Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Star : The Birthplace of White Coffee

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

THERE is nothing quite as relaxing as sitting in a kopitiam in laid-back Ipoh, drinking the city’s famous white coffee and thinking of old times.

Sin Yoon Loong Coffee Shop at Jalan Bandar Timah would be the place to do that. It is now 79 years old and still going strong. It’s also the place where white coffee was born.

Since opening its doors in 1937, the coffeeshop has been a popular eatery as the place is packed to the brim daily with locals and tourists during the weekends.

Sin Yoon Loong was opened by Wong Poh Chew and his brother Poh Ting, who had wanted nothing more than to serve the best cuppa in town.

Both went through many trials and errors before they managed to create the perfect white coffee recipe, which is now a household name throughout the country.

Aside from the white coffee, the shop is also famed for its Chinese-style steamed sponge cakes and other local Chinese fare.

Sin Yoon Loong is now manned by 59-year-old K.M. Wong, a third-­generation member of the Wong clan, who said business was better now than when it first started.

“When the shop first opened in 1937, I was told by my parents that it was not so popular. It was just another kopitiam with the usual crowd and regular faces,” he said.

“Since the whole white coffee fad broke out all over town some three decades ago, everyone has been trying to look for the best white coffee in town.”

K.M. said he had good memories of the coffeeshop from his childhood days as it was located in a “happening” area.

“This area used to have a good nightlife scene. There were lots of things to eat with all the roadside stalls and we were also operating at night. It was quite happening back then.

“The local city council then stopped the roadside stalls from operating due to cleanliness issues and the area became quiet, which affected our business,” he said.

“Since then, we have only operated during the day.”

K.M. noted modestly that business at the coffeeshop was okay.

“The economy is still very slow. Business is all right and certainly better than the earlier days when it started,” he said.

Having been born in 1957, the same year the country became independent, K.M. said he had no idea what really occurred then as he was still a baby.

“My parents spoke little about life after our independence. I guess everything was just normal. They also did not talk about the war or the Japanese Occupation.

“All I can remember is going home after school to drop our schoolbags before running to the Ipoh Padang to play football with my friends, including the Malay, Tamil and Punjabi kids,” he said.

“We even shared our money to buy a football whenever we broke one. There was no such thing as racism then, unlike now.”


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