It doesn’t matter…

…whether you’re big or small.

The newly-reopened Choon Seng, Sungai Merah

This coffee shop, Choon Seng, used to be in one of the old blocks of shops by the Sungai Merah Market before moving here and it was known far and wide for its very good coffee. My aunties, including the ones from out of town, all since deceased, would make it a point to drop by just to enjoy the coffee.

It started going downhill when the boss took over the fried kway teow stall and left the making of the drinks, coffee included, to the workers and everyone started complaining and grumbling that the coffee was really very bad, not like when the guy was doing it himself.

Not too long ago, I drove past the place and it was closed and I just assumed that it had called it a day for good but after a few days, when I went past again, I saw that it had reopened, occupying just one shoplot now, not two like before…and for reasons unknown, there was no shop sign so the other morning, I decided to drop by to check it out.

Yes, the boss was no longer frying kway teow – he was back making the drinks. In fact, he himself came personally to take our orders and yes, the coffee (RM1.70 a glass)…

Choon Seng kopi-o-peng

…was very good, just like before, so much so that my missus exclaimed in delight that it was really very nice.

The chu char (cook & fry) place was still there, at the back…

Choon Seng chu char stall

…and they had a whole lot of choices for their chap fan. I know for a fact that it is very popular and come lunchtime, you may have to queue to get what you want.

The kampua stall is still around too, the same people…

Choon Seng food stalls

…and I am particularly fond of their meat porridge. In my opinion, what it lacks in presentation – it may not look as nice as elsewhere, it makes up for it with the taste and I like it a lot more than all that I have tried elsewhere. To the right is a new stall selling laksa and lor mee but no, I did not try anything from there.

I decided to order from the Muslim food stall…

Choon Seng Muslim food stall

right in the middle and yes, they are the same people who have been there for as long as I can remember.

I had their very nice roti telur (RM2.00)…

Choon Seng roti telur

…with their curry gravy dip – theirs is a little different from the rest in town. They make theirs very thin and crispy and yes, that morning, it was just as great as ever before.

My missus ordered the kway teow goreng (RM3.50)…

Choon Seng kway teow goreng

…and was surprised that they even gave a fried egg with it, at that price! As for the taste, she said it was very nice, nicer than a lot of other places here.

I saw one of the ladies making this…

Choon Seng sambal buah emplam

…so I asked if I could have a bit of that. This buah emplam comes from the mango family and is very very sour. The nice ladies happily obliged and no, they did not charge me extra for that. For one thing, the fruit sure does not come cheap these days. The last time I bought some, it was RM10.00 a kg and then it went up to RM12.00 a kg and now, the current price is RM14.00 a kg…and because of its weight, you do not get that many for 1 kg.

Of course I enjoyed it so very much with my nasi lemak special (RM5.00)…

Choon Seng nasi lemak special

…even though the rice was not really lemak. I did drop by for their nasi campur once and I liked it a lot – perhaps one of these days, I could make it a point to come a little later to go for that.

The coffee shop is much smaller now but business seemed to be picking up again – there were quite a lot of people that morning, past the 10 o’ clock tea break but not quite lunchtime yet. I guess now that the coffee is good again, pretty soon, the crowd would be spilling onto the road, the way it was before.