IT WAS full house at several eateries, souvenir and confectionery shops during the recent Hari Raya break.
Those taking the opportunity to return to Ipoh, whether to celebrate the occasion or to be with families, did not miss the chance to visit their favourite restaurants and coffeeshops or buy popular snacks. Some also took the opportunity to buy handmade souvenirs.
Ng Sook Peng, 48, who runs a store selling handmade souvenirs, said there were hundreds of people who thronged her shop over the first three days of Hari Raya.
Her stall, called The Living Art, mainly sells ceramic items, accessories and cotton print dresses.
She said the crowd comprised mainly those from outstation who came back for the weekend.
“I had a pair of unique ceramic flower vases which I call Lady of Joy depicting a lady dressed in baju kebaya holding on to the pottery item.
“The two pieces on display were already sold to a person from Kuala Lumpur, but I had a few others who told me to make them the exact vases, which they will collect later.
“On normal days, those operating the stalls here depend on the weekend crowd. However, sales is usually good during any festival or long weekends,” said Ng.
Leong Chai Yuen, who runs a stall called Ipoh Craftnerds, said the business was set up by a group of local artisans and craft enthusiasts.
She said during the Hari Raya weekend, there were many people who visited Ipoh old town for the food, view the murals as well as shop for souvenirs and foodstuff.
Leong, who specialises in selling decorative cushions and magnets featuring Borneo Pygmy elephants, said she wanted to create awareness among the people that the smallest species of mammal in the world could only be found in Borneo.
“They are highly endangered species. With my creations, people who purchase the cushions not only get to see them in colourful batik or other material, they will also get to know the history of the elephants.
“Those who visited my stall were interested and happy to get such information,” said Leong.
Lim Kean Kit, the manager of Lim Heong Yuen Confectionery at Jalan Yau Tet Shin, said there were many people who visited the shop over the weekend to purchase the ever-popular heong peah (crispy biscuits filled with caramel), chicken biscuit and Ipoh white coffee.
He said the crowd was encouraging during the three-day break, as visitors, especially those from outstation, bought packets of the snacks.
“The scenario is similar during long breaks, where people from outside Ipoh throng the city to get their favourite foodstuff.
“They usually buy a lot because they are unable to find them once they return to work,” said Lim.
Sim Lai Kuen, 54, who sells mua chee (steamed glutinous flour rolled in groundnuts) at Panglima Lane, which is also known as Concubine Lane, said many people visited her stall set up in a coffeeshop.
Sim, who has been selling the delicacy for the past 20 years, observed that most of the crowd over the long weekend were from outside Ipoh.
“After enjoying a scrumptious meal, many people dropped by to have mua chee for dessert. During the peak period I was preparing the sweet dish non-stop,” she said.
A trader selling fried noodles at a coffeeshop said many people visited the area over the weekend.
The trader, who only wished to be known as Siah, said people had to wait to be seated, as the crowd was just overwhelming.