People continue to line up for the rojak in Kampung Baru Pasir Pinji in Ipoh. Never mind that the price is RM6 per packet.
Village chief Lau Yeow Him said patrons came from all over Ipoh and also outstation during weekends.
“The price used to be RM2 a packet and it went up gradually as the cost of doing business increases,” said Lau, who operates a coffeeshop next to the wet market in the new village.
While the RM6 price tag for a packet of rojak may be considered high by Ipoh standards, the Chinese are known to be discerning food lovers and willing to travel and pay for good food.
Many cars with outstation registration plates, from Kuala Lumpur in particular, can be seen all over Ipoh during weekends and public holidays.
There are even Singapore-registered cars, especially during year-end holidays and Chinese New Year.
With highways providing good connectivity, travelling time between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, for instance, is now only about two hours.
“I am not surprised that some of them also come to Pasir Pinji for food.
“They probably grew up in Ipoh and settled down in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or Singapore,” Lau said.
The village, he said, is famous for chee cheong fun (rice noodles), ji ma wu (thick sesame soup dessert) and roast pork.
When asked for the address of the stalls, his answer is: “Just ask anyone when you arrive at the village.”
Lau, 65, who was born and bred in the village, said the village had a number of good cooks from among the older generation.
“Some have set up stalls on their front porch,” he said, adding that the elders had passed down their recipes and cooking skills to their children and grandchildren.
On the village’s potential to become a tourist destination for food, Lau said the villagers generally were laid-back in nature.
“There are people from outstation coming to our village to buy food but I have not seen busloads of tourists so far.
“I also do not think the food vendors here can cope with so many customers coming at the same time,” Lau told StarMetro during a visit to the village.
With some 1,700 residents, Lau said Kampung Baru Pasir Pinji ranked fourth or fifth in terms of population among new villages in Perak.
Like most new villages, Pasir Pinji is a greying community as many youngsters have either moved to big cities for jobs or shifted to new housing estates.
“About 80% of my patrons are elderly villagers. They like our wantan noodles (noodles with dumplings),” said Lau who runs the shop with the help of his 61-year-old wife Chen Hong Mooi.
The shop is on the ground floor and they live upstairs.
Their children are married and living elsewhere.
Husband-and-wife teams operating foodstalls are common in the village.
“The patrons are regulars, old friends and long-time neighbours.
The opening hours may be long but we do not feel tired because of the good company,” Lau said.
His shop is open from 6am to 9pm.
The village chief is also proud to note that the village has a multi-ethnic lion dance troupe which is about 50 years old.
“The troupe is made up of about 100 members.
“While the majority are Chinese, there are also Malay and Indian members and a few Indian trainers,” he said of the troupe that had performed in China.
Kampung Baru Pasir Pinji is certainly a place that is worth exploring.