Missing Marbles extends the Burps and Giggles outlet further along Ipoh’s old town. The original signage from an old optical shop still graces the front window hinting at the décor inside, that is, a celebration of the past. Recycled everything, from tables to chairs to wall art and lamps demonstrate the infinite amount of creativity this team oozes. Who would ever think that old bicycle seats could make a fine collage? Well… they do!
Missing Marbles Back Entrance
Burps and Giggles offers primarily Western food with good coffee, some decadent desserts and waist expanding savouries. Missing Marbles fills in a ‘missing’ piece through the addition of local favourites.
We start with some refreshing drinks. (Beverages, but not food can be ordered across both outlets). Pineapple Mint (RM12+) is a cool mouthful of freshness. Sweet pineapple hits the taste buds first and bright mint lingers on the roof of the mouth after swallowing.
Soya Bean by Funny Mountain (RM3+) has a long tradition of celebrated popularity with even longer lines at a much-visited food stall in Ipoh. Missing Marbles obtains this beverage direct from the source. We enjoy the drink, finding it lightly sweet, not the overpowering sugar punch that some soya bean milks tend to be.
Ramen Hakata (RM18) can be ordered as normal or spicy. Hubby is shy of too much chili so we order the no-heat version. Lamb roulade is thinly sliced into the thick broth, which is packed with springy noodles, half soft-boiled egg, nori and spring onions. A side of spicy mustard greens can be eaten alone or piled on top. This very generous serving can easily be shared and we both think it’s delicious.
A huge bowl of Mee Siam (RM15) is a delectable bowl of slurpy rice vermicelli soaked in a fragrant spicy gravy. A prawn, egg, chives, fried tofu and crispy onions bulk up the plate. It’s on the sourish side and I think large enough to serve two or three. I’m on my own with this one though with hubby’s chili avoidance and the red broth promises a decent clout.
Chap a Lang (RM9) is the biggest bowl of fruit rojak I’ve ever seen! Fresh under ripe chunks of local fruit (red pears, mango, pineapple, papaya), bean sprouts and crushed nuts are coated in a thick sauce and topped with crispy fish crackers. I’m often wary of this dish (not that I’ve had more than a handful in my life) finding the shrimp paste used in the dressing too strong for my taste preferences. This version however is more on the sweet side and I have no trouble polishing off at least half of the mountain.
Chap a Lang
Bits and Bobs
Behind Missing Marbles is owner Dexter’s pet project Bits and Bobs. Combining his passion for antique hunting and local desserts, the stand sells anything from old toy cars to ancient typewriters, and one of his favourite childhood treats, Ice Balls.
Bits and Bobs
We watch as the attendant prepares the ball, grinding ice in a shaving machine and forming it into a sphere as it shoots out the bottom. A ball needing two hands to hold is then spooned with syrup and handed over on a square of brown paper.
Ice Balls (RM3) come with a choice of home made syrups. We try the Gula Melaka but find our lips freezing before we’re even half way through the ball. It’s a fun icy treat in Ipoh’s warm afternoons and brings back a little lost innocence of the past.
Ice Ball with Gula Melaka Syrup
It seems the Burps and Giggles team is set to take over the block. Not only have the new additions of Bits and Bobs and Missing Marbles livened the streets, a serviced residence with small shop lots is also in the works. They’re certainly encouraging an upgrade of the downtown area and, with it, attracting new life to the city centre. We’re eager to return.
Reasons to visit: wonderfully creative atmosphere (we could spend hours discovering the clever adornment); pork-free local dishes that everyone can enjoy.