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