OUTPOST: New Lay Sin isn’t exactly facing much competition in its market segment.
This week, Streets is highlighting one of the oldest social institutions of Klang Valley communities, the kopitiam. SHANNON TEOH revisits Brickfields: the heartland of the Indian community which is also home to a half-century-old Chinese coffeeshop.
|CLOSING SOON: The old man on his old chair has already disappeared. Sadly, so too will his coffeeshop.|
|CULTURAL COOKING POT: Chicken eggs now have fish eggs for company thanks to assimilation of the surrounding cuisine.|
It’s a most telling sign of how muhibbah we are. We may make the odd racist joke here and there but at the end of it all, we somehow manage to live, or at least do business in harmony.
So while it may look as incongruous as french fries in an organic restaurant, it is actually perfectly normal, that New Lay Sin has been running a thriving business since around the time the word Merdeka was first shouted three times in a row.
The face of it may have undergone some changes over the years — certainly the signboard saying Restoran New Lay Sin is uhh, new — but once you step into the coffeeshop itself, the humidity of too many pots boiling hits you with steaming nostalgia.
A stall succinctly titled “Indian Rice” sells exactly that. Our slightly moist rice, the mushy vegetables and the assortment of curries however, was rudely interrupted by the RM8 pricetag.
Much better to stick to the old formula of coffee in that cup-and-saucer (albeit, now with Nescafe branding) with two pairs of eggs and toast. At less than RM3, it’s an affordable walk down memory lane that won’t be around for long.
Apparently, the proprietor of the corner lot has already informed the second-generation operators of the coffeeshop that ownership is about to change hands. Already, the hotel upstairs of the eatery has long since closed down and is now unused real estate.
But what I will tell you next is the most appalling part of this news — the new owner apparently wants to convert the premise into a mamak shop. Yes, there certainly seems to be a dire shortage of that sort of thing in the neighbourhood. Not.