Even though corner kopitiams are quintessentially Malaysian/ Singaporean institutions, Ah Hong kopitiam still seemed a little out of place to me in this part of Taman Sutera where hipster cafés and bubble tea shops sprout like mushrooms in the morning. Ah Hong's decor and earthly coffee coloured theme seemed like an oasis to baby boomers (read middle age people) like me. I found Ah Hong a very pleasant pit shop for familiar comfort foods like kopi, teh, kaya toast, mee siam, nasi lemak, kway teow soup and porridge.
Ah Hong's kopi is decidedly old style. Uncle had been making kopi since he was 14 or 15 years old. I subscribe to the romantic notion that who makes the coffee makes a lot of difference in the taste even though the ingredients may be much the same.
Ah Hong's is actually not a new business. Ah Hong had been in the kopitiam business in Seremban for decades and this branch in Taman Sutera is already nearly five years old. Still, Ah Hong's is very much a well kept secret even though it already has a loyal following of fans in JB.
The kopi at Ah Hong was full bodied and smooth on the palate and the flavour was robust. Served in the "Ipoh white coffee" style, it had no hint of sour or bitter taste at all. I count this as one of the better coffees in JB.
Ah Hong's White Tea for teh lovers.
The kopi and teh went very well with this egg toast. That dollop of kaya by the side was a real winner. Freshly made at the kopitiam everyday using only eggs, santan and sugar. No preservatives were used, so all kaya is made and sold in the same day.
The nasi lemak had a gentle coconut flavour though not as fluffy as I liked. The chicken pieces were well marinated with spices that penetrated deeply into the fibres and nicely fried. Those prawns may be ordinary pond bred but they were cooked in tasty, not-too-spicy sambal. Cooked with shell on, the flesh tasted and felt like those springy fresh shrimps in exquisite prawn dumplings in good dim sum shops.
Mee Siam, the breakfast or morning tea staple was mildly flavoured, and was comforting and filling as the serving of bee hoon was huge.
The mee siam was served with two small slices cut from a slab of fried otak otak Muar.
We can spice up the mee siam further with this sambal chili that has the appetising, robust anchovy aroma and flavour.
Ah Hong's rendition of Ipoh kway teow soup was good. The fresh ingredients were submerged in a solidly flavourful chicken broth. The kway teow noodles though were ordinary and didn't quite evoke that smooth, melt in your mouth tender feeling of those legendary kway teow from Ipoh, that this dish was named after.
Ah Hong also serves this Teochew style seafood porridge. Again the winner is their broth, this one with robust, refreshingly tasty seafood flavours.
When I am around Sutera Mall and need a cuppa, Ah Hong will be my choice.
Restaurant name: Ah Hong Kopitiam
Address: 60, Jalan Sutera Tanjung 8/4, Taman Sutera Utama, Johor Bahru
Hours: 7:00am to 7:00pm
Not certified Halal, no pork, no lard served
Date visited: 8 Jan 2013