A kopitiam that has stood the test of time must be doing something really good. Eddie and Aden have breakfast at Kedai Kopi White House, one of the most famous kopitiams not just in Kelantan, but possibly the whole of Malaysia...
THE breakfast place to be in Kota Bharu
1329-L, Jalan Sultanah Zainab
15050, Kota Bharu,
8am – 1.30pm, 9pm – 1am.. but they're not always open nights
Really good roti kaya and house-roasted coffee
Can get crowded, and they might scold you for taking pictures!
We woke up and smelled coffee... in Kota Bharu. And where else would we be except for that most famous of kopitiams in Kelantan: the family run Kedai Kopi White House. Everyone in KB comes here for their fix of old school coffee and kaya toast. It's an institution and a local treasure. This place is old, and it looks it, too. But don't for one second think that's a bad thing. Nostalgia is a huge part of the appeal of White House. All the retro trinkets and signs bring you back to days gone by. I remember my mom telling me the place has been around since her childhood days... so that harkens back to the 60s. That's a long time for one place to be running any business. They must be doing something good then.
The first thing that strikes you if you come in the morning (say around 8am..) is the amount of people vying for a table. And you'll see people from all walks of life: office workers, construction workers, school-kids, tourists etcetera. Our advice? Come a bit later, maybe around 930am or 10am. The crowds usually thin down by that time.
Breakfast is a simple affair here. There are various nasi berlauks on offer, all prepacked, with fish or chicken and ranging in price from RM2.50 to around RM5.00. But we opted for a classic Nasi Dagang with Chicken Curry (RM3.50). The gelatinous grains of rice, tinted red, naturally, were al dente and had a nice, nutty and creamy flavour. The chicken curry alongside was very (VERY) rich and flavourful, but the chicken itself was juicy and tender, even eaten cold.
Yummy nasi dagang, a Kelantanese specialty
But those rice packets aren't White House's forte. If you must have just one thing here, it has to be the Roti Kaya Butter (or Roti Kawin) that goes for RM2.20. White House, in the celebrated tradition of good kopitiams, make their own kaya. And what a kaya it is: it is thick, gooey and sweet, but not cloyingly so. Eaten with the steamed bread and a good pat of butter, it was a great breakfast treat.
Slather away and reward your tastebuds!
They also make perfectly cooked half boiled eggs (RM2.20).
A dash of soy sauce and pepper completes this one
Don't forget their house-roasted coffee (RM2.50). Have it either hot or 'beng' (iced) and you're bound to be pleased. The coffee is thick and aromatic, with a lovely perfume and aftertaste that lingers for quite awhile after you've taken your sip. Incidentally, the kaya and coffee are available to tapau, should you want to spread some White House lovin' back home (wherever you are).
White House Coffee is excellent.
A word of caution though: be prepared to listen to a lot of Kelantanese dialect, which is pretty confusing for outsiders. And they also don't allow photography of the place, so be wary when snapping away.