Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Visit Ah Meng Restaurant
Singapore, January 13, 2009 - The Singapore Zoo wanted to remember her but a sculpture of her wasn't enough.
So it decided to open two new eateries named after its longtime resident and icon Ah Meng the orang utan who died of old age last year. Called Ah Meng Restaurant and Ah Meng Kopi, the zoo hope it will help keep the memory of is best-known resident alive.
But already, there's an Ah Meng Cafe, operating since 1994, in Orchard Plaza in Orchard Road, catering to locals and tourists.
But the good-natured owner, Michael Tan, 65, a fan of the orang utan, would not be taking action against the zoo for using Ah Meng's name.
He said: "I registered my cafe's name but the zoo has the right to use the same name. But I'm not going to sue them or insist that they change the name," he told SoShiok.com
"I named my restaurant Ah Meng Cafe as Ah Meng is a famous Singapore icon. I kept a photo of Ah Meng having breakfast with Bernard Harrison before. I felt sad when Ah Meng died last year, and I did think of giving up the business. And also partly because I'm old and my children are not interested in the business," Mr Tan added.
His mission in opening the restaurant, which has sidewalk seating, was to help rescue the old street food of Singapore from vanishing. He was in showbiz in his younger days but was influenced by the F & B trade at his performing venues.
In fact, Mr Tan, also nicknamed as "Ah Meng" by regular patrons, has also earned international fame. His cafe, which offers local dishes, seafood and BBQ dishes, is shown in a video to passengers on SIA flights arriving in Singapore.
"SIA has done a good job by introducing foreigners to our cafe," said hardworking Mr Tan whose cafe is open from 11am till as late as 3am if there are still customers at that time.
The Peranakan man declared: "Every dish is authentic. Fish head curry, chilli crab, char siew rice, laksa, hor fun, curry chicken, satay, chicken rice and nasi lemak....Our chicken rice is popular. I learnt cooking before starting this restaurant but today I don't cook as much as my assistants can do those dishes very well."
Singapore Zoo lost its famous icon Ah Meng (left) when she died last year. Zookeeper Sam (seen here with her) was heartbroken.
Ah Meng eateries at the zoo
Singapore food is also the focus of the zoo's Ah Meng Kopi while its Ah Meng Restaurant has both local and western dishes.
Ah Meng Restaurant, located inside the zoo, offers chicken rice, dim sum, otak otak, chwee kuay, vegetarian and chicken briyani (pretty good), alongside western items like spaghetti, sandwiches, salad, hotdogs, fish & chips and cheesecake.
There are also 'Ah Meng flavoured' Durian Puffs...erm...you gotta go there to try them yourself. Don't try to prise our lips, we're not revealing more. Anyway, don't we all know that Ah Meng loved durians?
Located at the zoo's entrance, Ah Meng Kopi offers 'kopitiam' favourites like tea, coffee and dishes like mee siam and mee rebus.
Naming two restaurants after Ah Meng is not inappropriate as she was the star of countless "Breakfast with Ah Meng" events with visitors from all over the world including well-known celebrities.
So check out the new Ah Meng eateries soon and don't forget to say Hello to her - Ah Meng's resting place is by the water's edge of the lake.
And if you're in Orchard Road, drop in at Ah Meng Cafe at Orchard Plaza before Michael calls it a day.
Ah Meng Restaurant
Ah Meng Kopi
80 Mandai Lake Road
Ah Meng Cafe (not related to the zoo)
150 Orchard Road
#01-35 Orchard Plaza
Tel: 67373611/ 67343611