By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

In a leafy tucked-away bungalow, on Jalan Windsor, off Gopeng Road, right next to the Keris Property building, sits Chang Jiang White Coffee, a shady haven with an open patio (air-conditioned rooms inside) dotted with old coffee roasting utensils in memory of a time when the coffee industry was all handcrafted.

Husband and wife team Kong Kin Loong MD and Foong Choa Mun cheerfully regaled me with Chang Jiang’s history, a long established one of more than 40 years. Kong’s father who started the coffee shop (in a different location as the current one is only four years old) experimented with different roasting recipes, finally settling on the one which Foong claims is now supplying more than 80% of the coffee shops in town, not to mention all over Malaysia and they are eyeing the export market as well.

Claiming to be THE original white coffee, Chang Jiang, named for one of the great rivers of China, not only serves coffee but now, known for their innovation, they are one of the first to produce a ‘Tsam’, a blending of coffee and tea that coffee aficionados rave over. Called Khaw Khaw, this is a registered trade mark from Chang Jiang, and this delectable mixture is a “must try” here.

But Chang Jiang the restaurant is not only a place for coffee which is made in the old style traditional way...with a coffee sock to allow all the fragrant oils to ooze out from the beans and infuse the resultant coffee. Here in this spacious bungalow with small private rooms off the main dining room off Jalan Gopeng, you can eat classic dishes with its tsing (in Cantonese meaning clear or pure) style of simple cooking with minimal embellishments, allowing the food to speak for itself.

Childhood memories set in for me as the food was placed on the table. This is the food I grew up with!

White bread, toasted or steamed, slathered with generous chunks of butter (not margarine!) and homemade kaya (an egg and coconut cream custard, that is spreadable and eaten like jam), twinned with a soft-boiled egg, even served in the old-fashioned metal cup. I had the toasted version, the crunch of biting into the crispy thin slices, the dryness of the bread ameliorated by the now melting butter and sweetened by the fragrant kaya, sitting there with my piping hot cup of White Coffee, I was lost in memory lane! And youthful nostalgia; RM5.10.

Their menu is a simple one with rice, soup and noodles predominating. Snack dishes can be added to or eaten on its own with the rice or noodles.

Their Signature Noodle is a veritable cornucopia of deliciousness. On the menu it proudly states, “Taste of 100 years, traditional homemade style” this dry noodle dish has a piece of all their signature snack dishes in it. One whole chicken feet, braised to chewy tenderness, half a soya egg, a piece of tofu, greens and minced chicken, the noodles are ‘al dente’ and delicious; RM9.20. Individual snack dishes of soya eggs, tofu and chicken feet are RM5.20.

Their Signature Rice dish is equally delectable. Stating that the recipe comes from Kong’s family and created by the 4th generation, this rice is mixed and not fried, with minced chicken, mildly flavoured and topped with scallions. A very clean, pure taste and texture; RM7.50.

And guess what? They have macaroni soup, that childhood dish beloved of many children, this scribe included. Especially when I was down with a fever, my grandma would make this for me. You can have this wet or dry with minced chicken and their special ‘Hometown Ball’ a blend of chicken and fish paste; RM7.20. Hometown Ball fried or in soup as a snack; RM5.20.

And of course, what Cantonese restaurant can operate without their wonton? Here they have the soup wonton and the fried wonton. And you can have it served with or without noodles; RM8.20. Wonton alone as a snack, fried or in soup; RM5.20.

Generally, the food here at Chang Jiang is very tsing, simple home cooked recipes with a mix and match element that one can tailor to one’s taste buds and appetites for the day. Just sitting and enjoying a cup of white coffee or their ‘Tsam’ and nibbling on a snack or two or having a full blown meal. The choice is yours. And in very pleasant surroundings too. And while waiting for your meal or after, browse in their shop and take home some of their well packaged goodies whether it be coffee, tea, ‘Tsam’ or whatever takes your fancy.

Chang Jiang White Coffee
7 Jalan Windsor, 30250 Ipoh.
Tel: 05-2538896
GPS: 4°35’22.1”N 101°05’45.6”E
Business hours: 8am-6pm