Another day, another heartbreaking news. Just a few days ago, we heard about the closure of Subang Jaya’s famous makan spot, SS15 Asia Cafe… and now, there is news of MING TIEN closing down too!
If you live in Petaling Jaya or outside of it, you might have been to Taman Megah’s popular Ming Tien food court for their “peng, leng, cheng” (cheap, nice, delicious) food. This iconic place is basically a foodie’s heaven with more than 60 hawker stalls selling local favourites and other cuisines. Whenever you have friends from abroad who want to taste local food, Ming Tien is the right place for them.
There is also a popular badminton court and a multipurpose gift shop. Sadly, all of them will be demolished by the end of October.
CILISOS went to Ming Tien to speak to the owner to learn more, but he/she wasn’t around during the times we visited the place, so we spoke to the supervisor and hawker taukehs instead…
People have actually tried to stop the new development, but to no avail
According to supervisor of Ming Tien, known as Ah Yong, Robert Kuok from PPB Group bought the land in 2014. And actually right, the project of redeveloping Ming Tien has actually been proposed a couple of times for the past few years. It’s been extended many times cos residents have been objecting the decision. However, the number of objections forms received were only 1,400 and it wasn’t enough to halt the development.
The plan to rezone Ming Tien into a mixed development will see a 31-storey serviced department, retail and office space.
But you know what else we found out when we spoke to the people in Ming Tien? *plot twist*
Actually, Ming Tien food court isn’t really closing down… it’s relocating to Cheras!
The supervisor of Ming Tien, known as Ah Yong, corrected us that it will not be closed down officially. Instead, they’ll be moving to CHERAS under the same name. But before you get excited, know that only 50 hawker stalls will get to move out from Ming Tien PJ to Ming Tien Cheras.
We don’t know exactly where in Cheras, but one of the hawkers told us that it MAY be in Cheras Leisure Mall. (But even she wasn’t sure herself, so just keep your ears peeled!)
We managed to talk to some of our personal favourite stalls to find out if this would be the end of the road for them or not.
1. Duck egg Penang Char Kuey Teow stall: the taukeh known as Ah San is a Penangite who has been in this business for 17 years. When he heard about the closing of Ming Tien Taman Megah, he knew it was time for him to go back to his home at Bukit Mertajam to look after his 80-year-old father.
“I’m 60 something this year – I’m old already. It’s time for me to retire and hand it over to my trusted disciples. I believe in their skills to stir-fry CKT. My father needs me back in home.” – Ah San
Turns out, his CKT business is all over Klang Valley. For Taman Megah folks, you can find his nearest stall at Bandar Puteri, Puchong. Ah San also told us that his disciple will be moving to Cheras along with some of the hawker stalls from Ming Tien.
2. Taiwanese Spicy Sausage stall: We’ve got good memories at Mr Wong’s stall… in fact, we once lab-tested some of the spiciest dishes around town, and the popular Ming Tien Spicy Sausage won #1 at a killer 44,445.57 SHU!
The owner of the stall, Mr Wong, told us that he has been operating for 12 years and he confirmed with us that he will be moving out to Cheras.
” My disciple and I will move out with some of the hawker stalls. It’s quite sad but you will still see us in Cheras. It’s a good place here for everyone but what’s confirmed is true.” – Mr Wong
3. Grilled seafood stall: Also another one of our favourites! Stall owner Jenny and her husband have been in the business for 26 years and have operated at Ming Tien for 17 years.
“The news came out in 2014 but it wasn’t confirmed yet, but now, Ming Tien has been bought over by PPB Group so we have no choice but to move out. We love it here but the location at Cheras will be bigger and nicer for us. Overall, we’re okay with it.” – Jenny
Jenny has been interviewed by The Star for her femes grilled seafood. When we asked her questions, she answered everything fluently like a pro. We also spent some time talking about her family and their jobs, but that’s a story for another day.
Will our favourite yamcha spots still around for another 10 years in Malaysia?
Sometimes, even the most popular or well-established places can’t survive under the hand of re-development. In fact, even an old building that was sooo close to being given a heritage status got torn down for the same reason.
Buildings aside, it’s the culture of yamcha-ing that truly holds an anchor in our hearts. Places like Ming Tien serves a great purpose for yamcha-ing cos we know we won’t get kicked out no matter how long we stay at our table, even if we’re only having 1 cup of Chinese tea with one leg up on the chair.
It also gives us a taste of home while reminding us of much simpler times… like having fish ball noodles with our parents (or them with their parents) for way less than RM5 a bowl.
While hipster cafes have reached their peak, it’s actually our humble little kopitiams and food courts that hold a special place in our hearts, regardless of age or generation.
So while it may be sad to Ming Tien at Taman Megah go, let’s hope that our other favourite yamcha spots would still be around as we all grow old. For now, we’re gonna indulge in Ming Tien PJ’s food before the curtain closes in October.