Kopi tiam

Kopi tiam

A kopitiam or kopi tiam is a traditional breakfast and coffee shop found in Malaysia and Singapore in Southeast Asia. The word is a portmanteau of the Malay word for "coffee" (as borrowed and altered from the Portuguese) and the Hokkien dialect word for "shop" ( _zh. linktext|店; POJ: tiàm). Menus typically feature simple offerings: a variety of foods based on egg, toast, and kaya, plus coffee, tea, and Milo, a malted chocolate drink which is extremely popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore and Malaysia.

In Singapore

"Kopi tiam"s in Singapore are commonly found in almost all residential areas as well as some industrial and business districts in the country, numbering about 2,000 in total [ [http://www.straitstimes.com/Prime%2BNews/Story/STIStory_222798.html The Straits Times Interactive ] ] . Although most are an aggregate of small stalls or shops, some may be more reminiscent of food courts, although each stall has similar appearance and the same style of signage.

In a typical kopi tiam, the drinks stall is usually run by the owner who sells coffee, tea, soft drinks, and other beverages as well as breakfast items like kaya toast, soft-boiled eggs and snacks. The other stalls are leased by the owner to independent stallholders who prepare a variety of food dishes, often featuring the cuisine of Singapore. Traditional dishes from different ethnicities are usually available at kopitiams so that people from different ethnic backgrounds and having different dietary habits could dine in a common place and even at a common table.

"Kopitiam" is also the name of a food court chain in Singapore.

In Malaysia

Kopitiams in Malaysia, like in Singapore are found almost everywhere. However, there are a few differences in kopitiams between both countries. In Malaysia:
* the term kopitiam in Malaysia is usually referred specifically to Malaysian Chinese coffeeshops;
* food in a kopitiam is usually exclusively Malaysian Chinese cuisine;
* kopitiam menus are usually not as informative as those in Singapore, where pictures of food items are the norm;
* food courts and hawker centres are usually not referred to as kopitiams.

Recently a new breed of "modern" kopitiams have sprung up. The popularity of the old fashioned outlets along with society's obsession with nostalgia and increasing affluence has led to the revival of these pseudo-kopitiams. The new kopitiams are fast-food outlets which are reminiscent of the old kopitiams in terms of decor, but are usually built in a more modern, hygienic setting such as a shopping mall rather than in the traditional shophouse, catering mainly for young adults.

This has come after the creation of so-called "coffee culture" by western coffee chains such as Starbucks and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The kopitiams offer a viable alternative wherein the coffee culture could be experienced with local flavour and for a more affordable price.

To offer the true kopitiam experience, modern kopitiams mostly offer authentic local coffee brews, charcoal grilled toast served with butter and kaya (a local version of jam made from coconut milk and eggs) and soft boiled eggs. Some have extended menus where local breakfast, lunch and dinner meals are served.

Today there are no less than 100 brand names of modern kopitiams operating in various parts of Malaysia.

"Coffee shop talk"

"Coffee shop talk" is a phrase used to describe gossip because it is often a familiar sight at kopi tiams where a group of workers or senior citizens would linger over cups of coffee and exchange news and comments on various topics including national politics, office politics, TV dramas, and food.


External links

*imdb title|0185406
* [http://www.waisikkai.com Looking for Malaysian kopi tiam]
* [http://www.pickles-and-spices.com/kopi-tiam.html Recipes for making kopi tiam food]

ee also

* Cuisine of Singapore
* Hawker centre
* Pasar malam, night market
* Mamak stall
* Public house (aka pub), a drinking establishment found mainly in countries influenced by British culture
* Coffeeshop
* Tea restaurant

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