WHEN one thinks of halal food establishments in the country, a Chinese coffee shop would be the last thing that comes into mind.
But Chan Tuck Seng’s humble shop has been breaking religious barriers for over 30 years.
Although the decision to turn halal wasn’t easy, Chan’s hard work has paid off as now, his Restoran New Hollywood is a favourite among Muslims in Ipoh who have a taste for Chinese food.
“At first, we had to slowly gain the trust of the Malay community, but as the word spread, the number of Malay customers increased.
“Now, 70% of our customers are Malays and our business suffers during puasa month” he said.
To maintain his shop’s credibility, all the stalls operating at Restoran New Hollywood obtain their ingredients from halal-certified suppliers and display certificates stating so at their stalls.
A survey of the shop during lunchtime confirmed its popularity among Muslims, as many could be seen enjoying food from the various stalls such as char kuey teow, chicken hor fun, wan tan mee, fried dough fritters and Hong Kong chee cheong fun.
Engineer Mohammad Sabri, 28, who was sighted having a meal with his Chinese girlfriend, admitted to being a frequent customer of the establishment.
“I come here at least once a week ever since I was a child.
“I especially like the lobak and roti telur goyang here. The food is good and halal, so it is convenient when I want to eat with my girlfriend and my Chinese friends.”
Event planner Mohammad Faitullah Idris, 31, is also a loyal customer at Restoran New Hollywood despite the 15-minute commute from his Gunung Rapat home.
“Although it is a bit far, I like the comfortable environment here and have not heard of any other coffee shop in Ipoh that serves delicious halal Chinese food,” he said.
The customer of over 10 years wished that more Chinese coffee shops would go down the halal route as he and his Muslim friends enjoyed Chinese food.
Restoran New Hollywood, which is located on Jalan Lee Kwee Foh, Canning Garden, is open from 7am to 5pm daily.
For Muslims craving for halal Chinese food at night, Restoran Sin Hoong Fatt which is right behind New Hollywood, operates from 3pm to 10pm.