From The Straits Times    |

Once overshadowed by major cities in Malaysia such as neighbouring Penang and Kula Lumpur, Ipoh is now a vibrant, artsy city decked out in hipster-fied cafes so hip it hurts. If you’re heading across the Causeway for a weekend getaway, there is no reason why you shouldn’t stop by the once-sleepy hood of Ipoh to embark on an epic café-hopping journey. We list the best 8 with the most gorgeous interiors and delicious grub.

Café De Eight

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Whilst situated away from the hubbub of hip square Old Town, the café is no less trendy. The design takes inspiration from Hollywood, so there is an art mural of a famous scene from Forrest Gump, movie posters and paintings that pay homage to classics.

But perhaps most eye-catching is the wall filled with multi-coloured pockets that allow you to post postcards that you purchase from the café to your friends and family.


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Food-wise, go for their signature pork burger, where a thick juicy fried pork cutlet is stacked between two fluffy charcoal buns. Also worth the calories are their over-the-top milkshakes, loaded with all sorts of sweets that make your teeth ache just looking at them.


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No 8 Jalan Koo Chong Kong

Hobo @ Ganlee & Co.

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There aren’t a lot of cafes where a tree greets you the moment you step inside but Hobo @ Ganlee & Co. is one of the few. Previously a store selling shoes, the space was turned into a quaint space exuding a warmth with its cheerful colour scheme, upcycled furniture and DIY touches that make for great Instagram-worthy shots.


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Their signature cold brews are served in medicine bottles. For bites, they serve a slew of usual café staples like French toast, pancakes and waffles.


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146 Brewster Road

Tittle Tattle Houzz

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Tittle Tattle is defined by a hodgepodge of furniture pieces, chalkboard surfaces clad in drawings, butterfly cut-outs on the wall, an entire corner plastered with comic strips, and tables made with crates. There is no well-defined theme, but that is perhaps what gives this café its charm and homey vibe.

The menu features a range of homey fare including pastas, tortillas and quiches. For desserts, go for their custard puffs, which feature a pillowy soft choux pastry with a lightly sweet filling and their lemon cheesecake, which was incredibly rich yet surprisingly refreshing.


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17 Jalan Medan Ipoh 3, Bandar Baru Medan

Burps and Giggles

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Mention cafes in Ipoh, and Burps and Giggles will probably be mentioned. The interiors are grimy and gritty in an artistic sort of way, with peeling away walls, unfinished surfaces decked out in larger than life murals that can only scream hipster. There are décor odds and ends such as an aluminium kettle hanging from the ceiling and bright and colourful party tassels.


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But their idiosyncratic design isn’t the only thing that’s drawing the crowds. Take a stab at their burgers, such as Jammy Burger, which comes with a juicy Angus beef patty. For something on the lighter side, try their savoury crepes, which has a thin, slightly crisp crepe stuffed with a selection of meats and slaws.  


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93 & 95 Jalan Sultan Yussuf

Lim Ko Pi

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Lim Ko Pi (which is hokkien for drinking coffee) serves up traditional coffee in old-school mugs that you can pair with sodapiah aka cream crackers, and toast that come with a side of kaya and butter or topped with half-boiled eggs. The café goes for traditional, bucking the trend of modern, hip cafes in town, and it does it well.


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The interiors follow the theme closely with marble table tops and wooden chairs of yesteryear set against tiled walls speckled prettily with lively Peranakan tiles. Other Instagrammable spots include a semi-outdoor space filled with daylight and verdant greenery.

10 Jalan Sultan Iskandar

Thumb’s Café

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Thumb’s Café feels like a kampong house with its wood panelled walls, zinc roof and lack of air conditioning. Inside, there are communal tables crafted from refurbished wood, whimsical, orb-shaped paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling, floral curtains, brick surfaces, vintage wares, and a medley of furniture pieces so you feel like you’re in someone’s home. There is a pretty open-air space with overhanging light bulbs, if you wish to dine outside.


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The halal café serves up a menu that features both western and local Malaysian fare. The former sees nosh like meatballs, fried chicken cutlets, and lamb chops, while the latter comprises food like nasi putih with butter chicken and mee udang.

133 Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil

Bits & Bobs

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Located right in the cluster of cafes that have flourished in Old Town Ipoh, Bits & Bobs is mainly known for their ice balls, which are basically ice chunks drizzled with syrup, or better known as the predecessors of ice kachang. Other old-school desserts include their ice cream potong (ice cream on a stick) and hong dao bing (an iced red bean drink). Tuck into your cool treats on old-school, single wooden plank chairs in front of the café.


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While it’s more of a dessert kiosk than a café, Bits & Bobs is jam-packed with all sorts of vintage novelties for sale. Visit the space if you’re up for a trip down memory lane. There are bikes for rent here as well, particularly useful if you’re thinking of a quicker way to traverse around the area.

99 Jalan Sultan Yusuff

Potpourri House Café

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Unfulfilled princess aspirations? The Potpourri House Café is your answer. The café is designed to look like a whimsical English cottage, with brightly lit interiors, floral prints, elegant chandeliers, metal lattice works painted white, brick walls and unassuming but comfortable furniture. Coiled around the ceiling are climbing plants that bring a touch of nature inside.


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The café is a great spot for high tea with their variety of teas and homemade cakes. Their high tea set for two comprises a dessert, sandwich and crostini of your choice. For something more filling their mains include smoked duck spaghetti, lamb rack and potpourri grilled chicken chop, which features a chef special marinade.


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2 Jalan Woodward