Ray Of Hope Cafe – Where Charity Can Be Delicious!November 4, 2013 | 7,917 views
Pandan Nasi Lemak Rendang Ayam (RM8.50/USD2.80), Hong Kong style Fried Tung Fun (Glass Vermicelli Noodles) (RM5.50/USD1.80), Blueberry Cheese Cake (RM5.80/USD2) and a cup of Teh Tarik (RM2.50/USD0.80)
Confessions time. Raise your hand if you have been struck by that guilty feeling upon reading heart-wrenching stories posted online (usually shared on Facebook); and started to wonder why you haven’t thought of indulging more in charitable deeds rather than in that decadent slice of tiramisu costing upwards of RM20 per serving. Guilty.
Or that moment of realization after grabbing that huge chunk of bonus/commission/incentives after a hard year’s worth of blood, sweat and tears, you decided to splurge on a fine dining feast at a triple digit fee per pax; an amount princely enough to feed a poorer family for a month? Guilty.
It’s not wrong to indulge in life’s finer moments. Everyone deserves a pat on the back sometimes; be it in the form of a traveling package, an expensive gift or a meal fit for a king. But let’s not ignore the pleas of the under-privileged.
Read on for a not-so-typical Motormouth food review.
Ray of Hope Cafe @ Bercham; when doing charity can be delicious.
Today I had the opportunity to drop by Ray Of Hope Cafe in Bercham, Ipoh. It has taken me quite a while to discover this, and a good one year before I was able to visit the cafe today. Main reason being the opening hours of the cafe; which by the way, does not look like one from the outside. So you’d better take note of the picture above.
They are open from 9 am to 5 pm, but only on weekdays. And they are closed on public holidays.
To imagine the frustration of coming back weekends after weekends and long holidays, only to be greeted by closed doors. However, I have tasted some of the freshly baked breads and cookies that Mum used to buy throughout the months.
A place where the special children are not spared from an opportunity to learn, work and live life like a normal person. The lower right pic was actually a designated Family Room for breastfeeding and changing diapers!
Started by Datin Mary Yeoh 3 years ago, Ray Of Hope Cafe looks nothing like an aged premise that has seen better days. Well-kept by the dozen-odd staff; mainly consisting of volunteers and a total of 11 special children with learning difficulties (some autistic children, some with Down Syndrome) gleefully attending to your needs and taking orders patiently.
To them, this venture probably means the WORLD to them. This extended family at Ray Of Hope.
The outlet is certified HALAL, including each and every one of their breads and confectioneries.
While some of the children are trained on servicing the customers, others are groomed on their handicrafts skills. At a room adjacent to the cafe, there were two teenagers focused on making floor mats for sale. A few were in the kitchen helping out the cooks and bakers, while the rest were ever ready to take orders, clear tables, and serve the guests.
What I was not expecting was a handshake extended by Jason; whose Mum is a volunteer here as well. He was the one taking our orders with a smile etched on the face, and effortlessly writing down the orders AND repeat them upon completion, just like any waiter would in other establishments.
Needless to say, I felt humbled at such dedication a kid like him possesses, in the face of adversaries and obstacles.
Cheezy Wedges (RM5.50/USD1.80) which was utterly addictive. Seriously.
If you’re going …oh well, might as well just donate to the organization rather than going all the way for mediocre cafe fares. Then you are dead wrong.
Okay, I was not expecting spectacular cooking as well, or outstanding gourmet breads or cakes.
However, we were pleasantly surprised by a few things;
1. That the quality of the food here are actually more than decent. The Pandan (screwpine leaves) infused Nasi Lemak (coconut milk rice) served with a piece of Chicken Rendang was really scrumptious. Definitely on par with some of the better ones in town. The fried tung fun came with heaps of ingredients, and priced at a very reasonable RM5.50 per portion. Best of all, I enjoyed the cheezy wedges the most. Not expecting anything but ordinary, KFC-quality stuff, the potato wedges here were fresh, without the batter skin falling all over the place, and they make their own cheese sauce for a less salty, yet equally rich flavour.
2. Boy, they CAN really bake good breads, pastries and cookies. The cream puffs (RM1 each) and durian cream puffs (RM1.50 each) came across as signature items, and it’s not hard to see why. The durian ones especially, with real durian flesh mixed into the fresh cream; and every bite was a delightful burst of pungent sensation. The cheese cakes (we had blueberry cheese and lemon cheese) at RM5.80/USD1.90 per slice fared much better than some half-hearted affairs in various bakeries. Yes, even that famous chain sprouting all over the place.
3. Everything here is priced very reasonably. Nothing in the menu goes beyond RM8.90/USD3, even the chicken chop and fish & chips were priced at the ceiling price. Asian fares including various rice and noodle dishes are priced around the realm of RM5 – 6 per portion, and they don’t skimp on the portion either. It’s a wonder how they can manage to keep the place running (it’s a full-fledged, HALAL cafe with air-conditioning and a full team of staff) despite the short hours, extra care into the training processes and the amount of effort channeled into ensuring ONLY quality ingredients are used for the food served.
Lemon Cheese Cake that was a befitting, light finale to the meal
Yes, they do accept donations or better yet, volunteers to help in the education and training of the special kids. However, if this sounds daunting to you, especially if your working hours are exactly the same as their operating hours, then do drop by for a bite whenever you are able to.
“Even if you’re underwhelmed by the food selection, at the very least, your patronage could have meant the world to the child who is serving you.”
*Ray Of Hope Cafe will be opened on Saturdays starting 2014.
RAY OF HOPE CAFE (HALAL)
26, Persiaran Bercham Selatan 31,
Taman Sri Kurau,
31400 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel No : +605-548 8796
GPS : 4.624394,101.124239
Business Hours : 9am to 5pm. Weekdays only.