It's the water, they say. When asked what's so special about their noodles, such as the rice ribbons called hor fun, natives of Ipoh, Malaysia, cite the limestone formations that surround the city. Because the local water is alkaline (that is, hard), goes the theory, noodles made in Ipoh are silky soft.
They are silky, I can attest, even when shipped down to Kuala Lumpur and cooked in the less heralded KL water. My small bowl of Ipoh sar hor fun (small, rm 5.80, about US$1.85 at the time) also held prawns, shredded chicken, and many spoonfuls of broth prominently flavored by both. The tabletop, noted the owner, had a relationship with Ipoh, too: What had been local limestone millions of years ago was polished marble today.
Ipoh Old Town
8 Lorong Ara Kiri 2, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur