Kopitiam is a charming Malaysian cafe, drawing its inspiration from the traditional Malaysian coffee shops, also known as kopitiams. In Malaysia, these cozy, unassuming spots have been the go-to places for people seeking comforting food and a sense of community. Kopitiam used to be located in a small shop on Canal Street, but that one closed, and a new, and bigger Kopitiam opened on East Broadway.
The food on the menu is mainly small plates and snacks, with a good selection of both sweet and savory items and they’re serving Malaysian breakfast all day. At Kopitiam, no additives or artificial coloring are used, and the ingredients are sourced directly from Malaysia or from nearby markets. Kopitiam also has a good selection of traditional Malaysian hot and cold drinks, and if you’re a coffee drinker, I would suggest you get one of the Malaysian coffees with condensed milk, which are sweet and delicious.
When I’m at Kopitiam on my own, I can never choose between Nasi Lemak and Kaya toast so I often end up getting both, but ideally, you should go to Kopitiam with a couple of friends, and order a bunch of different things to share.
When I had lunch with Julia at Kopitiam, she suggested that we ordered the Pandan chicken which is minced chicken triangles wrapped in pandan leaves and served with sweet chili sauce, and lobak (two deep fried five-spice pork rolls wrapped in beancurd sheet, cilantro, sweet chili sauce). I had never tried any of the two before, but they were both delicious, and something I would want to order again, so what am I going to do when I’m visiting Kopitiam on my own next time? I think I’ll need to bring more friends so I can order all the different Kopitiam dishes that I’m craving:)
A bit about Nasi Lemak and Kaya Toast
Nasi Lemak is considered Malaysia’s national dish but it’s also a popular dish in Singapore and Indonesia. Nasi Lemak is usually eaten for breakfast and consists of fragrant coconut rice served with accompaniments like crispy anchovies, roasted peanuts, hard-boiled or fried egg, cucumber, and fiery sambal sauce. The sambal at Kopitiam is made in-house, and you can add additional sambal to your Nasi Lemak for $1.
Kaya toast is toasted white bread slathered with butter and kaya, which is a sweet, creamy spread made from pandan, coconut milk, sugar, and eggs. It has a slightly floral, delicious flavor and a beautiful green color. Delicious together with a cup of strong tea or coffee.
Shop Pandan kaya and sambal from Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen – Handmade in New York City: