Nostalgic farewell to old Hainanese coffee shop

27 Sep 2016 / 00:33 H.

GEORGE TOWN: It was a nostalgic end for the near century old traditional Hainanese coffee shop in Lebuh Hutton here, as it opened for business for the last time today.
Loyal customers of Kong Thai Lai packed the place since early morning to get their last fill of roti kahwin (butter and kaya on toasted bread) paired with soft-boiled eggs, and washed down with local coffee before the operator moved to the new premises at Lebuh Leith here.
Locals and tourists could be seen signing their names on the walls and taking pictures before the shop became a memory.
The steady stream of customers kept Gary Tan, 57, the third generation operator, busy but he could not keep the emotion from his voice, knowing that he has to close the business started by his grandfather.
He, however, was optimistic about the move to the new place and hoped regulars will follow him there.
"I am having a headache now," he said, smiling ruefully over the move.
The coffee shop opened for business in 1920 and had become a favourite haunt for many Malaysian personalities including tycoons Tan Sri Robert Kuok and Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew.
Meanwhile, a senior citizen who only wished to be known as Khor said he felt sad about the outlet's closing. He said he used to hang out with his friends at the place almost everyday.
Teoh Cheng Guan, 30, from Kluang said he came to know of the shop's last day through a friend and decided to bring along his wife Cherie Ng, 30 and family for coffee and toast before the shop called it a day.
"This has been a great nostalgic trip and the place has heritage charm," he said.

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