Monday, 3 February 2014

Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant @ Bidor

With Chinese New Year (CNY) around the corner, it's that time of the year to begin our yearly ritual of "balik kampung" (a massive exodus to our hometowns during festive seasons like CNY).

And, in my case, my yearly exodus begins with a stopover at Bidor, Perak, enroute to Ipoh.  Many tourists, as well as commuters going north, throng to Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant @ Bidor to get their famed chicken biscuits and duck noodles.

Although I won't attest that the food served here is good, I would still stopover with my family as it has become a yearly ritual for us each time we return home for CNY.  My stopover is mainly for 2 reasons:

1.  To eat their duck noodles.
2.  To buy my favourite "kuih kapit" with pork floss and other snacks.

The Fried "Wu Kok" (taro or yam puffs) @ RM2 a piece is no where near good.  You can see from the pic above that the crust is thick, not flaky and crispy at all.  They boast of 100% yam filling but it does not look like that to me as I tasted more flour than yam (maybe because it was CNY?).  We can find way better yam puffs in KL and Ipoh (though my son likes the one in Bidor for some reason). 

I really don't understand how the stall owner can sell trays after trays of this, probably because people who patronise this place are mainly "tourists" from out of town.  But I must say, that many, many years ago, the "wu kok" tasted much better than they are now.

Their "Char Siew" (barbequed pork) Wantan Mee @ RM5.80 is nothing like the ones we get in Kuala Lumpur (KL).  The house made wantan mee is quite springy but the black sauce is lacking in flavour and under salted for some people.  The char siew is like the pinkish ones we buy from our neighbourhood markets.  The wantans, with pork and prawn fillings, were quite plump and tasted just so-so (had better ones than these before).  At RM5.80 a  plate, it's even pricier than KL, so I guess you can say that this price is to take 'advantage' of the "tourists" who pass by this place.

The Duck Noodles in Herbal Soup @ RM6.50 fared much better.  The herbal broth is quite light and not too salty and the herbs flavour is not too pungent.  The duck has been slow cooked and simmered in the broth to very tender, with the meat falling off the bones.  [#Tip: If you like to have the duck drumstick, you have to specify when ordering, otherwise they will give you some other cuts....and the drumstick will, of course, be pricier.]  This would appeal to those who like things soupy, light and subtle  in taste.  It's still the best thing here and a 'have to order' dish as the others are not good at all.

The food here is overrated and the quality/quantity has dropped/dwindled over the years as I do remember them tasting better than this.  One redemption is their black coffee....which is still thick and good!

So, if you want to stop by here, enroute north, to stretch your legs or for a coffee fix or a quick stop for breakfast/lunch, just remember to not have too high an expectation of what you are about to eat!

But, if you are like me, making a stop here means I can buy my favourite "kuih kapit" (Chinese love letters or folded wafers made from egg/coconut milk batter) with pork floss.

Kuih Kapit with Chicken Floss @ RM6 gets you 6 individually packed packets of 4 pcs each (which works out to be 25 cents a bite....quite a pricey bite, huh!).  The slightly sweet and crispy kuih kapit with the savoury pork floss filling, coupled with the fragrant toasted black sesame seeds, makes a 'dynamite' combination of flavours.

You can also buy their famed "kai chai paeng" (chicken biscuits) @ RM3.20 a packet for your own consumption or to give away to friends and colleagues (who crave them).  I don't know why they call it "kai chai paeng" when there is no chicken in it y'  The biscuit is just crispy, savoury in flavour and has a distinct fragrance to it (probably from the "nam yue" or fermented red bean curd and five-spice powder).

They have a variety of other snacks you can buy as well ranging from all types of biscuits, cuttlefish, pickles to "shat kek ma" (a squarish, sweet snack made from flour and eggs) and even Old Town White Coffee....and many more!

My Personal Opinion

Don't know what the hype is about this place as there's only one thing worth eating here, in my opinion, and it's the Duck Noodles.  And now with branches opened in Ara Damansara in Petaling Jaya, Kota Kemuning and Setia Alam in Shah Alam, you don't have to go all the way to Bidor to sample their noodles.

Likes:  Definitely the Herbal Duck Noodles and the various snacks you can buy!

Dislikes:  Rather pricey noodles for a small town like this and getting a table during the peak hours of the festive seasons/public holidays is not easy (what to do, that's the only time we throng to this place enroute to somewhere north).
Pun Chun Chicken Biscuits & Restaurant Sdn Bhd
38 & 40 Jalan Besar
35500 Bidor
Tel: 05-434 1554

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