Tasting Ipoh’s Signature Dish the Tauge Ayam | Malaysia

Also known as "Bean Sprouts Chicken", Ipoh's famed "Tauge Ayam" is another lip-smacking draw of this city other than the famed “Ipoh White Coffee” and other local dishes such as "Sar Hor Fun", "Hor Hee", "Nga Choi Kay" and "Hakka Mee". This mouthwatering dish is composed of steamed chicken topped with sliced onion leeks that comes with a side dish set of bean sprouts, flat noodle soup, rice and pork barbecue (char siew).

Following the usual traveler’s habit of discovering the local cuisine first and foremost upon arriving in a new city, we rolled into the area of Jalan Yau Tet Shin—a known hawker street in Ipoh—to crave for what Ipoh’s gastronomic culture can offer.

Upon stepping out of our bus, I immediately saw the row of different restaurants all marketing their versions of Tauge Ayam. Each seem to follow a format of <name of the restaurant> + Tauge Ayam. So anywhere you end up taking a seat, you’re sure not to escape the savory spell of Ipoh’s signature dish.

Our group comprising of fellow travel writers and vloggers along with our hosts from Stratworks and Cebu Pacific Air and our tour guide, occupied two tables inside Restoran Onn Kee Tauge Ayam—said to be the best one in the neighborhood.  

The vibe of Onn Kee reminds me of the modest joints in Binondo—or what you can describe as typical Chinese restaurant—with an open air dining so adjacent to the kitchen you could hear every cook yelling commands to each other.  

The best part about it is watching the cook chopped the fresh chicken, red chilies, scallions and other meat and vegetables right in front of us with gusto. At each drop of the dicing knife, we could smell the aroma emitting from the various ingredients.

As if on cue, the staff started serving various side dishes before finally bringing the much-raved Tauge Ayam (Bean Sprouts Chicken) filling the oblong-shaped melamine plates with an appearance of tastiness and tenderness. 

Tauge Ayam is basically a version of Hainanese Chicken made more flavorful through added twists from generations of Ipoh's best kitchen masters. It is served with hacked chicken parts of mostly breast and thigh over a thick sauce, topped with chopped scallions and chilies and paired with crunchy bean sprouts.

While the main star of our table was the Tauge Ayam, the other supporting dishes like the Sar Hor Fun (flat noodles), Pork Char Siew, Pork and Fish Balls and Ipoh Egg Tart didn't disappoint.

Tauge Ayam is a simple chicken dish and while it won’t become my go-to food when craving for some of Ipoh’s culinary offerings (my money would be on the Pork Char Siew), it afforded me with another reason to like Chicken Hainanese—which I used to find as too bland for my taste—at least with Ipoh’s version of the Tauge Ayam, there’s enough flavor to go around satisfying my taste buds.