Time is money and money can’t buy time.
In the recent years convenience, practicality and comfort took favour over tradition & old habits.
In the food scene, many popular favourites were given a breath of modernity; we see decades old businesses franchising their concept and expanding their brands overseas while some embraced technology and launched vacuum-packed/dehydrated or frozen versions of their product.
Others looped in the younger generation to handle the continuity of their legacy and these young minds revolutionise the recent evolving trend of cuisine; fusionizing their dishes to keep up with the ever fussy palate of current folks.
All is all, as long as the heritage and essence of the business is kept intact, why not?
BELOW: Me and the matriarch of Nam Heong Ipoh.
She is down-to-earth, sassy and I bet she’s a shrew businesswoman too.
Such is the case for the famous Nam Heong now.
After decades of establishing their reputation offering good coffee and running one of the more successful “kopitiam” business in Ipoh, Nam Heong has embarked on revolutionising the concept of a kopitiam experience.
Nam Heong Food Court opened last August, a 2 storey food court where the ground floor is solely for the kitchens and the upper floor dedicated for dining.
Walking in, one is greeted with dim lights, hygienic dining space, roomy and comfortably spaced tables and chairs.
With the kitchens hidden away, diners do not have to order at the “stalls” but instead walk in, select a table of their liking and proceed to order their meal via a tablet secured to the table.
The ordering system is through the installed MECanOrder app.
Here is a video depicting how it works.
For a first timer it might take a few minutes to get used to the navigational menu but be assured that it is straightforward.
Diners of all ages would be able to order with ease.
The screen is bright and clear images depicted the food items. Prices are stated and the app is very responsive.
Any updates such as food availability is updated real-time.
During my lunch I observed that the food court was patronised by both young and old, students and professionals, local and tourists.
No doubt they are here for the food, but the air conditioned comfort plus ease of ordering further enhanced the experience.
We can’t deny that Nam Heong Food Court provides better service and level of hygiene too.
I experienced the ordering efficiency myself during my lunch here recently.
After a few swipes on the tablet I got the hang of it and begin to place my order.
Once my order was submitted on-screen, a service staff came over within a few minutes with my pre-order bill .
I was then requested to confirm my items and to make payment.
Once payment is done, I sat back and relaxed while my order is being prepared.
NOTE: You know what else that is clever about this app?
To ease the waiting time at the food court, you can order in advance via the MeCan app on your smartphones.
Take your time to browse and plan your meal. This is especially useful for big group dining as you do not have to wait for each and everyone to make their decision on what they would like to eat.
That way, you can retrieve your order via the iPad when you arrive at the restaurant and have the food served faster!
My order consisted of some of the famous Nam Heong delicacies such as their egg tarts and dim sum.
The menu is diverse and warrants multiple visits if you wish to sample everything,
Both traditional and modern cuisine are offered; so dim sum are available alongside Japanese ramen and yakitori.
Beverages that caught my eye was the healthy drinks section where bird nest, freshly squeezed fruit juices and traditional boiled drinks are listed.
It is encouraging to see healthier options available and I ordered a cold bird nest, in hope of restoring my glowing complexion after the long drive from KL.
Anyhow, one can’t miss ordering the popular thick, fragrant coffee, and being indecisive of hot and cold, we order both.
My favourite dish is the roast pork. Superb crispy skin, soft fats (not too much of it too, but just a nice thin layer) & nicely flavoured meat that isn’t overly salty.
The char siew (BBQ pork belly) was a tad sweet but tender in texture.
The crabmeat spring rolls were big but sans crabmeat.
The dim sum offered were of acceptable taste. When in Ipoh we have to sample the chee cheong fun of course, and I added some fish and pork balls to the mix.
There were complaints in earlier blogposts about the lack of tissues yet during my visit I noticed that these tissue dispensers are available at almost every corner.
It seems that the management does take feedback into consideration, which is a positive sign!
Typical of food courts, the prices are relatively higher (about RM2-5) per portion compared to its street side counterparts.
However, it is a worthy trade off considering the pleasure of savouring local delicacies in one venue in air conditioning comfort coupled with efficient service.
Overall Nam Heong Food Court is a commendable case of the younger generation continuing the family tradition yet embracing modern technologies.
Air conditioned, food ordered via an app, clean; softly-lit dining area (a nightmare for photos) plus an efficient food delivery system, Nam Heong Food Court does have its advantages.
Blok B, 2-15; Ipoh SoHo
Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah
30000 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan
No: +605-241 0923, +605-241 1319