Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
SUNGAI PETANI, Kedah -- Tucked in an alley next to the Ambassador Hotel, Sai Kow Restaurant is in fact the eatery many locals would recommend tourists to visit. Hence, when mentioned about the restaurant, the scene of dusky alley filled with tables and stools would come into mind. The quick service here and the unmistakable home-cooked flavour have become the talk of the town until this day.
Third generation successor, Chen Lai Zhi confirmed with Sin Chew Daily that the half-century-old shop would be acquired by the developer for re-development later this year.
There are not a lot of historical buildings under comprehensive preservation in Sungai Petani except the old town centre. Besides the restaurant is the once-bustling Empire Cinema.
The cinema used to show numerous blockbuster movies during those years and was a perfect place for young couples to meet and date. However, a massive fire broke out in the 1980s, destroying a big part of the building which has since been abandoned.
Chen said the old buildings were brought by the developer who would demolish them and redevelop them into a modern commercial complex. The development plan is yet to be finalised, the area is poised for redevelopment.
In view of the concerns over the imminent closure of Sai Kow Restaurant, Chen emphasised that the restaurant would cease operation momentarily later this year but would reopen at a new location next year. He insisted that the restaurant business would never be ceased since it has been passed down to him from his great grandparents.
According to Chen, Sai Kow would be moving to a shophouse near the Batu Arang industrial area. Loyal customers who miss the food would have to travel there to savour the restaurant's home-cooked food.
Many of Sai Kow Restaurant's patrons are still unaware of its imminent demolition and relocation.
44-year-old Zhan, who brought a group of scouts to eat at the restaurant, expressed his regrets over the imminent closure, saying that he had been patronising the shop since he was in primary school. He said he would still patronise the shop after it has relocated elsewhere.
Zhan said Sai Kow is a landmark in Sungai Petani that he would recommend to his foreign friends.
Quick service and tasty food
Another long-term customer Lee Meng Hao was shocked after learning about the relocation of the restaurant.
"The dishes served in this restaurant are like mum's cooking. I used to take away food here for lunch because of its quick service and delicious food," said Lee.
"It would be indeed a pity if historical buildings in Sungai Petani have to give way to development. My friends from the United States, Singapore or KL will return to Sai Kow every year when they visit Sungai Petani."