"East Broadway" you hear the lady announce over the PA as the F-Train screeches to a halt. Breathless after climbing up the stairs, you take a moment, but what you get is more than just the crisp air. Pedestrians zoom by, dining tables sprawled across the sidewalk, and the occasional vendor pushing you to buy whatever it is they have on sale. With 1.6 million people crammed into 60 km², you sure as hell can bet that Manhattan will get cramped.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Tucked away in the middle of all that hustle, is a Malaysian owned and operated Kopitiam serving up a storm! What was once a pop up stall at a farmer's market, has expanded, not once, but twice in just a few short years!
Chef and owner Kyo Pang, hails from the same sunny island of Penang, and never forgot her roots. From her fondest childhood memory of watching grandma in the kitchen, to working alongside her dad in their family restaurant, it's safe to say Kyo has a couple of tricks up her sleeve.
We know she's talented, but how talented you ask? Well, talented enough to be nominated for James Beard's Best Chef award, as well as making it onto The New York Times and featured on the Bon Appétit Hot 10, not to mention being featured on countless other media outlets throughout her illustrious journey.
But of all her delicious dishes, her personal favourite is undoubtedly her homemade kaya. Thick enough to spread, yet smooth enough it lingers on your tongue. Lathered over deliciously crispy toast in the perfect shade of brown, and washed down with velvety smooth white coffee, it doesn’t get any better than that.
However it wasn't the smoothest of journeys for Kyo. While she had a plethora of choices at her fingertips, they just weren't the same as what she got back in Penang, and so she worked doubly hard to source the perfect ingredients that she needed.
And that's where we come in. Kyo was adamant on using the same coffee her family used back in Penang knowing that the flavour it yields, given its meticulous roasting process, is second to none. It was pivotal to ensure every cup served in New York City is just as good as it would be anywhere else. And one can safely conclude everything worked out just fine given Kopitiam's long line around the block on any given day.
Granted, COVID-19 has not been kind to everyone, yet Kopitiam still found its footing and graciously reopened it's doors to the public in March of 2021. And through introducing even more great Malaysian classics to all the hungry New Yorkers out there, Kopitiam's legacy has only just begun.