A blog about food in Thailand
and elsewhere.


Posted date:  March 23, 2007


In Bangkok nowadays you can find Sri Lankan, Korean, regional Japanese, southern Indian, Persian, Burmese and Lao restaurants, among others, but until recently, no Malaysian. Not a single restaurant. I find this exceedingly odd, as Malaysian food is undeniably delicious, and many of the ingredients and flavours of Malaysian cooking are identical to Thai. Not to mention the fact that Thai food (in particular tom yam) is very popular in Malaysia–why not the opposite?

This will probably remain a mystery, but I was delighted to come across Kopitiam, a Malaysian cafe/restaurant on Thong Lor. Kopitiam literally means coffee shop, but this tiny restaurant also serves a variety of Malaysian and Thai dishes. The owner, Georgette, is a native of Kuala Lumpur who has lived in Bangkok for 18 years. After several years of making Malaysian food for her friends, she decided to spread the love and open her own place, and the restaurant has been open about half a year now.

With her guidance, I began with nasi lemak, rice cooked in coconut cream and served with a variety of side dishes:


Kopitiam’s version was served with the traditional accompaniments of crispy fish and peanuts, squid sambal, a boiled egg, and somewhat unusually, the owner’s savoury beef rendang. Nasi lemak is a simple dish, but very nice, and everything was excellent, the flavours just as I remember from breakfast in Penang or KL.

I also had rojak, the Indo-Malay-Singaporean salad of crispy fruits and veggies:

my second dish this week. I’m not enough of a rojak expert to authoritatively differentiate between this and Boon Tong Kiat’s, but will venture to say that I found Kopitiam’s dressing a bit richer. Georgette was kind enough to show me hae ko, the prawn paste that is the essential ingredient in this sauce.

Kopitiam also serves Malaysian favourites such as roti canai, a couple kinds of laska, and of course, teh tarik. If you live in Bangkok and you’re craving Malaysian you really don’t have any other choice, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be disappointed.

117/C Panjit Tower, Sukhumvit Soi 55
02 381 5881

8 Comments for Kopitiam

now this is enlightening, i dint know of such a place too!!! lol. chinese/straits rojak r supposedly similar with some differences in ingredients(fruits). some even uses bbq taufu (beancurd) or boiled morning glory or cuttlefish, some does not.

however, there is a vast difference between chinese and indian-muslim ‘rojaks’. the indonesian version should be the gado gado with a lot of soy by-products.

hi, thanks for the post. just check out kopitiam and must say the dishes are really authentic. i had hokkien mee and blow me down, it even had chu yah char (pieces of lard) in it!!! my gf had laksa mee which to an ipohan like myself, find it amusing that it’s actually curry mee!! anyway, taste wise, its good and even my thai gf gives it a thumbs up, which is quite rare since most thais i know have not really accepted malaysian cuisine.

anyway, the sambal is also very original in taste, though a little spicier would be nice. all in all, nice atmosphere and original food !!! good, ho ho sek

Hey Austin, from the look of it, this kopitiam seems very authentic…the nasi lemak looks absolutely delightful.

I am glad that you can have your Malaysian fix now in BKK. 🙂

On a visit to Kuala Lumpur last year, I discovered the opposite–no real Thai food (tom yum pizza doesn’t count). I couldn’t figure out how two countries so close to each other and who use many of the same ingredients wouldn’t have good versions of each other’s food. It seemed crazy that I could get better Thai food in NYC than in Malaysia.

I think part of it is that many Asians (as well as people worldwide, really) only like what they’re used to and are really passionate about it. Not everyone is excited about food from other countries, even ones on their borders.

Well, I suppose I’ve been reading your blog from a far, leaving little or no commentary (which is highly unlike me) but I am a reader nonetheless. Anyways, I comment today to tell you of course how much I adore this post, as I do all of yours (and your photos!) but also to tell you that I’ve nominated Real Thai for the “Thinking Blog Award” — check it out http://thevillagevegetable.blogspot.com/2007/03/and-nominees-are.html

k.t.x: There do appear to be some subtle differences between the rojaks of SE Asia–more food to explore!

anon: wow, that’s cool, and I’m glad you liked it. I’m really looking forward to going back and trying some more dishes, the hokkien mee in particular.

rasa: I reckon it is pretty authentic, and yes, finally!

krista: Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever had any Thai food in Malaysia, but there sure seems to be a lot of it. And yes, people tend to be pretty conservative about what they eat…

linda: Thanks for reading, and also for the nomination!

Just to let you know, Kopitiam has now moved to 4/1 Sukhumvit Soi 26 (Soi Aree).

They are about 10 meters in from the sukhumvit entrance and about 150 meters from the promphomg BTS station. Bigger place lot more convenient same great malaysian food.

Спасибо за хорошую статейку

Wanna say something?