened after 7p.m. right until the dead of night.
Parking:                    Parking during weekends and holidays are problematic. The parking lot around the corner are usually packed, so you may want to park further away at the parking spots along the road, which is not charged after 6p.m. It can be quite dark in some areas, and this is an area filled with nightclubs, despite the fact that it is located near a school, so you will want to be careful here.


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