Beginnings : The Story of Super KintaNovember 23, 2012 | 7,604 views
I posted the shot above on All About Ipoh sometime ago, and this image almost brought tears to many pair of eyes. A little too melodramatic? Maybe.
But not if you are a child of the 80’s and spent most of your childhood and teenage days shopping at Super Kinta, or gradually developing the slight-rebellious nature and ventured over to Kompleks Yik Foong for the arcade games after school. I am sure you can relate to the heart-wrenching tales of how this Ipoh landmark tried desperately to stay relevant in the late 90’s, yet succumbing to the modern charm of Ipoh Parade and Jusco Kinta City sometime around 2003.
This post is a compilation of images taken at the former Super Kinta and its vicinity last weekend. Gather your parents, grandparents or even great grandparents if you will. And grab that tissue box, just in case. Let’s talk a walk down memory lane ……..
Remember to display your MBI parking coupons even if you are parked at the basement. I got slapped with a RM20 fine!
Super Kinta Departmental Store is but a portion of the large premise. The Ipoh Central Market (Pasar Besar Ipoh) is still very much alive and kicking; rendering my visit most fruitful with splendid shots of the camaraderie.
Whether they were grocers bargaining for wholesale goods, trader taking time off and having a late breakfast, a professional fish monger cleaning a fish or whistling while shucking some cockles, the myriad of activities happening in tandem called for candid photography.
Makes you wonder why eggs and plastics go well together?
Fresh supplies of Ipoh’s incomparable ‘taugeh’ or bean sprouts. Simply crunchy, juicy and fat!
Or you can buy packets of yellow noodles or kuey teow (rice noodles) here
“I present to you …. mah beeeeeaaauuuutifulllll FISH!!!!!”
Bundling works for the smarter traders. No point having leftovers when you can sell them in bulk quantities. (RM2.00 per bundle of seafood)
One of the ‘scariest’ areas that I usually avoided when I was a kid tailing Mum or Grandma had to be the butchery section. No brownie points for guessing why.
A floor above the wet market would be the fruits and flowers stalls; where you don’t pay hypermarket prices yet can get the freshest supplies + joyful banter with the traders.
The unmistakable scent of freshly-extracted coconut milk and grated coconut fills the air along this alley; where you see Chinese and Malay-operated stalls selling ‘santan’ (coconut milk) are still thriving.
Then comes the most important part of the visit; a rendezvous with one of my favourite ‘roti canai’ stalls in Ipoh. Though the taste was far from what it was back in the early 90’s (if they’re still made by the same owners, that is … and I have forgotten their faces), the fascinating thought of actually seated there at the food court now barely housing more than a dozen or so stalls was rewarding.
True, the food court could never live up to its prime days; when the lunch crowd (usually consisting of workers from Super Kinta and the wet market stalls) would swarm the stalls and gleefully tucking in to cheap hawker fares.
If you somehow make your way here to nurse that brewing sense of nostalgia, try Lai Kee’s pork chop rice (or you can try Kafe Central’s version; loosely related to Lai Kee’s) instead.
Chan Cheong Kee‘s dried meat and meat floss is still one of my family’s favourite choice during Chinese New Year.
The tour within the square led us to renovation works around the building; a refurbishment of the departmental store? Not entirely.
They are transforming the premise into an Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) (read The Star’s article published in August 2012) in hope or reviving this once-flourishing but now older part of Ipoh, rather than leaving to chance and let the area be conquered by drug addicts and beggars that ply the vicinity come nightfall.
Oh yes. They have removed the PASAR BESAR IPOH fonts and Super Kinta logo for the renovation works. 🙁
Remember the Emporium?
Directly adjacent to the building, you can find a few old structures housing poultry sellers and some odd wild animals traders. Now, if you are wary of stepping on chickens’ droppings, allergic to feathers flying all over the place or cannot stomach the sight of a slaughterhouse, then by all means …. don’t enter.
From tortoises and terrapins, to turkeys, monkeys and even guinea pigs and bull frogs, you are walking into an unofficial zoo here.
The sight of exotic animals (there used to be snakes, if I remember it right) got me so excited and curious back when I was a child. Bull frogs the size of an adult’s palm, and large tortoise easily more than half a century’s old can be found here.
And no, these are NOT pets. Let’s stop going there.
Still the same old colours, Yik Foong still has some tricks up its sleeves … and refuses to hand over the crown to the newer malls!
Around the area, some dilapidated pre-war shophouses have been bought over and refurbished; this coffee shop at the traffic lights of Cockman Street and Hugh Low Street for one, had been painted a fresh coat of red.
Sin Meng Kee still goes strong despite the many new vegetarian restaurants in town
The current fiasco of boycotting certain brands notwithstanding, this McDonald’s holds so much memories for my generation; still remember vividly how we used to drop by after school before tuition classes!
A fresh coat of paint and with no logo in sight, the removal of the iconic Super Kinta logo finally hammered the last nail in the coffin. Goodbye Super Kinta.
*This picture was taken from Images of Ipoh, a fellow admin on the All About Ipoh page.
**Do you have a story to share on Super Kinta? Remember the first Baskin Robbins outlet, the Big Boy’s @ Super Kinta and the aroma of fresh breads? Come and leave your comment or drop me a mail if you’re shy – ipohmotormouth(at)gmail(dot)com.