Popular ‘Botak Curry‘ shop to boost village’s tourism and branch out

Gerai Makan Botak’s signature dish is its curry noodle, made using a family recipe since the 1940s.

KLUANG: He has to look clean and tidy when serving food to the customers.

Loh Chin Seng said this was the reason for him to shave his head bald.

“It was my mother’s decision,” said Loh, recalling how he helps his mother operate a curry noodle stall since he turned 12.

She was the sole breadwinner after her husband died during the Japanese Occupation in then Malaya.

Chin Seng, now 80, has been going bald all his life.

While he has no idea how and when his mother learned how to cook curry, he does remember that her mother’s curry noodle was very popular.

“It was the patrons who called our shop Botak Curry,” said Chin Seng who was visibly proud.

He also showed StarMetro the coverage on the shop by Chinese media.

Chin (left) with three generations in the Loh family, Chin Seng (second from left), Pak Choy (yellow shirt) and Jing Xian (black shirt) at their shop in Kampung Baru Paya.
Chin (left) with three generations in the Loh family, Chin Seng (second from left), Pak Choy (yellow shirt) and Jing Xian (black shirt) at their shop in Kampung Baru Paya.

Botak Curry is now on social media and their patrons also include tourists.

The business is now mainly run by Chin Seng’s son Loh Pak Choy, 53, daughter-in-law Liew Loong Chow, 49, and grandson Loh Jing Wen, 28.

Chin Seng is also around the shop to help out.

The family is certainly proud of their heritage and the name of their shop in Kampung Baru Paya here is Gerai Makan Botak (Botak Food Stall).

The villagers, including village chief Chin Siew Peng, are upbeat on the business especially with upcoming plans to promote tourism in the village.

The Loh family has been in the business in this village for the last 30 years.

Liew, a mother of four, describes the business as more than a 12-hour job daily.

She said she had been helping in the business after the birth of her third child, Jia Yu, who is now 25.

Liew said they started to prepare the curry at 3am and business hour is between 7am and 3pm.

The shop’s decor is full of antiques and Liew said they were her husband’s collection.

The family also stays in the two-storey shophouse.

On their plans for expansion, she said her second son, Jing Xian, was now learning how to cook the curry.

Her youngest child Jing Yong is 20.

Liew said they had plans to open an outlet in Johor Baru or Batu Pahat in the near future.

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