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A Taste Of Unity: How A Hainanese Kopitiam In Ipoh Brings Malaysians Together

A Taste Of Unity: How A Hainanese Kopitiam In Ipoh Brings Malaysians Together

In the heart of Ipoh’s Canning Garden, the New Hollywood Cafe has been serving up more than just delicious pork-free dishes for over four decades.

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In a nation as diverse as Malaysia, it’s not always easy to find a place where people from different backgrounds can come together and share a meal.

But nestled in the bustling streets of Ipoh’s Canning Garden, the New Hollywood Cafe has been quietly bridging the gap between cultures for nearly half a century.

This unassuming Hainanese kopitiam, run by second-generation owner Chan Jit Keong and his family, has become a rare gem in a culinary landscape where Chinese kopitiams are often deemed not halal, making them inaccessible to Malays.

The Heart of the Kopitiam: Chan Jit Keong (second from left), the second-generation owner of the New Hollywood Cafe, pours his heart and soul into his work, ensuring that every customer feels welcome and every dish is a testament to the power of unity through shared culinary experiences. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

But at the New Hollywood Cafe, things are different.

Speaking to TRP, Chan said it all started in the 1970s when Chan’s mother was approached by college students looking for pork-free dishes.

Seeing an opportunity to bring more people together, she convinced the hawkers to adapt their recipes, replacing pork with chicken.

The move was a resounding success, and the kopitiam has been a beacon of inclusivity ever since.

A Timeless Taste of Harmony: The New Hollywood Cafe’s traditional Hainanese coffee and toast, served alongside a diverse array of local dishes, have brought Malaysians from all walks of life together for over four decades in this unassuming yet welcoming kopitiam. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Where Trust and Taste Collide: A Recipe for Unity

Today, the New Hollywood Cafe is a melting pot of cultures.

Malays, Chinese, and Indians can sit side by side, bonding over steaming plates of curry noodles, hot cakoi, roti canai, and an array of other mouth-watering dishes.

Seeing such diverse groups dining together is a testament to the power of food in breaking down barriers and fostering unity.

Chan, a friendly and affable 53-year-old, takes pride in continuing his father’s legacy.

Despite the long hours and the challenges of running a kopitiam, he finds joy knowing that his efforts bring people together and brighten their days.

“Trust is important,” he says, emphasizing the significance of maintaining his patrons’ confidence in the kopitiam’s commitment to serving pork-free meals.

Unity on a Plate: The New Hollywood Cafe’s chee cheong fun, a beloved kopitiam staple, is just one of the many delectable dishes that bring Malaysians of all backgrounds together in this inclusive culinary haven. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

A Kopitiam That Nourishes the Soul and Unites the Nation

In a world where divisions often run deep, and even something as simple as food has become a source of controversy, as seen in the recent Darsa Fried Chicken incident, the New Hollywood Cafe stands as a shining example of how shared culinary experiences can bridge the gaps between us.

READ MORE: DarSA Fried Chicken Apologizes For Racist ‘Type C’ Comment, Highlighting Malaysia’s Struggle With Racial Harmony

It’s a reminder that, despite our differences, we all have the power to come together and celebrate the things that unite us – and sometimes, all it takes is a hearty meal in a welcoming kopitiam.

As Malaysians, we should take pride in places like the New Hollywood Cafe, which serve as a testament to our nation’s unique ability to find harmony in diversity.

Granted, new and trendy eateries in Ipoh, like Nifayyi Warung & Kafe, have gained popularity among patrons of all races, showcasing the potential for cross-cultural appreciation.

However, the New Hollywood Cafe possesses an irreplaceable charm that can only be found in a good old-fashioned kopitiam.

Where Meals Become Memories: At the New Hollywood Cafe, patrons are more than just customers – they’re part of a tight-knit community. Regulars often catch up with familiar hawkers, fostering a warm, neighbourhood atmosphere that makes this kopitiam a second home for many. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

By supporting such establishments and embracing their spirit of inclusivity, we can all strengthen the bonds that hold our multicultural society together.

READ MORE: This Chinese Couple Makes Yong Tau Foo and Chee Cheong Fun Affordable And Accessible For Our Multicultural Country

So, the next time you find yourself in Ipoh, be sure to visit the New Hollywood Cafe.

Not only will you be treated to some of the most delicious pork-free dishes around, but you’ll also be participating in a beautiful celebration of unity, one plate at a time.

New Hollywood Restaurant is located at 38, Jalan Lee Kwee Foh.

It is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, except for Mondays.

@shinichikeesoon #Ipoh #Malaysia #multiracial #harmony #kopitiam #foodie ♬ Mori no chiisana restaurant – 手嶌 葵

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