Wintery Melbourne always brings nostalgia of home and home cooked food, of rich beautiful flavours and tingling aromas and then there’s roadside takeaways where noodles are tossed hot in the wok and tea placed in a bag with a straw poking out. I’ve been here long enough to say I miss all the Malaysian food I never used to eat and now absolutely crave.
The hard thing about being in a different non-Asian country is that the flavours are never the same. There is always something just missing. Good news though, the little Old Town Kopitiam cafe (conveniently located in Little Bourke street with a mamak version at QV) offers some delightful favourites with quite authentic taste and is now currently my ‘go-to’ place for a meal. Their prices are average for students, not something you’ll like to spend every day but definitely not exorbitant, the portions are satisfying, and the atmosphere is clean, spacious and friendly with some beautiful black and white photographs on the wall.
I’ve tried a fair few of the choices on offer:-
The bak kut teh (meat and fried tofu in an herbal broth) accompanied by rice is savory, and delicious. I just wished there was more meat in there! The won ton soup is alright, although I reckon one can get much better flavours elsewhere. The chicken rice (steamed or fried) is filling and a firm staple of my dining companion although it really doesn’t compare to chicken rice back home. Salty fish fried rice is yummy, with a good punch of saltiness and chicken and prawn pieces. Char kuay teow (stir fried flat rice noodles) is absolutely tantalizing and spot on, good in the cafe and when brought home in a box.
The curry laksa (with seafood) is rich and not too spicy. You can generally find it filled with prawns, mussels and squid pieces with a wedge of lime to drizzle on top. How great are the colours?! It is also very coconutty.
Har mee (prawn noodles) is fragrant, and chockful of yumminess, with plenty of prawns, fish cake slices and an egg. Its aroma can be rather overpowering especially if you’ve never encountered the dish, but its taste can’t be beat.
I always like to order a glass of cold old town cham (coffee and tea) drink to go with the meal. You can also choose teh tarik (iconic pulled tea drink) and Kopi O Black (or white) coffee.
All in all, the place is great for lunch or dinner (or a spot of tea with kaya toast), the chef should be commended for delivering delicious food every time, and the staff is always smiling and attentive. Thank you for satisfying my nostalgia =)