Thursday, September 11, 2014

Recollections of New Hollywood Canning Garden

On 10 September 2014, The Rakyat Post published an interesting article on the subject of New Hollywood coffee shop located at a corner along Jalan Lee Kwee Foh in Canning Garden. The coffee shop is reputedly to be one of the rare Chinese-eating places in Ipoh where there’s a lot of patronization by Malays. It was born out of an experiment and request from Malay college students who enjoyed eating but asked if they can serve something else besides pork.

Anyone who grew up in Ipoh in from the 70s would definitely know of this place and well, can be said love the variety of delicacies offered, even if it is halal.

It is interesting to note that according to history, the late Sultan Idris Iskandar, one day in 1978 decided to have a meal there following a morning walk and became a frequent customer, subsequently members of the royal family too patronized this area there. : (see Excerpt)

In 1978, the late Sultan Idris Iskandar Shah II patronised the coffee shop after one of his frequent walks in the area and became a regular customer, said Chan.

“Later on, other members of the royal families and former Perak Menteri Besar Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib also became regular patrons.

“Their patronage gave the public strong confidence and, in turn, trust that the food served is indeed pork-free,” he said.

Of course with modern technology, comes social media and it helps to expand the word of mouth which makes this place a popular eating place in Ipoh. 

However, there is an interesting story on my family's side on that place.

My late grandparents were close to His Highness on a strict private capacity, having known him and a select few of his siblings since the 1950s until his death. Unfortunately, my gran was only Chinese-literate, could not speak the proper Malay language, but the market-style language. Understandably, His Highness, aware of her shortfalls and just to get along with the common people rather of making it hard for people to approach him was acceptable and open to speaking with the normal Malay style language with her as long as both understood what the other is saying.

Asides from the infamous beef noodles, the place there also serves fried koay teow, wantan noodles with chicken, lobak, rojak, chee cheong fun, while prawn mee is served in the aftenoons. On Sundays, there will be a mobile stall selling fish ball hor hee. We were also quite well acquainted with a few of the hawkers including the current coffee shop owners (the Chans).

Behind the shop is the Canning Garden wet market

The infamous beef brisket noodles, served with soup and dry.

The lobak from Mr. Khoo, my classmate's dad.

The uncle who served the beef noodles retired about two years ago. Before he and his wife moved to the coffee shop, he used to sell those noodles at a hawker stall in front of Maybank (in front of Jalan Lau Pak Khuan roundabout – the stalls were demolished down in the late 80s). He knew my gran and Annie, the 4th wife of His Highness since that time and both women would enjoy having his food.

In fact, yes, there were a few occasions within those final six years up to 1984 where both of them would join Annie and occasionally His Highness (they remained good friends for the rest of their lives) for food. Even her children would also at times tag along with her.  However, I could not recall exactly if the four of them were at that place on that fateful occasion in 1978.

This was one of our favorite breakfast places that my grandparents would visit to for the rest of their lives. On college breaks, I would go with them on one of the mornings every week, considering that it is one of the nearest coffee shops near home.

Disclaimer: pics are based on Google searches, with thanks to original pixmen.

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