Tag Archives: kopitiam

The Kopitiam Culture

“Kopi O Kosong”

That is how to order a cup of hot black coffee without sugar or cream. I used to say it wrong. I missed the word “kosong”. The one that is served for me was then a black coffee with sugar.

For me, the Malay-style kopitiam has always been interesting. It always seems that people gather here every morning for a chat, while having breakfast and sipping a cup of coffee. Because of this, Malay-style kopitiam has always been full of chatter.

The Kopitiam Style
Typical Kopitiam Set Up at most Malaysian Kopi Tiam

This is especially true over the weekend. On Saturday morning, we went to 77 Food Yard at Pulau Tikus Market. From the name, I guess that at night, this place transformed into a restaurant. But in the morning, 77 Food Yard change into kopitiam.

It is so hard to find a table for four of us that Saturday morning. In fact, there are another kopitiam right across 77 Food Yard. Yet, both are full house. On weekend, after a long walk through the market for their daily needs, people would take a seat and having breakfast. Without the morning rush to office, people will usually spend more time with family and friends.

We did eventually find a nice place outside. The outdoor area has always been my favorite. And this morning, when it is a bit cloudy, the weather is just perfect to bask in the sun.

Cooking the Char Koay Khak
Cooking the Char Koay Khak

After ordering my coffee, I walk around to get my food. In Malay-style kopitiam culture, the owner of the place only sell drinks. Food is sold by stalls that line up in front of the kopitiam, operated by different owner. In fact, you are free to bring your own food, as long as you order drinks from the owner of the place.

Char Koay Teow Char Kwee Tiau

That morning I ordered a lot of food. Char Kwee Tiau has always been my favorite. But the one in 77 Food Yard isn’t really that special. Instead, the char mee sua is much better and more tasty. Grace ordered char koay kak, made from flour and tapioca flour.

We had a good chatter and people watching that morning. Someone approach us, Form the way he greet us, I guess he is a monk. Looking at our 3 years old, the stranger go and bought a teether for our son. Our son is obviously too old for that, but still, we said thank you. Later, people said that the man is crazy. But for me, it is a nice encounter.

The kopitiam culture has changed as time pass. Nowadays, many place label themself as kopitiam, opens in air conditioned shopping malls, while in fact, it is just another restaurant. For me, I would still love the original kopitiam, the culture, the food and the interactions.

Warung Kopi in Pontianak

It was a first flight in the morning. Once we landed at 7:30 am, our friend took us for breakfast at a kopitiam, known locally as warung kopi. I couldn’t help to notice that there are a lot of warung kopi scattered along the road. “Which one are we going to?” I asked them. Having staying in Pontiank for few years, they replied with confidence: “The best one”

So, here is the currated list of warung kopi that we taste within 3 days of our stay in Pontianak.

Warung Kopi Hijas

Forget the rest, except the Fried Banana (Pisang Goreng) on the top of this picture

We joked that the whole city of pontianak is selling fried banana. But the best fried banana can only be found at Warung Kopi Hijas, at Jalan Hijas.

Setting of warung kopi hijas reminds me of kopitiam in Penang, Malaysia. Patrons who order drinks can also order some food from stalls around warung hijas to be enjoyed with the coffee.

Food recommendation: pisang goreng and nasi kuning

Address: Corner of Jalan Hijas and Jalan Suez Permai
Open for Breakfast

Warung Kopi Suka Hati

If one can stand the lack of ventilation in a small room where people smoke, suka hati could be a great place to spend a morning. The small room force people to share a table, which also triggers some chit chat around local gossip.

Food recommendation: talas goreng, pisang goreng, a different style served at warung kopi hijas

Sharing table at Warung Kopi Suka Hati is a way to get to know the locals

Warung Kopi Asiang

A topless big guy with a tattoo that man the kitchen makes him looks like a head of gangster making coffee to fill in his spare time. Don’t mess with him. Nevertheless, this coffee shop serve the best coffee among the three. Could it be the tattoo which has the magic?

Served in small cup with thick ceramic keep the coffee warm much longer. As with most warung kopi, order some food at nearby stall to pair with the coffee

Food recommendation: none. Just come here for the coffee, it is the best.

Address: Jalan Merapi, Pontianak
Open: Morning until 13:00

Definitely the main highlight at Warung Kopi Asiang. He make a good coffee though.