Kopitiam Restaurant in Old Phuket Town
Kopitiam coffee shops are found commonly in Malaysia and Singapore - the word comes from Kopi (Malay for Coffee) and Tiam (a Hokkien Chinese word for Shop) - Hokkien people migrated in large numbers to Phuket in the 19th century and in Phuket Town this is obvious - many people are of Chinese descent, many shops have Chinese signs and there are Chinese shrines in and around Phuket Town.
Kopitiam is run by the same family who run the well known herb shop next door - and the family also owns the Wilai restaurant which is on the other side of the herb shop (see photo below). The Wilai restaurant itself has a little secret - a passageway through the kitchen leads to the Shrine of the Serene Light (which has its main entrance on Phang Nga Road one block south). There's quite a bit of history here!
The history is evident inside Kopitiam, which has kept an old feel, built in the turn of the century (20th century) style shophouses with wooden beams across the ceiling and a stone floor plus decorations consisting of Chinese signs, old photos and tasteful wooden furniture. No need for aircon - it was a warm day, but these old shophouses never seem to get hot. A couple of ceiling fans is enough.
We ordered ice coffees and simple Thai food - the menu is not huge, you can get most Thai dishes and prices around 70 - 90 Baht per dish. We had some chicken with garlic and pepper and also a chicken penang curry. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos - it was so tasty the food was finished quickly! Will have to go again soon to add some "food porn" photos to this page...
• More photos of Kopitiam on my Flickr pages
You can have a history lesson while you wait for the food - there are loads of old Phuket photos around the walls showing the town, tin mines, and I was particularly interested to see pictures of the old ferry connecting Phuket to the mainland - the Sarasin bridge was only completed in 1967. Before that, Phuket really was an island!
I always enjoy a walk around Phuket Town. There's more work going on right now on other streets to hide all the wires like has already been done on Thalang Road. This is my favourite part of Phuket and my wife and I even joke (but in a serious way) about living in an old shophouse in town....
Kopitiam on Phuket TV ::
Kopitiam Location Map
View Kopitiam by Wilai - Restaurant in Phuket Town in a larger map