A classic Malaysian breakfast typically consists of toast with kaya and butter plus half boiled eggs, washed down with a nice cup of coffee or tea. You will find this and more at Thong Kee Kopitiam in Puchong. The shop also ups the ante with something you’d normally see in bakeries rather than kopitiams: croissants.
Originally from Pahang, Thong Kee started off as a humble establishment in the small town of Bentong. Like many kopitiams, the fare served here has Hainanese origins (The Hainanese people emigrated to Malaya during the British occupation. Most worked as cooks for the British; hence the ‘Western’ style of breakfast ie toast with butter and jam + coffee that is often served at kopitiams today. It is a uniquely Southeast Asian thing which you will not find in the Hainanese community in China.) Eventually, the brand grew popular enough that they expanded to the Klang Valley, with an outlet in Seapark and another in Puchong.
The early bird gets the worm, or in this case… the croissant.
All of their outlets enjoy brisk business, so it’s best to come as early as possible if you want avoid the queues. The fam and I came around 7.45AM on a weekend and the place was already quite packed. There is a huge open-air kitchen with dozens of staff preparing drinks and food.
Take note of your table number, give it to the cashier when you make your order, pay on the spot, and wait for your food to be served. Aside from toast with butter and kaya, you can also go for items like doughnuts, and croissants with various fillings (ham, ham and cheese, egg, otak-otak, etc.)
The original Thong Kee is famous for its 1+1 – a blend of Hainanese coffee and tea – so I ordered a glass to try.
The drink comes served with a layer of foam on top, and the coffee is strong and fragrant. It is similar to Ipoh white coffee; ie sweet and aromatic. I think the tea helps to make the beverage smoother, but the coffee is pretty strong so I barely tasted any tea.
Trivia: Unlike Western coffee, making Hainanese coffee usually involves roasting the beans with salt, sugar and margarine, imparting it with a rich, robust fragrance with a distinctly caramelized flavour. The coffee is then filtered through a long sock-like cloth multiple times.
Not forgetting the star of the show, we ordered a few croissants to share. The texture is superb – crispy, flaky, buttery and soft on the inside. The fillings are deceptively simple – ham and egg, or a slab of butter and kaya spread – but everything comes together perfectly.
If you’re not in the mood for bread, there are other stalls at the kopitiam as well, selling dishes like nasi lemak and pan mee.
If you’re looking for a quick bite to go, or something you can bring home, the shop also sells freshly baked loaves, homemade kaya and curry puffs.
The croissants are priced around RM7.90 +, depending on filling.
THONG KEE (PUCHONG)
G-01 Puchong Square, Jalan Layang – Layang 5, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor
Opening hours: 7.30AM – 4.30PM
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I might be biased because it’s my parents’ hometown and all, but Ipoh might just have some of the best food in the world (I can hear people from the other Malaysian states screaming their dissent in the background). Of course like every other place, there are ‘meh’ establishments – but there are many great spots to dine in Ipoh, if you know where to look. One of these is Kedai Kopi Keng Nam, a no-frills kopitiam in the heart of town.
There are several stalls within the kopitiam; but notable are the ones selling Ipoh-style chee cheong fun (steamed glutinous rice rolls) and yong liew (assorted items stuffed with fish paste). Another must-have, which is made by the restaurant itself rather than the stalls, is lor mai farn, glutinous rice with kaya and/or curry, which you can order together with your drinks.
Ipoh-style chee cheong fun differs from what you can find in KL or places like Penang, in that it features mushroom sauce. This is unlike your Western-style creamy mushroom sauce, but is instead made from shiitake mushrooms, making for a broth with a lighter, darker consistency. The noodles are garnished with sesame seeds and fried shallots.
Assorted yong liew, featuring chilli stuffed with fish paste, pork balls, stuffed beancurds and tofu, and fried jicama (sar kok).
Last but not least, the glutinous rice with kaya (coconut jam) gives you a sweet end to the meal – sort of like Thai mango sticky rice. If you like it savoury, go for the one with curry. Wash down everything with a signature cup of Ipoh White Coffee.
KEDAI KOPI KENG NAM
127, Jalan Raja Ekram, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak
Business hours: 6AM – 11AM (daily)
In recent years, Ipoh has enjoyed a boom in tourism – especially over the holidays – and Jalan Bijih Timah in the center of Old Town is where everyone flocks to for food and sightseeing. I’ve blogged about two famous restos, namely Nam Heong & Sin Yoon Loong (famous for their egg tarts and Ipoh white coffee, respectively) but today we will be checking out the third which completes what I call the Holy Trinity of legendary old-school kopitiams in the area lol.
Enter, Kedai Kopi Sun Yuan Foong.
We were in Ipoh for the Chinese New Year holidays, and the place was absolutely packed, so much so that when we passed by the chee cheong fun stall in front, they had stopped taking orders to allow for them to fulfill existing ones first.
After hovering like hawks over this table that looked like they were almost done with their food, we managed to secure seats in a small corner at the back.
Like NM & SYL, SYF has its own ‘specialty’ – soft boiled eggs on toast. Eggs are prepped in batches in the kitchen, while the toast/sandwiches are prepped at a stall next to the dining area. Poor guy was obviously overwhelmed by the surge of orders, and told us quite frankly that it would take some time. Since we had come all the way, we decided to wait.
Hot Milo tastes better in these classic ceramic cups! 🙂
PS: SYF is also famed for their White Coffee, an Ipoh specialty where the beans are roasted in margarine and the subsequent brew added with condensed milk for a rich and sweet flavour. Didn’t get that because I just had white coffee the day before at another place lol.
Past the 20-minute mark, the stomach protested, so we hopped on out to a makeshift stall on the verandah for some snacks. There was Malay steamed cake (the fluffy brown cake in the steamer), yam cake and an assortment of fried goodies and baked pastries. We got some fried shrimp cakes but they were meh-tasting and rock solid.
Our orders finally arrived.
Just look at the jiggly goodness of those soft boiled eggs on top of the toast! This is another one of Ipoh’s famous dishes, as I have never seen eggs on toast like this anywhere else in Malaysia. You sprinkle a bit of pepper/soy sauce on top, break the eggs and watch as the yolk oozes all over the crunchy, buttered toast. Few things in life bring as much pleasure as this hmm
The sausages were fat and juicy, and pretty sizable as well.
A hearty breakfast for RM10.
SUN YUAN FOONG
17, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak
Opening hours: 7AM – 5PM (daily)