Story and photos By MANJIT KAUR
GURMEET SINGH’s Punjabi food in Ipoh Garden South is a hidden gem though it may be no secret among his regulars.
He has been serving chapati and favourites like mutton and sardine curry for the past 15 years from his stall at Restaurant and Café New Weng Fatt.
Travelling daily from his home in Batu Gajah to Ipoh, he opens his stall at 4pm daily.
No easy task: Gurmeet busy making chapati at his stall.
Between then and 11pm, Gurmeet would be churning out chapatis and parathas non-stop.
“I don’t cook a lot of food, just enough for a night’s business as I do not believe in serving leftovers another day,” he said.
Gurmeet spends about four hours daily to cook his signature dishes which included vegetable, lentils and chicken curry.
Healthy meal: Teik and Yong eating chapati.
“I usually cook the brinjal, ladies fingers and pumpkin the Punjabi style, as well as hot and spicy chicken, mutton and sardine curry,” said the 41-year-old father of two, who learnt the trade while working in Kuala Lumpur previously.
So tasty is Gurmeet’s cooking that his customers are not only Punjabis but also Malaysians of different races, who make a beeline to his stall, especially during dinner time.
“It gives me comfort and joy to see my customers enjoying my food,” he said.
Retired teacher A.W. Teik Swee, 72, travels at least twice a week from across town in Pasir Puteh to Gurmeet’s stall for the chapati.
A must-try: Another of Gurmeet’s vegetarian dish served at his stall.
“We love the chapati and the chicken curry. The curry is not too hot, it suits my taste just fine,” he said.
His wife, Betty Yong, 70, added that the food was not only delicious but also healthy.
“We always end up here when we cannot decide on where to eat,” said Yong.
Another regular customer is Dr Ajit Singh from Lim Garden.
Dr Ajit, 65, who is retired, said he would be at the stall almost every other day after jogging at the Ipoh Padang.
“Having chapati or paratha is a must for most Punjabis and sometimes when my wife does not cook, I pack the food home.
“Even my pet dog, Moti, loves the paratha, so I have to pack some back for him, too.
“Gurmeet’s chapatis are really soft and they can be kept in the freezer and eaten the next day after reheating them in the microwave oven,” he added.
Another customer Yusaini Ismail, 41, a personal bodyguard, said he had been eating there ever since Gurmeet set up stall seven years ago.
“The chapatis here are soft and fresh, and the dishes served are simply delicious,” he added.
Another customer T. Doorai, 57, said Gurmeet’s food was readily available as he hardly closes.
“He is really punctual in opening his stall and his food is freshly cooked and served hot,” Doorai said.