Thursday, 25 September 2008

Chinese Coffee Shops


               Coffee shops keep the world moving. Wether they are in Europe, the Americas, or in Chinese communities in Asia. Only in Asia are Chinese Coffee shops different from the rest of the world. No comfy sofas to sit back and drink your soy milk caffe mocka. The coffee or Kopi as it's called in Malay, is strained through a large cloth strainer that resembles one of my old socks. 

These places are very basic in appearance. Plastic chairs, tables and cutlery. The places are normally with white tiles. Actually I haven't seen one that wasn't tiled white. The image of cleanliness is important, as they proudly show off the certificates to prove it.

Depending on where you are, really depends on the people who frequent them. For example, in Malaka and Penang, you get a good mixture of races, not just Chinese. Where as in Kuching it would mainly be the Chinese who visit. 

Not only are drinks provided, you can get an assortment of local snacks, mainly Chinese in origin. Well they are Chinese Coffee Shops after all. 

We have had some good noodle soups, dim sum buns, stir fried noodles in most of them. Good, filling and cheap food. What more can you ask. 

During the week we found it was mainly workers who came to drink or eat. At weekends we saw a lot of families come for a lunchtime snack (we were never up that early). The shops are always busy, normally from dawn to well beyond dusk, sometimes 24 hours. Lots of people coming in for a quick bite or drink, friends to gossip or just to meet up, or others like us, just to watch the world go by in very relaxed atmosphere. 

Maybe coffee shops the world over are similar after all. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd think that the spartan Chinese coffee shop designs in Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand stemmed from their historical origins - back in the 19th-century, these "fast-food" purveyors served as quick stops for sustenance, and cater mainly to Chinese coolies/blue-collar workers on their way to/from work. There were few Chinese womenfolk amongst Chinese immigrants to South-east Asia in those times, so all the cooking/eating are done in the coffee shops.