My father’s son…

We go back a very long way – back to the time of video cassette tapes when this couple and their families were running a video-rental shop in town and I was their regular customer.

In fact, when I broke my arm in the 90’s and after two months in a plaster cast followed by surgery, the arm was stuck in one position in an awkward acute angle and all the physiotherapy did not help at all, it was the wife who noticed it when I dropped by their shop to borrow some tapes. “Eeeeeee!!!!” she exclaimed. “Why is your arm blue in colour like a dead man’s arm?” I told her the whole story and she insisted on taking me to see this Chinese sinseh in town – on that very first visit, the guy merely pressed a few places here and there on my shoulder and arm and the colour returned instantly. Amazing! And in less than 6 months, he managed to get the arm back to normal…or almost normal. Like somebody commented once, “You can never expect a reconditioned car to be as good as a brand new one.”

Anyway, back to the couple, eventually they ventured into the food business with the son doing the cooking and the father helping out. The father’s name is Ah Hock and hence, they call their coffee shop this…

Ah Hock Kia Kopitiam Sibu 1

“Ah Hock Kia” literally means Ah Hock’s child.

I used to frequent the place when they first opened. The beef noodles were really good and I even brought a lot of friends there to enjoy it. Eventually, the quality dropped and the quantity was reduced significantly and I stopped going back there in the end. My daughter loved their pineapple fried rice and their kampua noodles were pretty good – though many would agree that Rasa Sayang‘s, which was just round the corner at the time in its original location, was nicer.

I had not been there for a long time and I can’t remember who was it that asked me recently if I’d been to Ah Hock Kia before. Of course I had, just that I had not been there for quite a while…but the other morning, since I was in the vicinity, I decided to drop by again to see how they were doing. Golly gee! It certainly looked like they were doing pretty well and they were even featured in an article in one of the local Chinese daily newspapers…

Ah Hock Kia Kopitiam 2

It appeared to me that they had a whole lot of things on their menu…

Ah Hock Kia Kopitiam 2

…and I was at a loss as to what I should order. Eventually, I decided to try what they called the Hakka noodles (RM3.50)…

Ah Hock Kia Hakka mee 1

When it was served, I thought it was something like what I had here except that this was so much nicer…and also a whole lot cheaper!

The noodles tasted like kampua mee, nothing very different there but like before, they tasted great and I particularly liked the blended fresh chilies that they used to toss the noodles. Elsewhere, they would use chili sauce except perhaps the Teochew noodle stall at the Sibu Central Market hawker centre at night – I have not been to their present location but I used to patronise their makeshift stall in the lane beside the Standard Chartered Bank building here when I was very very young and I can remember quite clearly that they also used ground (I don’t think they had blenders and food processors then so I supposed they used a grinding stone at the time) chili as well, seeds and all.

The fried pain sip

Ah Hock Kia Hakka mee 2

…or what they call wantons at that other place, were tastier too so if I were to give a score of 6 to that one, this one would merit at least an 8.

I did not know at the time when I placed the order but it seemed that their latest attraction, as highlighted in the newspaper article, would be their Singapore mee Siam. Ooooo…I loved that a lot and I had not had it since I was in Singapore in the early 70’s. I wonder if theirs is anything like that and whether it is any good. Looks like Ah Hock and his wife and Ah Hock Kia would see me again pretty soon as I certainly would go back there at the earliest opportunity to give it a try….