Experience the new-look Mee Ho Seng Kee

I shared my story in November 2018 about how the noodle brand, Mee Ho Seng Kee, developed from a pushcart into a mall café and continues serving their family recipe noodles to regulars and a new generation of noodle fans.

Facade of the new-look Ho Seng Kee
at level six of Johor Baru City Square
Elton Ho, the third-generation operator of the Mee Ho Seng Kee brand of noodles, took their family business to a whole new level when he made the bold move to open the business in Johor Baru City Square.

It must have taken a great deal of courage and foresight for Elton to make such a brave decision to move his family business, which started from a one-man-operated-push-cart into a modern, air-conditioned café within one of the most popular malls in our city.

This move to operate their noodle business within a mall café was indeed a radical change that not only required a new service format but was also traumatic for regulars.

As Elton braved the challenges that came with this change, he welcomed new fans to his family recipe of noodles and was reassured when regulars started to find their way to his noodle café in the mall.

The Chinese character for the word,
Mian (Mandarin) which means, noodles
When I was compiling Johor stories for my book sequel, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People, I decided to include Mee Ho Seng Kee among the subjects under Heritage Traders and document their family business for posterity.

Prior to my book launch in December 2018, I was pleasantly surprised when Elton made a preorder of 30 books for diners at Mee Ho Seng Kee to win them in a Lucky Draw!

Less than 12 months after my book was launched, I was thrilled to discover that Elton had plans to expand his business and increase the café floor space – double the space – and renovation was already in progress!

He explained that the renovation would take time because business would still be on-going while the renovation of the kitchen and dining area would go on stage-by-stage.

In early December 2019, I brought a visitor from Kuala Lumpur to have a taste of Mee Ho Seng Kee and I also had a glimpse of the renovated section of the noodle café.

Elton Ho behind the cashier's counter
For a while the entrance to the café was temporarily shifted to another side to accommodate the renovation going on at the original dining area.

When we arrived at the reception counter, I observed the way the queue of diners waited before they were welcomed to their tables.

With a larger dining area, I saw that there was a system in place to seat diners in a smooth and orderly manner.

When I was in JB City Square again in mid-January 2020, I did not miss the opportunity to drop in at Mee Ho Seng Kee to check out the new-look and enjoy a meal of familiar noodles.

I was delighted to see that the café façade had changed, with the entrance back to its original position and opened even wider.

Behind the cashier's counter, the affable Elton was all smiles as he welcomed me into the café.

He was happy to introduce the new additions to the café menu that included rice dishes, as well as traditional Cantonese desserts like Black Sesame Paste and Almond Paste, which he was proud to say, were made from fresh ingredients.

The brand name, Ho Seng Kee, is proudly engraved
on the backs of these wooden chairs
The interior decoration was neat and contemporary, and I when I reached out to pull out my chair, I could feel some etching on the back of the wooden chair.

And when I looked, I saw that the brand name, Ho Seng Kee in Chinese characters, was engraved on the back of the wooden chairs!

Elton left the menus for me to pick my choice and assured me that he will assign an English-speaking waiter to take my order.

It did not take long for me to select the Breakfast set of original kon-lo-me or dry-tossed-noodles with a dash of chilli, that came with a side of soup and a cup of hot brewed coffee.

My Breakfast set meal with a cup of hot brewed coffee
When I took a sip of the hot coffee, I was impressed that it tasted strong and rather good!

I was pleased that the taste and texture of their family recipe noodles were as consistently agreeable as when it was served from the stall that Elton and his father used to run, years ago.

I watched as the tables in the café quickly filled up with diners who were arriving for a mid-morning snack.

And just as I finished my noodles, two bowls of warm desserts, Black Sesame Paste (Black) and Almond Paste (White) were served to my table.

Black Sesame Paste [Left] and Almond Paste warm desserts
Elton was proud of the Almond Paste, a traditional favourite among the Cantonese, (even though we agreed that its unique flavor is an acquired taste!) and was pleased to serve these quality desserts here.

I thought the rice dishes, snacks, brewed coffee and warm traditional Cantonese desserts, all add up to a better dining experience at Mee Ho Seng Kee.

When I saw a queue of diners patiently waiting to be seated, I guessed that the consistently good noodles, customer loyalty, courteous and efficient service, each play a part in keeping the Mee Ho Seng Kee brand in the forefront of quality noodles here.

Mee Ho Seng Kee [Non-Halal] noodle café is located at Level 6, Johor Baru City Square, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Baru. Open daily from 10am to 9.30pm.

A section of the diners in the new-look Mee Ho Seng Kee noodle cafe in JB City Square
Read the Mee Ho Seng Kee story under Heritage Trades in my book, My Johor Stories 2: Interesting Places and Inspirational People.

This book and My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage are available from MPH bookstores nationwide and online via www.mphonline.com

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