Kopitiam Cafe, Hobart


On Singaporean food and pregnancy

FINALLY Yoga woman and I managed to eat at Kopitiam. You might remember the week This Girl ate at Hejos  twice. One of those times, I sat expectantly and briefly at Kopitiam, while Yoga woman munched her way through spring roll on the other side of the Elizabeth Street mall.
Last week we converged at the same time on Kopitiam.
Yoga Woman is now 30+ weeks pregnant. Apart from the fact that she is my favourite Feminist woman friend, she needs to eat, often and a lot, so dining with her is a little like access all areas.
I’d only heard good things about Kopitiam. They’re a café, and they open until early evening only. I don’t do a lot of lunches and they’re often with Boozy Friday Friend when I do. Kopitiam is not licensed or BYO. They close between 7 and 8.30 pm depending on the evening. It’s a lunch and directly after work sort of place. Yoga woman and I turned up at 6 pm.
When the owners started planning their business, their friends warned them that they’d need to adapt their recipes to the local palate. Their response? Don’t reckon! And it’s working for them.

For authentic Singaporean cuisine, try Kopitiam. They wanted to stay true to their home cuisine. Case in point, Singapore noodles served in Hobart are not authentic they say. The addition of curry powder often found in local versions is an adaptation. If you want the real deal, try Kopitiam.

They do a roaring trade too. Hobart isn’t big on cheap eats but Kopitiam has a broad menu selection, huge meals and great prices.

We chose two of the more expensive meals:
Singapore Laksa with chicken, with hard-boiled egg, tofu puffs, beansprouts and vermicelli noodle or thick egg noodle with coconut laksa sauce, $13.90.
Singapore Hon Fun, flat rice noodle, stir-fried with prawns, fish cake/ball, chicken, green vegetables and savoury egg gravy served with home-made green chilli, $13.90.
Yoga woman is a laksa-fiend and her take was it was up there with the best. This Girl had a try and it was a delicious spicy laksa sauce with tremendous character. I had food choice-envy. Again! Which is not to say that   the Hon Fun was not good, it was great, but I am partial to spicy and my dish was mild.
There are a few things about Singaporean food and pregnancy I hadn’t counted on.
So I’ve been living in a Euro-centric barren bubble, but it just never occurred to me that there are different rules in pregnancy if you’re Asian or Caucasian.
Apparently bean sprouts are out for Westerners but our Singaporean hostess tells us they’re eaten normally     during pregnancy in her home. Pineapple on the other hand is a big no no.
Yoga woman had traditional laksa with the untraditional bokchoy instead.
So the meals are served sized for the ravenous. Yoga woman tucks into her laksa and a couple sit down next to us, and share one between them. They’d eaten lunch, large and late. Yoga woman is undeterred. I know they   say that eating for two is a fallacy but Yoga woman definitely has additional capacity and she’d none the worse  for it.
Except perhaps that she could get away with saying she’s 39.5 weeks pregnant when she actually has two months to go.
I thought it was just me.

Apparently, everyone says that to her.

She tells me one day this week, she had about 100 comments about her size and she’s ssssssssssssick of it!!!! It’s harassment; repetitive, unwanted, uninvited comments, because now she’s pregnant, talking about her body is up for grabs.
Whoops…promise not to say it again….
Then there’s the problem with utensils, or the table design. Eating laksa while quite pregnant presents another  challenge. One that should probably be met with:
a.          a giant serviette
b.         a long handled spoon
c.          dark clothing
d.         drinking directly from the bowl
e.         any combination of the above

The only dessert option on our dining evening was a shaved ice treat. So we decided to take a walk and try dessert at Salamanca where we sat at Maldini and talked about pregnancy (that’s a no brainer), family, sexuality, sex, sexism and her toddler’s first poo in a potty. Not necessarily in that order.
Guess which topic of conversation we were on when the music stopped? No wonder our waiter was so attentive 😉

Back to Kopitiam.
If you want to visit, you might try a Monday. Sunday is the daughter’s baking day and by all accounts she is producing amazing desserts which are generally sold out by Tuesday. If you like Kopitiam on Facebook you’ll see what she’s up to.
There’s a board on the wall at Kopitiam where some customers have written reviews. You’ll find witness to Kopitiam’s authenticity there. Try it for lunch, grab a takeaway on your way home or a quick meal before heading out for the night. It’s a casual café environment, more fluro-light than ambience, but welcoming and tremendous value. Give it a go.
Find them on Facebook here or at 86 Collins Street opposite Drysdale in the real. And if you see Yoga woman,  talk about the weather.

Kopitiam Singapore Cafe on Urbanspoon

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