This curious little kopitam doesn’t look like anything special, but it is a bigger deal than it appears. Panglima 25 Cafe (or Kafe Panglima Dua Lima) is the secret favourite for many denizens of Ipoh, it seems. The name “Panglima 25” is literally their old address, but they had acquired such a following that Kafe Panglima had to retain the same name when moving to their new location on Jalan Tun Sambanthan.
Ambience & Amenities
The main dining room is inviting even when it’s empty. It’s bright with simple furniture and a bench seat running along the right wall. Cute, grandma-like cross-stitch art hang on the wall. We walked by twice at 11:45 am and 12:45 pm. It was dead both times, but by 1 pm, the place had completely filled up. With social distancing, there are only about six tables in here, but Kafe Panglima 25 does have a secondary dining room located past the door on the right, next to the counter. It is definitely less pleasant in this secondary dining room as this is a hallway on the way to the toilet, but maybe eating here is better than waiting for a better table. There is no natural light in here, and you’ll constantly have diners walking past to get to the washroom. There may also be a patio out back that the restaurant opens when it gets really busy, but it didn’t look too nice. There was no shade, no view, and just some kitchen storage piled up out here.
The toilets are beyond the second door in the dining room hallway. There are two separate rooms with a sink in between them. Both toilets were sitting toilets with paper, and the sink was stocked with liquid soap.
Panglima 25 Cafe makes it easy for you: do you want rice or noodles? The menu lists about ten options for either, along with another short list of cafe drinks. Panglima’s cincau is apparently very popular, as at least one cincau beverage was present on every table. There is also a small snack menu with very simple kopitam food like pineapple buns and kaya toast.
The Lemon Chin Chow (RM3.50) threw me off because of the different spelling, but this is a basic lemon tea drink with thin ribbons of strongly flavoured cincau. It is sweetened by default, but you can ask for less sugar.
The Coconut Ice Blended Juice (RM7.90) had the expected consistency of an ice blended drink, but it honestly tasted like a coconut milkshake. It was creamy and rich but with the fluffy lightness of blended ice. This was a total game-changer for Mark, and the new standard of coconut ice blended drinks.
The Fried Chee Chong Fun with Sambal Shrimp (RM7.50) has a strong spicy kick on the first bite. This is mostly the “fun” and scrambled eggs. No fat shrimps are lying in wait in this dish, the “shrimp” in the name is simply the flavour of the sambal. On the upside, with no shrimp shells to peel, this is an easy dish to just keep shovelling into your mouth.
I had low expectations for the Nasi Goreng Panglima (RM7.50). It sounded basic compared to the other items on the menu, but I was blown away. The fried rice is full of flavour. There are lots of green onion and egg bits, even with the whole fried egg that already on the side. The anchovy sambal is the tastiest part of the plate, and when adding this to the rice, it becomes addictive.
Our lunch at Panglima 25 Cafe was better than we expected. For the cheap price, we were expecting unremarkable food, but everything we had was tasty and satisfying. The service is a bit indifferent, but the staff are competent and efficient. Kafe Panglima 25 is nothing fancy, just good, simple food.
Price for 2 Pax: RM26.40
Lemon Chin Chow: RM3.50
Coconut Ice Blended Juice: RM7.90
Fried Chee Chong Fun with Sambal Shrimp: RM7.50
Panglima Fried Rice: RM7.50
Panglima 25 Cafe/Kafe Panglima Dua Lima
51, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Ipoh, 30000 Perak
Monday to Saturday, 8:30am – 8:45pm
Closed on Sundays
Alcohol Served: No