Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Dec 27, 2008 08:07 PM

First visit to Kopitiam

Stopped in at Kopitiam after a day of hiking on Mt. Diablo. It was mid afternoon - about 3:30pm - and there were three other tables occupied. The vibrant green interior provided some relief from the grey overcast skies. Water was promptly delivered and the hostess was very pleasant. We started with some roti prata and the tofu poppers. Followed with the chicken rice, rainbow salad, soft boiled eggs and a special char kway teow ( made without any seafood products - no shrimp or sambal ) Enjoyed the roti with the curry sauce - and the great textural contrasts of the tofu poppers - be cautious about the molten nature of the creamy tofu interior though. don't rush into biting into those puppies. I used a bit of the curry sauce in lieu of the mayo sauce that accompanies the tofu. The chicken rice was good but not revelatory. Expectations can be a problem at times. - I've heard so much about Kopitiam beforehand. Our portion of chicken was more white meat than dark and slightly more cooked than I find ideal. The rice was tasty - as were the ginger relish and the chili sauce. Occasionally I've also been served a bowl of chicken broth with this dish and I like that concept but it's not a universal practice. Good and I'd probably order it again but ask for more dark meat and even let them know that it's OK to have it a bit pink around the bone. The rainbow salad was popular - beautifully fresh greens with a brightly balanced dressing ...... garnishes (peanuts, shredded fried taro, shallots?) added color and texture. The eggs were perfectly cooked - barely set whites with golden yolks that were runny in a creamy way. The char kway teow was OK - asking them to leave out seafood handicapped the flavors but we had an allergy to contend with. I think the tab came to $46 or 47 ....... look forward to coming back to try more of the menu. Overall, thought the flavors were very good and it's a pleasant enough place - with good, friendly service.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I forgot to add that the bathroom shows their sense of humor - with the Singapore warning signs: no vandalism, no chewing gum, a fine for not flushing, etc .....

    1. link

      Kopitiam Restaurant
      3647 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

      1. Just had lunch at Kopitiam and thought the food surpassed my expectations. I had the hainan chicken rice, the char kway teoy, and the roti with curry sauce. The roti was pretty bad but the curry sauce made from scratch was good. The hainan chicken rice and the char kway teoy were really good and much better than what I have found in the bay area.

        I just wish Kopitiam wasn't all the way in Lafayette where they probably feel the need to westernize the flavors in order to appeal to the local clientele who have no understanding of the food. If they were closer to SF, this would not be an issue since there are tons of people that would appreciate the authenticity and good execution of the food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hong_kong_foodie

          While I certainly understand the general fear, I don't feel like they've dumbed it down at all. Try the fish cake in banana leaves, or the eggplant sambal. They taste just like Singapore.

          Personally, as a Lafayette resident, I really hope the expectations can change over the next 10 years. There's no question that many places are dumbed down. Ethnic food is much better through the tunnel (or for some foods over in Concord). But with Kopitiam, and Lily's Shanghainese menu, there are at least a couple places doing really good stuff.

          1. re: jmarek

            both times we've gone, asian clientele were in the minority, so it's no surprise the chicken is "slightly more cooked" than the Singapore/straits Chinese norm. They use organic chicken, and Chef Leong was quite successful with his chicken rice in Singapore; I suspect there's more than a few suburbanites who'd reject properly done chicken with light pink showing at the joints. I strongly doubt that Lafayette was graced before with two top asian chefs doing distinct regional styles.