Rating: 8 / 10
Heritage buildings are in short supply in Asia as the cost of keeping up repairs outweights the temptation to knock them down and replace them with soulless concrete boxes. Georgetown Penang is a fine example of an area where they decided to protect the old houses and restore rather than remove. Taiping is another spot where walking down the small central drag will thrust you back a hundred years.
Along with the old storefronts, another tradition that has been kept alive is that of the Chicken Chop. Yut Sun has been belting out pork-free food for the locals and tourists for decades. A step into this oasis of calm is a fitting stop on anyones itinerary.
You'd be hard pressed to imagine anything has been done to the decor here other than a splash of paint. The old skool vibe is definitely conducive to those who revel in nostalgia.
I went for the Chicken Chop and a glass of ice coffee. The fan above laboured to cut the intensely humid air, my skin perspiring like a bear trapped in a sauna. After more than two months of delicious Malay, Chinese and Indian fare I was looking forward to a collaboration between Hainanese and British food.
At it's essence this was filed under "Comfort Food". A dish that ate suprisingly well and held up to scrutiny. The batter was nicely browned, the chicken still moist, the potato's perfect for soaking up that brown gravy and the ice-coffee brought the temperature down a notch.
Sitting by the large open doorway, I ate my food watching the occasional scooter glide by in this cosy, sleepy town. Whilst I gather that the spot is a fan favourite with local tourists, I doubt many foreigners will make the stop at Yut Sun on their journey through Taiping, but that is ultimately to their detriment.
To be able to experience the past in such surroundings is something we all should savour.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"