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.

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

18 thoughts on “It doesn’t matter…”

  1. The food looks very good, and I love having coffee or tea in a clear glass mug like the ones in your photos. πŸ™‚

    You do? I think if you are having hot coffee and you ask for a glass or L size, you will get it in these.

  2. Seems the boss realized that he must make the drinks himself to retain his regular customers. So nice of the ladies to give you the emplam for free. I guess you will be back!

    I sure would. I wonder if the porridge is still as good as it was before.

  3. The kway teow goreng looks lovely and what a bargain. Happy Friday. πŸ™‚

    Yes, we all enjoyed our orders that day. You too, have a delightful weekend! You’re in Malaysia right now? Long weekend for the schools, my girl came home yesterday and will be around till much later than usual next week. πŸ™‚

  4. Rm3.50 only for kway teow goreng with a fried egg is indeed a good deal. Here, Rm3.50, or some places RM4, we only have kway teow fried with taugeh, add one fried egg cost RM1. Enjoy your long weekends, jalan jalan cari makan.

    Exactly! Deduct the egg, RM1, the kway teow would only be RM2.50, so very cheap! We are surprised. Sure will, girl off till Wednesday.

  5. Been to this coffee shop few times. The male boss?? I did not get to taste his kway teow. Nice?

    But I remember trying the Malay stall; nasi lemak. Nice of the ladies to let you try the emplam.

    Your coffee is so black!! Glad the boss back to making drinks.

    Yes, I’m glad too. Now everyone can go back there again to enjoy the coffee – many, I know, have stopped going since the quality went down. I did not bother tasting his kway teow either – barista trying to become a chef. I was quite sure it would not be nice. Yes, the ladies at that stall are all very friendly, very pleasant…and that’s the way it should be.

  6. Size does matter when it comes to certain body part(s) πŸ˜›

    You’re sure? Which part? Cili padi can be spicier and hotter that the extra large ones, good for colour and decoration only. πŸ˜€

  7. I passed by Sg Merah yesterday and l made it a point to stop by Choon Seng for the well known coffee (it’s so good that Najib was brought here to have a taste of the Sibu coffee a few years ago while on an official visit). I saw only half of the original shop was opened and workers were doing some work on the closed section. When l stepped in the opened section l was shocked to see such an unfamiliar Choon Seng, the open and airy old coffee shop was unrecognisable, what was left was a crowded space that was halved in size, packed with tables and chairs that made moving around rather challenging! I had kopi-o and a curry puff, both tasted good like l knew before.

    Honestly l didn’t know there was a drop in business due to the reason mentioned in this article. Although I’m not that regular here but the quality was much the same to me each time I came here. Let’s hope this place remains in business so that we can still have a good local coffee place to hang about and savour the old Sibu coffee flavour.

    Yes, only half and the tables and chairs are not neatly arranged, quite cramped. Maybe the landlord wants to increase the rent, I would not know why…but I sure am glad that the coffee is good again. I did go when the boss was doing the frying at the kway teow stall and the coffee was not good at all so I stopped going. Saw him that day, nice friendly guy – I do hope he sticks to making the coffee. Will surely go back for that…and the nice food at the original stalls, still around.

  8. The koay teow goreng looks delicious from the color. And yum! yum! I like your nasi lemak and I would enjoy the buah emplam condiment.

    No plans to come over, you can get to enjoy these and more, lots more!

  9. Oh, the good coffee is back? Hope I have time to drop by one day to try it out.

    You have to. Brought my cousins there Sunday afternoon before they left town and they said yes, it was good again!

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