Today is the last day of operations for 17-year-old Ming Tien food court in Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya, as it makes way for a mixed development project.
The Taman Megah badminton hall located next to the food court will also be ceasing operations. Adjacent business Fun Cheer souvenir shop has already closed while Megaherbs and Food supermarket relocated to a nearby shoplot in Jalan SS24/8.
Ming Tien, comprising over 60 stalls, was known for its wide variety of hawker food, open-air ambience and waiters dressed in Hawaiian shirts.
On Aug 17, StarMetro reported that developer PPB Group would offer a piece of land near Cheras Leisure Mall as alternative site for Ming Tien’s hawkers to relocate.
StarMetro spoke to several stakeholders about the closure.
Hawkers keep fire burning
There is some good news for Ming Tien food court patrons.
The hawkers will be moving to premises in either Bandar Utama, Jalan Kelang Lama or Cheras.
Jenny Tan of Vince Penang Grill Fish said she and a few hawkers would relocate to the building previously known as Zam Zam Cafe in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, which was scheduled to open on Nov 16.
“Some hawkers are planning to take a break until the alternative site in Cheras is ready, which we understand is sometime near Chinese New Year.
“We were told this place could accommodate about 40 stalls.
“Some hawkers moved out before the Oct 31 deadline and found their own premises, as they needed to earn money and could not wait for the other places to be ready,” said Tan.
Besides Vince Penang Grill Fish, the stalls that will move to Bandar Utama are the ones selling fish head curry, wan tan mee, satay, ramen and belacan fried chicken.
“The bosses at Ming Tien gave us several options and it was up to us to decide where we wanted to go,” said Tan, who has been running Vince Penang Grill Fish with her husband Vincent Lim for 29 years, including 17 years in Ming Tien.
“Most of us have been at Ming Tien for a long time, so we are following them to their new location,” she said.
While Tan, 55, will be operating from Bandar Utama after this, she planned to also open a stall at the new food court in Cheras once the place was ready.
“There was a drop in business since early October as people wrongly assumed that Ming Tien would close earlier, because of inaccurate stories reported in other media.
“But I have had loyal customers who came by when they found out about the closure and got my contact details so they can continue patronising my stall,” she said.
Tan added that her stall’s multi-racial customers enjoyed her grilled fish and seafood dishes as they knew she used pork-free ingredients.
Moy Qin, who has been selling fish head and seafood curry at Ming Tien for more than a decade, had made many memories in the food court.
“I am sad about the closure. We have no choice except to decide on our alternatives if we want to continue our business.
“It is also sad that the hawkers will be splitting up and moving to different places, as many of us have become friends after being at Ming Tien for so long,” she said.
The 50-year-old added that she wanted to remain in Petaling Jaya as she was unfamiliar with Kuala Lumpur.
Another group would relocate to K88 Food Court in Taman Goodwood, Jalan Kelang Lama, Kuala Lumpur.
P. Aravindan, who runs Ooookayboss, a naan and tandoori stall, will be among the latter.
“I choose to move to K88 because it is as big as Ming Tien,” said the 33-year-old, adding that the other stallowners moving to K88 included those selling fried seafood, rojak, pasta and chicken wings.
“I am sad about the closure as business has been good and we have seen at least three generations of customers patronising our stall,” he said.
Aravindan’s family operated at Ming Tien for 13 years, before which they were located in Damansara Uptown.
“We have had many customers coming over to say farewell. Many took my business cards and said they would continue supporting me at the new food court,” he said, adding that he would begin operations at K88 by mid-November but was unsure if he would eventually move to Cheras.
Meanwhile, Yet Hon Yoong said he would be relocating to Restoran Ming Tien in Bandar Sunway.
His Original Penang Style Fried Kuey Teow stall offers the noodles fried with duck egg.
“There has been a drop in customers this past month as people assumed we closed in early October.
“But the regulars said they would still come to my stall after I relocate,” said Yet, whom customers know as Yoong.
The hawkers’ contact details are as follows – 016-284 9608 (Vince Penang Grill Fish), 012-580 8526/ 012-292 8556 (Fish Head Curry), 010-888 8509 (Original Penang Style Fried Kuey Teow) and www.facebook.com/ooookayboss (Ooookayboss).
PPB Group Berhad, through its property arm PPB Property Development Sdn Bhd, plans to build a mixed development project at the site currently occupied by Ming Tien food court and its neighbouring businesses.
StarMetro reported that the project comprising residential and retail spaces will occupy a 1.36ha of the plot in Taman Megah.
There will be two access points for the commercial side – via Jalan SS24/9 and Jalan SS24/8, while the residential block will be accessible from Jalan SS24/10.
PBB Group property division chief operating officer Chew Hwei Yeow said Taman Megah residents had been briefed since 2015 at several meetings and townhall sessions.
Traffic plans were modified based on residents’ feedback and the company also redesigned the project to accommodate concerns such as parking space.
Chew said the proposed redevelopment project received planning permission from Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on Nov 2 last year while the approval for the building plan was received on May 15 this year.
Work is expected to start either next month or in December and will take four years to complete.
“PPB Group has identified a site in Taman Segar, Cheras, which we are offering to Ming Tien food court hawkers as an option in the relocation.
“We have submitted the necessary applications to Kuala Lumpur City Hall for their approval,” Chew added.
City council’s approval
MBPJ Corporate Communi-cations assistant director Abdul Hakim Khiruddin said the council imposed strict conditions on the proposed redevelopment project.
“The developer had to take into account issues such as traffic flow, pedestrian walkway, bicycle lane, community facilities, noise pollution and residents’ feedback,” he said, adding that the developer’s plan had to include building a covered walkway from the project to the nearest LRT station.
“Another condition was that the developer had to conduct briefings for affected residents and shopowners on their construction schedule and how they planned to mitigate traffic,” he said, adding that the entire process took about a year, before approval was given.
Residents await traffic plan
Taman Megah Residents Association chairman Alex Leong said residents had not received the finalised traffic plan from the developer.
“We are unclear about the traffic flow here during the construction stage.
“The developer last told us that they were awaiting MBPJ’s approval,” he said, adding that the association’s last meeting with the developer was in August.
Leong said the developer had also assured them that no workers would be staying in “kongsi” houses within the construction site and that only certain roads would be used by its heavy vehicles.
However, residents were unclear which roads would be affected.
SS25A Rukun Tetangga vice-chairman Steven Ng reiterated his concerns about the project’s impact on traffic congestion in the neighbourhood.
“No signage has been posted at the site, so we are still do not know the project’s final details,” he said.
Swansong for SS15 eatery
Today is also Asia Cafe’s last day.
In August, it was reported that the famous food court in SS15, Subang Jaya, would close at the end of the year but no exact date was given.
Asia Cafe general manager Raymond Khoo confirmed that the date was brought forward, but did not elaborate why.
“We need to start the project very soon. We have already started relocating power cables,” he said.
The food court will be demolished in mid-November to make way for a 30-storey small-office-home-office project.
Khoo said he was not sure where the food court’s 25 tenants would move to as they were told to find a new location on their own. They were given three months’ notice to move out.
Asia Cafe, which began operations in 2004, was open from 7am to 4am daily.
In 2003, Mediaraya Sdn Bhd acquired the land that Asia Cafe sits on.
Speaking of how Asia Cafe was set up, Khoo said that initially, they did not know what to do with the land but realised that the crowd consisted of mostly students.
“Students want a place to hang out and so we created an area where you can have food and entertainment. In that way, we were different compared to the usual food courts,” he said.
Asia Cafe also housed a bird enclosure and the birds had been given to a pet store.
Khoo is thankful for all the support Asia Cafe customers have shown over the years.
“In the future, if we open Asia Cafe again, we hope they will come back and support us again,” he said, adding that they would consider reopening Asia Cafe in the future if there was a suitable place.
Khoo clarified that a banner advertising the opening of an “Asia Cafe 2” at the former PappaRich in Jalan SS15/8 had nothing to do with them.
“I have spoken to the person advertising it and told him that they cannot call it Asia Cafe 2 because we have already trademarked the name.
“If they want to use the name, they have to ask us first.
“It is good if they continue the concept but they must not use our trademarked name,” he said.
One last Chinese tea
Some of Asia Cafe’s customers have expressed shocked that it will be closed today instead of a later date.
Esther Tan was surprised and upset over the early closure.
“I used to go there for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even supper! I used to order lamb chop, chicken rice and the Indomee Goreng. I will also miss the people that go around calling out ‘fresh fruits, fresh fruits’,” she said.
Kylie Teh, a former student at one of the colleges in the area, said Asia Cafe was a go-to place for her.
“It was the place you would go to when your friends could not agree on where to eat, because everyone could find something to eat there.
“Asia Cafe is an iconic landmark of Subang Jaya and it saddens me to see that another commercial lot will be taking over this spot, and possibly create more unnecessary traffic issues along the way,” she said.
A Facebook group called Drink One Last Chinese Tea was created calling for loyal customers of the food court to enjoy the facilities, drinks and food for the last time today.
A total of 6,777 people have shown interest in the event, with 2,017 clicking “yes” to attending the event from midnight till noon today.
Members of the group also shared about their favourite food or drinks at the foodcourt while others shared details of where some tenants would relocate to.
For example, Facebook user Praveen Naidu said the Happy Kitchen stall that sold dishes such as Thai Fish Rice would be moving to Rajawali Food Court at Level P5 of Menara Rajawali in Jalan SS15/8, Subang Jaya.