Once I wrote about our kopi (local for coffee) culture in Travel Malaysia Guide, talking about the evolution of the way we enjoy our coffee in generations from your old local kopitiams to the giant coffee franchises to our very own upper class kopitiam chains.
Ah indeed we have came a long way as coffee drinkers.
Either it is due to my taste bud being accustomed to our local coffee, or it is just me, I find that Malaysian coffee is one of the best, probably only topped by Hong Kong which is very similar to what we have, in terms of Asian coffee. But don’t let me tell you about it, you should go and try it out yourself and then let me know! For locals alike, do you think you know our Malaysian coffee well?
If you want to try and enjoy some of our local coffee or if you’re local to rediscover your love for local coffee, here are some good to know lingo for ordering the local Malaysian kopi to your liking:
Kopi O – black coffee
Kopi – coffee with condensed milk
Kopi C – coffee with evaporated milk
From here you can customize your coffee to your liking with:
For cold iced coffee, you add Peng at the end
For extra thick coffee you add Gao at the end
For less sugar (less sweet) you add Cheah (for north) and Xiu Dai (for south) at the end.
For without sugar, you add Kosong at the end, but bear in mind it only works for Kopi O or Kopi C, as condensed milk comes with sugar by default thus cannot be made without, that’s local tip for you so that you won’t be getting a stare back as response.
So for example if you want a cup of black coffee extra thick with less sugar you will say “Kopi O Gao Cheah”. Phew, how’s that for a highly customized coffee!
Where to find good local Malaysian coffee
You may find local kopi in the many Chinese eateries or hawker stalls restaurant, but not in proper dining or upscale Chinese restaurants, which actually serves Chinese tea instead. You may also succumb and try our mid-range kopitiam chains which you mostly would not miss if you hang around malls or popular districts.
If you know any good places in Malaysia for a good cup of coffee do let us know!