A steep staircase leads to the tea and antique gallery upstairs, where customers can enjoy their in-house blend. The gallery also doubles up as a small performing arts space, with Tee occasionally hosting Chinese golden oldies shows with a local songstress and performances with local Chinese theatre groups.
“We have the space, so why not give them the opportunity and allow people to be exposed to local culture,” says Tee, whose appreciation for heritage developed and grew from his education and travels abroad.
Currently pursuing his other passion as a film producer alongside distinguished Taiwan-based Malaysian director Tsai Ming-Liang, Tee believes that investing love into his business made it a success.
Indeed, Old China Café is now a thriving restaurant, gaining recommendations from tourists as a ‘must visit’ place in Kuala Lumpur. Tee and his business partner have also expanded to Central Market Kuala Lumpur for a few years now, and will soon open another quaint establishment in Penang by Christmas.
Tee wants Old China Café customers to “experience” the legacy of our past. From the interior to the food, he hopes that they will be able to feel the old world charm of Malaysia’s precious heritage contributed by the Chinese community.
It is about appreciating what we have and where we’ve come from, as Tee summarises, “We’re so rich in culture, but we don’t even realise it.”