Toh Soon Cafe – Penang’s Traditional Coffee & Toast By The Alley
[Penang, Malaysia] “Where’s Penang best coffee again?” Our guide then dropped us by the backlane, and we realised a crowd of people in a dark alley sandwiched between two old buildings.
Toh Soon Cafe 多春茶室, so discrete you won’t have thought this was a proper coffee place.
The tell-tale signs are groups and groups of people, some aimed with DSLRs, some wearing shades at 9am in the morning, all waiting to get a seat at some make-shift tables.
My friends eagle-hawked a table while I joined a line of 7-8 people. It was the blind leading the blind. A loud-voiced server went, “Don’t need to queue lah! Tell me your orders can already.”
Oh okay. The group of us found a table, kept waving and waving to the servers. No, we were ignored. Or they were too busy to bother about us. We thought, “It is because we are Singaporeans?”
Not really. Our Malaysian guide came to help order, but the server still continued not to acknowledge our presence. Till 20 minutes later.
In the meantime, we ordered some Nasi Lemak and ONE Curry Puff from a peddler, which turned out to be one of the best I ever eaten. Noticed I emphasized the ONE.
The friendly customer next table chit-chatted with us, “You lucky 30 minutes can get your food. Sometimes 1 to 2 hours not surprising.”
But seriously, the Hainanese coffee (RM1.70 for besar – large, RM$1.40 for kecil – small) was well-brewed, smooth, and fragrant, making it an irresistible cup of nostalgic tasting goodness.
Our toast finally came after 40 minutes (since the moment we arrived). We gave up on the eggs.
Charcoal-grilled the traditional way right in front of your eyes, by the Indian who had to bend down the whole day (we were thinking about his ergonomics), this had a crisp texture, spread with home-made kaya. Decent stuff, but not enough to warrant the wait.
Toh Soon is quite an experience, and I would come for its coffee. Weekdays may be a better option, and remember it’s closed on Sundays.
Toh Soon Cafe 多春茶室
184 Campbell Street, Off Penang Road, George Town, 10100 Penangaa
Tel : +604 2613754
Opening Hours: 8am-6pm (Closed on Sundays)
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