Ipoh Old Town has two prominent kopitiams which are located side-by-side: Thean Chun (House of Mirrors) and Kong Heng. When we arrived at about 1.30pm, Thean Chun was closed, so maybe that explained why Kong Heng was PACKED.
Getting a table at Kong Heng is no easy feat. Like playing chess, there is a strategy involved. And we learnt, 30 minutes later and no table in hand, that one has to be ruthless.
The steps are as follows:-
- Identify table. Look for signs indicating that the persons sitting at the table are going to complete their meal in the next 10 minutes. If energetic conversations are going on, chances are they'll be asking for another round of drinks, so move on to the next table.
- Stand really close to the table. This gives a double signal, i.e. to the person sitting down that you are targetting his table, and to other vultures to stay away from this table.
- If other vultures have also targetted the same table, start limbering up for step 4.
- Say there are 6 people currently sitting at the table. When one person stands up, immediately move your butt and place yourself in his place, regardless of whether or not the other 5 have finished their meals. This is very important, as it indicates ownership of that table. Vultures will immediately disperse.
- Put on a nonchalant expression and wait till the remaining 5 move, then wave madly so your friends will know that you have successfully completed your mission and come over and congratulate you.
So we got our table. :-)
Kong Heng has several stalls serving a variety of food including asam laksa, hor fun, lor bak, popiah, wantan mee and sotong kangkung. One of the more popular items to order is pork satay. Basically, the satay man dumps a plate of satay on the table, and when he sees the number of sticks dwindling, he tops up the plate with more satay. You pay for what you consume. Which brings us to the question of hygiene....
Unfortunately, this time around, the satay man was nowhere to be seen. We saw a plate of popiah on every table, so we ordered the popiah which was absolutely delicious. The hor fun in soup was also very good, but Barbie preferred Pretty Pui's asam laksa. The asam laksa is very much like the Penang version.