ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Little Shop of Nostalgia - Review of Kopitiam Café and Restaurant, Old Phuket Town, Thailand

Updated on January 6, 2018
punacoast profile image

The author lives in a quiet seaside community in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. He's an avid gardener, traveler, and photographer.

Experience the yesteryear charm at Kopitiam
Experience the yesteryear charm at Kopitiam | Source
Sino-colonial architecture
Sino-colonial architecture | Source

If you’re in Phuket Town, there’s a charming little restaurant that’s worth a visit: Kopitiam Café and Restaurant. Situated inside one of the historic rowhouses (built in the late 19th century) in the town’s old quarter, this restaurant is a perfect place for those who enjoy tasty, affordable home-cooked food and want to learn a quick history lesson!

The cuisine is traditional Thai with a touch of Chinese influence. Like many lifelong residents of Phuket Town, the restaurant’s owner, Wilai Bumrungwong, is of Hokkien Chinese descent. She uses family recipes (passed down from generations), and fresh local ingredients, to create the wonderful dishes on the restaurant’s menu.

Vintage chandelier and old photographs at Kopitiam
Vintage chandelier and old photographs at Kopitiam | Source

Located on the famous Talang Road (with Sino-colonial style homes, herbal medicine shops, temples, shrines), Kopitiam is quite easy to find, especially with its vivid green door and beautiful red lanterns on the verandah. Inside, the décor is reminiscent of an old Chinese tea parlor: dark teak tables and chairs, antique wood screens, old-fashioned ceiling fans and light fixtures, fading silk banners with gold Chinese writings, etc. A dozen or more black-and-white photographs hanging on the wall, along with a few rusty vintage mirrors, complete the Old World look and charm of the dining room.

The menu, however, is in modern Thai and English. You can’t help but notice a long list of hot and cold beverages (coffee, tea, beer, soda) on the front page. Kopitiam, after all, is a coffee shop and a favorite hangout of many Phuket Town locals where they gather to visit over a cup of coffee or tea. At Kopitiam, coffee and tea are not served in cups but in small vintage glassware - a classy touch! The waitress recommended a drink made of beetroot and dragonfruit juice - one of several Kopitiam’s intriguing herbal drinks. Served in a tall glass with ice, it's sweet, a little tangy, and with just a tiny hint of mint this drink is so refreshing, perfect for handling Phuket’s infamous hot humid weather!

Have you been to Old Phuket Town, Thailand?

See results
Cold herbal drink
Cold herbal drink | Source

There are plenty of mouthwatering main fares on the menu including shrimp cakes, chicken green curry, deep fried pork and steamed grouper with black beans. You will also find a good selection of pad thai dishes and Hokkien-style fried noodles with pork or chicken. Vegetarians not to worry, Kopitiam offers some great vegetarian choices, like vegetarian spring rolls or stir-fried tofu with vegetables and even a vegetarian version of the popular tom yum goong traditional Thai soup.

Again, we took the lovely waitress’ recommendation and ordered a couple of dishes from the lunch specials of the day (posted on a large blackboard near the cash register): noodle soup with shrimp and stir-fried chicken with pineapple and cashew nuts.

The soup was excellent. A steaming bowl of rice noodles - topped with succulent shrimp, mustard greens and carrots - in a delicate clear broth garnished with slivers of scallion and ginger. Simple yet delicious! The soup was big enough for two people (we always share food at restaurants) and according to the waitress, there was no MSG used in the broth.

Noodle soup with shrimp and vegetable
Noodle soup with shrimp and vegetable | Source

The stir-fried chicken was also very nicely done: generous amount of chicken meat, along with onions, carrots, pineapple chunks and cashew nuts, all perfectly cooked in oil and light soy sauce seasoning. A sprinkle of chopped red chili pepper and scallion completed the dish. The aroma was fantastic! Flavorful and spicy enough to arouse the taste bud. Served with steamed jasmine rice and fresh cucumber slices, this delightful dish was also more than enough for one person to enjoy.

Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts
Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts | Source

After lunch, out of curiosity, we browsed the black-and-white photographs on the wall. Impressive snapshots of Phuket Town in the old days when mining and maritime trading were the main commercial activities. Some of the photos were amazing! We did learn a few things about the history of Phuket Town from these photos. There’s even more history to be discovered if you walk toward the back of the restaurant, where there is a large antique bookcase with a fascinating collection of vintage knick-knacks (books, maps, vinyl records, jewelry boxes, tea pots, etc.) on display.

Signature red sign at the front doorway
Signature red sign at the front doorway | Source

Kopitiam Café and Restaurant is a true gem. The combination of great food, modest price, gracious service, and nostalgic ambience makes this place unique and memorable. Interesting facts: Kopitiam means “coffee house” in Hokkien Chinese language. The Bumrungwong family also owns a herbal medicine shop next door and another restaurant named ‘Wilai’ on the same street.

Lunch for two costs 270 Baht (about $8USD) including drinks. Don't forget to purchase some home-made snacks like dried banana (with or without added sugar) for only 25 Baht (about $0.75USD) at the cash register so you can continue to enjoy the flavors of Kopitiam later while exploring Phuket Town. The only regret we had was that we did not try any of Kopitiam’s tasty coffee drinks because, well, we are not coffee drinkers!

Overall Rating

5 stars for Food, Service, Value, Atmosphere

Kopitiam Café and Restaurant,

18 Talang Road, Old Phuket Town, Thailand

Hours: 11AM-10PM Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Phone: 081-8923723

Memories of time gone by
Memories of time gone by | Source
Historic rowhouses of Phuket Town
Historic rowhouses of Phuket Town | Source

About This Hub

The author and his partner recently spent a month in Thailand. They stumbled upon Kopitiam one day while trying to find a 200-year-old Buddhist shrine in Phuket Town. All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera.

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Viet Doan (punacoast)

© 2012 Viet Doan


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)