Old Town Kopitiam is the brainchild of the erm, child to the proprietor of NamHeong. Look at how some simple marketing, and novel concept breeds fortune, and an admirable number of copycats. Lest I digress further, let's go back to the root of the "ragingly-infectious" kopitiam craze.Hakka Mee with Yong Tau Foo
No doubt, in comparison to Sin Yoon Loong, the oldest coffee shop in Ipoh's Old Town serving their patented white coffee brew, Nam Heong's history does not run that deep. Situated directly opposite Sin Yoon Loong, the obvious aim was of course, to compete in the mighty war of white coffee.
Many years ago, we were mighty pleased with the competition, for we did not have to scramble for seats in the permanently packed Sin Yoon Loong on weekends. And somehow, the quality of the white coffee in Nam Heong, as well as the variety & quality of food served was better than Sin Yoon Loong's, by a margin.Char Kuey Teow
But somehow, the few recent visits, within these few years proved otherwise. Nam Heong's white coffee had gone from bad to worse, and could not even be classified as a frothy, rich, and aromatic cuppa, in the same line as SYL's or even Nam Chau's offerings. Pretty disappointing as owing to the popularity of Old Town Kopitiam outlets all over Malaysia, Nam Heong should've bucked up and fought for its brush of fame, but instead let success gone to its head and brewed some dismaying concoction masquerading as REAL white coffee.An egg tart and a cup of hot white coffee - Perfect combination?
But of course, every eatery deserves a second, or third chance. And one fine evening, I managed to steal some precious time and crawled my way over to Nam Heong Coffee Shop, at Jalan Bandar Timah.
The declining popularity was obvious if you go on a weekday, when the crowd would be packing the opposite row of coffee shops, instead of cramming themselves into Nam Heong like the old days. But surprisingly, on this specific visit, I found the white coffee (hot, do NOT order iced version, as you'll be sorely disappointed at the diluted nothings) quite deserving of its old moniker, the KING of white coffee. Hot, frothy, milky white coffee in a white porcelain cup, paired with a hot plate of Char Kuey Teow (fried flat rice noodles with prawns, cockles and eggs), and a freshly baked egg tart with the still runny yet fragrant egg fillings, equals a satisfying meal.The addictive beverage that started all the craze, and put Ipoh's name on world maps, in every sense of the word ...
There are various noodle stalls, and a stall selling kuih and chang (rice dumplings). But my preference for the Char Kuey Teow and egg tarts surpassed all the other temptations. But of course, the egg tart stall is manned and owned by Nam Heong as well, also serving some delicious Char Siew Sou (BBQ Pork Flaky Puff) and Dim Sum.
If you're wondering; How do I rate the white coffee in Nam Heong nowadays? I'd say it closes in behind of Sin Yoon Loong and Nam Chau. But somehow, my tastebuds are accustomed to Nam Chau's saltier, yet fragrant brew, and I've yet to find another worthwhile contender. Anyone? :)Easy to locate - Opposite of a row of coffee shops serving white coffee, and the side of the shop's facing the 20-storeys flats in Old Town.