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Originally from Penang, Moey Fu Ken began his artistic journey in 2014, enrolling in the Bachelor of Fine Arts programme at Hsuan Chuang University in Taiwan.

Majoring in short film directing and scriptwriting, Moey honed his skills in crafting compelling narratives and bringing them to life on screen. Seven years ago, he founded Filmmakers, a video production company with a presence in KL and Penang.

But when the filming industry came to a standstill during the era of MCOs, Moey found himself at a crossroads.

“It was then that I made the decision to embark on a new journey, transitioning into the F&B sector,” he shared with Vulcan Post.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

His F&B career began with Susu Vegan Mylk Bar, a vegan restaurant in George Town with a retro concept.

Looking at the restaurant’s interior and concept, it’s clear that Moey’s creativity and affinity for storytelling still shines—but his medium has shifted away from the screens and instead towards physical spaces.

Not stopping there, the creative entrepreneur also envisioned a space where old-world charm meets contemporary flair. And this vision would manifest as the establishment of Laomei Koperasi Cafe.  

Preserving authenticity

Established in December 2023, Laomei Koperasi is a new addition to George Town’s cafe culture.

“Drawing inspiration from the collaborative spirit, Laomei Koperasi embraces the idea of uniting various individuals under one roof,” Moey said.

As such, patrons of the cafe can find spaces designed for people to join and collaborate with Laomei Koperasi themselves, as they’re all about inclusivity and community involvement.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

In terms of aesthetics, the best way to describe Laomei Koperasi is old-school and nostalgia-inducing. The space features elements of traditional Chinese coffee shops from the 1970s and 1980s, such as old biscuit tins and rattan stools.

“Our aim is not only to offer a cafe experience but also to transport our patrons back in time to the quaint biscuit retail shops of yesteryears,” they said. “It isn’t just a cafe; it’s a testament to preserving and sharing the cultural heritage of Penang.”

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

With an initial investment of RM100K, obtained through various investors, Laomei Koperasi embarked on a mission to revive Penang’s heritage last year.

Unique concoctions

The cafe’s dedication to preserving old Penang’s essence is reflected in its menu as well, using traditional recipes that evoke a sense of nostalgia.

If you’ve been to restaurants in Penang, you might’ve noticed something unique called nutmeg juice. Common in the northern state, the drink is made by juicing nutmeg flesh and supposedly tastes tangy and a little grassy.

But instead of just serving this iconic drink as is, Moey wanted to put a spin to it.

Brainstorming with his friends for a beverage that can encapsulate the spirit of old Penang, someone had suggested creating a fusion of nutmeg, coffee, and a hint of soda water.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

Moey found this blend to be inspired, catering to coffee aficionados as well as those seeking a refreshing drink.

“It’s moments like these, born from collaboration and creativity, that shape the unique offerings at Laomei Koperasi Cafe,” he mused.

Using nutmegs from Balik Pulau, the cafe offers drinks such as nutmeg pandan, nutmeg coconut, and of course, nutmeg coffee.

Beyond the beverages themselves, something unique about the drinks is the glassware it’s held in.

The artisan-printed glassware used in the cafe is designed by the team itself, produced locally in Penang. Similar to the brand’s ethos, these glasses are meant to capture Penang’s heritage. And yes, they can be purchased from the store.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

“These glassware items serve as more than just souvenirs; they’re a tangible connection to the wonder and charm of Penang, allowing tourists to take a piece of our local heritage back to their hometowns,” Moey shared.

In addition to their beverages, Laomei Koperasi also offers a selection of old-fashioned biscuits and homemade buttercake.

A piece of Penang

Although only three months old, Moey said that the response, especially from tourists, has been promising, as they appreciate the nostalgic 70s vibe.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

“However, I strongly believe that Laomei Koperasi can reach even greater heights. I’m confident that our unique concept of a 70s old heritage cafe in Penang holds immense potential,” the founder said.

Managing two shops simultaneously, Moey admitted that it can be rather demanding, especially for someone relatively new to the F&B sector. Yet, Moey finds himself invigorated by the process.

In the short term, he plans to expand their menu by adding food or snacks that were popular in the 70s or 80s, further enhancing the nostalgic experience at Laomei Koperasi.

Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe

But looking ahead, the long-term strategy involves incorporating more tourist souvenirs into the shop. Blending food, drinks, and souvenirs, Moey wants the cafe to be a one-stop shop that offers visitors a comprehensive experience of Penang’s heritage.

“Should our concept resonate with both tourists and locals, I’m fully committed to expanding Laomei Koperasi from a single establishment to a chain, ensuring that more people can immerse themselves in the unique charm of our heritage café,” Moey said.

  • Learn more about Laomei Koperasi Cafe here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Laomei Koperasi Cafe / Jin Theng

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(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)