Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Singapore based personal blog of true stories by johorkaki@gmail about best food, people & places around the world

Friday, 8 June 2018

Ipoh's Nasi Ganja Legend - Yong Suan Nasi Kandar

Ipoh has a famous nasi kandar stall in Yong Suan coffee shop which is so addictive that its fans called it Nasi Ganja or rice with cannabis.

Yong Suan kopitiam is always fully packed during lunch time - there are only the drinks stall and the nasi kandar stall which registered name is "Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah". Everyone just knows this stall as Yong Suan Nasi Kandar or Nasi Ganja Ipoh.

Many customers just pull up along Jalan Yang Kalsom in their cars or motorbikes and take away standard RM5 packets of rice, two curries, chutney, fried chicken, salted egg and achar cucumber wrapped in newspaper lined with plastic.

The queue at the stall are take away customers. If you are eating in, just find yourself a seat - friendly table sharing is the norm in Ipoh (all over in Malaysia, actually). Your orders will be taken and you will be served at your table.

Encik Mohd's grandfather who hailed from Tamil Naidu in India founded the stall in 1955. The stall still uses the original heavy copper pots to boil their white rice.

Nasi kandar is not a very pretty dish - if food was judged by whether it was Instagrammable or not, nasi kandar will be one of the dishes that will be extinct.

At Yong Suan, the standard RM5 serving consists of a mound of white rice, casually splashed with two types of curry, a dollop of coconut chutney, a piece of fried spiced chicken, half a salted egg yolk and some achar (crunchy pickled cucumber).

There is no ganja (cannabis) or any illegal drug in it, but the addictive effect is the same. It's a nickname given by an unknown over exuberant customer decades ago and it had caught on since.

There are plenty of add ons like curry beef, lamb, fish, vegetables etc.

But, in my opinion, the ganja is in that basic RM5 serving. The rest are quite distracting and not very memorable. If you must have more, I suggest another piece of fried ayam merah.

The two curries consists of one orangey watery one and a red one thick like a sauce. The chutney is thick, soft and grainy with grated coconut. The curries' spiciness level was mild. When mixed thoroughly with the white rice, it tasted moderately savoury sweet with some spiciness.

The staff were not very responsive to requests to banjir or flood the rice with curry 😂

Mashing in the salted egg added another layer of mild savouriness. The salted egg is the mildly salty, waxy yolk kind which I like.

The large piece of chicken was marinated with a red seasoning and fried to a crisp outside. The crisp outside was savoury sweet with a bit of subtle spicy notes. Inside, the chicken still had some moistness and a bit of natural fresh chicken sweetness. It was really tasty.

👉 Just a humble staple of rice, curries, chutney and a piece of fried chicken but Yong Suan Nasi Kandar packs in the crowds daily and is famous well beyond little Ipoh town. It's taste is not the mind bending kind of ganja but the love sick kind of longing which fans feel when they haven't tasted it for a long while. One of the Must have places in any foodie itinerary to Ipoh.

The name Nasi Ganja is not to entice you to try it but to warn you of the consequence 😂

Restaurant name: Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah
Address2, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, Ipoh, Perak
GPS4°35'33.9"N 101°05'04.5"E | 4.592742, 101.084585
Tel: 05 254 4316
Hours: 9:30am - 6:00pm


Date visited: 6 Sep 2017, 6 Jun 2018

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