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Motormouth From Ipoh

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How 'Bout A Cuppa ORIGINAL Ipoh Old Town White Coffee? (Nam Heong Coffee Shop)

Look at how they literally 'pour' the fillings of egg custard into the moulded pastries?

Hot, fresh from the oven egg tarts overflowing with the fragrant egg-y custard

Funny how I'm working so near to Old Town famous stretch of white coffee outlets, yet I haven't blogged about Nam Heong, the TRUE origin of Old Town Kopitiam outlets, mushrooming everywhere.

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.


Anonymous said...

Both the Hakka Noodle and CKT looks wonderfully good..old hand must be at work.

minchow said...

Ooh interesting nugget of history here, thanks for sharing! The egg tart looks to die for. There's something decidedly aromatic and romantic about this story... I know, they should sell movie rights!

CRIZ LAI said...

Ok... I get a bit confused here. Which shop is the one which produced the Old Town White Coffee? I know it even sponsored some of the items for the Hong Kong game show hosted by Eric Tsang.

Elin Chia said...

Went there yesterday to have lunch...fully packed...ate the char koay teow and egg tart...yummz :)

Allie said...

oo.. I luv the egg tarts there.. and also the 'char siew sou'... Yummy.

Anonymous said...

Still prefer SYL for the nostalgia feel and crowd.

choi yen said...

I'll take the eggtarts, white coffee I leave it to u lor... I can't drink coffee, will make me insomnia :(

Hulk said...

OK I could add...this is the shop that sprung other Oldtown Kopitiam nationwide. The enterprising son 1st started with Instant White Coffee. The fame Oldtown White cafe Tarik Instant White Coffee. Gradually ..a founder of the Oltown Kopitiam that extend thier franchise Nationwide.
Proud to say ..I have fate in them when they came (mother & son team)approaching me to venture into this instnt white coffee producing. They have grown BIGTIME. Now all the marketing & distributing aspect is handle by 3rd party which includes exporting to HK & China etc.

Tummythoz said...

Maybe different day different hand mixing drinks-leh? (Don't u just lurve Manglish?)

Anonymous said...

din try the cha siu pastry? its divine!

Anonymous said...

try the laksa! hakka noodle is kinda oily..

Anonymous said...

oh yeah. ever been to wong kok (beside the restaurant selling ducks-tuck kee). must try! their dishes total yum.

J2Kfm said...

jencooks : CKT was not bad. easily one of the better ones.

550ml Jar of Faith : movie rights? hehe, maybe I can get a small part then?

crizlai : Nam Heong is the one with all the gimmicks.

elinluv : yeah, on weekends it's mostly packed. I'll have the same stuff as you too.

allie : yeah, snacks with a hot cup of coffee is great for tea break.

jason : hmm, me too! but me prefer Nam Chau as it's nearer to my workplace! :)

mimid3vils : drink in the morning loh! :) sure can sleep at night. me already immune though.

hulk : well said, Hulk! =) what's YOUR job anyway? sounds so powerful one?

tummythoz : hehe, sure boleh !!

kampungboycitygal : that's one of my usual fav too. but I normally go for egg tarts.

bianca: oh, laksa? OK, but I've a bad history wif laksa. Wong Kok yup, the dishes are good. but seldom go as I'm staying too far away.

Lingzie said...

i must make a makan trip to ipoh soon... but i very the lost in ipoh one. lol. would love to visit all these old kopitiams and savor the 'real thing'.

slightly out of topic comment.. i went to one of the MANY branches of OldTown kopitiam in penang recently. the food quality has gone down soooo much! i used to like the ipoh hor fun, thought it was pretty decent. the recent trip one...totally no taste at all! huge bowl of hor fun with few slices of chicken in lukewarm soup that tasted like water. :(

J2Kfm said...

lingzie, go to the real kopitiam. the Old Town Kopitiam branches serve mediocre, bordering on inedible food. really. only go for toasts and coffee if youre there.