If ever you were up at 5am and had a yearning for steaming hot soupy noodles check out Tong Ki along Jalan Bandar Timah at Ipoh’s Old Town. They are open for business by that time.
I found the shop after sending off my relative who took the 530am ETS train to Kuala Lumpur.
Lo and behold my joy when I noticed the bright fluorescent lights of Tong Ki with tables of patrons.
Tong Ki had everything I desired, steaming hot noodles with the usual ‘yong taufu’ and an accompanying hot Chinese tea was all I needed to kick off my early day.
As I savoured my breakfast I noticed the majority of the customers were wearing long rubber boots.
As I left the shop I asked one of the customers wearing short pants and rubber shoes what was his occupation.
He responded he was a ‘fishmonger at the Ipoh market at Super Kinta, now the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC),1 Km away and had been frequenting Tong Ki for years as it was the earliest to open.
Before I got to my car I noted other shops opening and vendors delivering bags of ice and noodles.
The other popular kopi tiams nearby such as Nam Heong and Sin Yoon Loong had just opened around 630am while a newspaper vendor was sorting his papers for sale to breakfast patrons.
Peter Wong who operates Sin Yoon Loong said his shop was usually ready by 630am to serve customers.
However he acknowledged that Tong Ki was always the first to open usually by 530am.
As I left around 640am the street lights were still on and the traffic sparse. It would be like this for another hour after which Jalan Bandar Timah (Leech Street) would begin the hustle and bustle of breakfast goers looking for parking and tables to sit.