The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot.

Yong Suan Chinese coffee shop in Ipoh is a true melting pot with okra and customers from various cultures thrown together. Ipoh resident, Vasanthi Mailany, shot this pic at my request. It is at the famous coffee shop in Ipoh with the Indian Muslim nasi kandar (rice) tenant, also known as Nasi Vanggey, or welcome or “come in” in Tamil, it seems. The curry rice and assorted dishes were reportedly so good and addictive, it gained the notorious name of “Nasi Ganja” .

I tried one in KL and and at a couple more counterfeit shops claiming to be original branches in KL. Whenever, I confront the boss to ask if it is a genuine branch, authorised offshoot or legit spinoff, I get a nervous and suspicious answer.

Friend Jugjet Singh Randhawa saw my post and warned me he remembered seeing a sign at the Ipoh shop displaying a warning stating they have NO other branches, implying all others using the same name are fake. With Vasan’s new iPhone 7 pic, I can finally confirm from the horse’s mouth that there are no branches at anywhere else.

While I like some of the imitator’s pirated food, I cannot condone the plagiarism or blatant misuse of a brand name and riding or profiting from someone else’s popularity and hard-earned success. It is also cheating customers outright.

Many people travel to Ipoh on food trips and you can find many good hotel deals at my Ipoh Hotel Deals Finder Page:

Find a good hotel, sleep well and get up early for breakfast in Ipoh too.

Thank you Vasanthi Mailany for capturing a beautiful image of mullti ethnicity that is truly Malaysia. First time I am seeing the shop named as “Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah” and the kopitiam’s signboard spelling it as “Yong Suan Coffee Shop ” and not Yong Shuan Kopitiam as seen many times.

Makes sense because “Kopitiam” is a Hokkien word and Ipoh is predominantly Cantonese. As my friend Jahabar Sadiq, an expert on Nasi Kandar, said: “The senseless copying is getting out of hand and must stop”. Will show a comparison pic of real and fake Nasi Ganja soon.

#yongsuan #nasiganja #nasikandar #ipoh #food #ayammerah #mycenhotels #coffeeshop

San Miguel Beer Of 1890

Non-beer drinkers may wonder why, at many Asian cities, customers at coffee shops stack finished bottles on the table. It may appear like a competition, if there are more than one table of drinkers.

The reason is quite innocuous, usually. For regulars, no tab is kept by the shop. When they are about to leave, a coffee shop worker or the cashier will count the empty bottles and the total is calculated.

The San Miguel bottles should give a clue to drinkers that this is a coffee shop in the Philippines. It was nice seeing the pale pilsen in its hometown and birthplace. It is one of Phillipines’s most famous global brands. Yes. I tried famous Jollibee burgers too, founded by a Mr Tan.

They drinkers here were bored workers of the Chinese coffee shop itself. It was nightfall outside in Chinatown, Manila.

What was I doing there?

As usual, I wanted to talk to some ethnic Chinese after exploring Manila Chinatown. The men told me St Miguel brewery is owned by a Chinese tycoon, Mr Ang. The corporation also owns Petron petrol stations in Malaysia, I was told.

Find a hotel easily in Manila at Mycen Hotels.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 2000, f2.8, !/160

#documentaryphotography #streetphotography #coffeeshop #chinatown #beer #stmiguel #manila #chinese #philippines #olympus

Angry Men Sitting In Front Of Coffee Shops

Angry Men Sitting In Front Of Coffee Shops.

A coffee table book should be about coffee or the traditional kopitiam that serve kopi. I am thinking maybe one day I should publish a coffee table book titled “Angry Men Sitting In Front Of Coffee Shops”. I always get some death stares when I stand in front. I think it is territorial aggression. I am a stranger or outsider from another town they sensed

Not all are angry men though. That’s how they react to a stranger with a camera. Engage them to find out more. They could be philosophical, for example. Like the elder man of the Orang Asli duo in Behrang (bottom pic). I asked him what was he thinking so hard about? He told me everyone has problems, with a heavy sigh. True. I replied. What’s the solution then?, I inquired further. He said “Let’s order another bottle of Cap Rusa Arak (a potent legalised local moonshine). The younger gentleman then asked me for my car and phone number. He started writing down all the permutations for lottery bets later. Love their decadent lifestyle . LOL.

#coffeeshop #kopitiam #orangasli #streetphotography #smalltown

Buka Puasa At Capital

Also from last night, a sketch of the old-school coffee shop in Batu Road. The long-time kopitiam serves halal food.

Real-time sketching from the middle of a busy road can be dangerous. I used a sketch filter on the pic instead.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 3200, f7.1, 1/200 sec.

The Kopitiam Pasta

I think it was Alisan coffee shop in the Masjid India area that pioneered the food court within a kopitiam. That was in the early 1980s and the concept has since been adopted by many Chinese coffee shops. The big and popular ones may squeeze as many as two or three dozen food stalls into a single shop lot.

Currently, one of the less common types of food served at such places is pasta. With the new burden of GST and the Shringgit (a term attributed to my friend Sidek Kamiso), the poor man’s Italian dining should become more popular.

If you are not a snob, this Seafood Pasta is good value as the portion and ingredients are generous at RM 9 nett. Of course, it won’t taste as good as that from an Italian chef who hand craft his pasta and blend the sauce from some time-tested family recipe.

Nevertheless, I like that I can customise it in whatever way I want at the kopitiam. No snooty chef or maitre d’ protesting because it is heresy to even suggest.

The fat Chinese cook here nodded his head happily when I requested a tomato-based sauce even though it is served dry.

I also like that I can order a barley drink to go with it and have dessert of Nyonya Kuih Lapis bought from another stall outside.

The coffee shop is at one corner of Jalan SJ6, Selayang.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 320, f6.3, 1/250 sec.