Whether for tea or breakfast a warm slice of toast is so simple yet so incredibly tasty. We made our way to one of Malaysia's institutional kopitiam to savour its famous charcoal toasted buns. Warm, charred and filled with kaya and oozing with buttery goodness, the 'roti kahwin' at the Kluang Rail Coffee is absolutely legendary.
A tasty marriage of kaya and butter....
Kluang Rail Coffee
Kluang KTM Station,
GPS : N02 02.024' E103 19.062'
Friday - Wednesday 7.00am - 12noon 2.30pm - 6.00pm Closed Thursdays
Good and simple food set in a 1930's styled kopitiam, what's not to love?
It's in Kluang so when you fancy some of their toasts it's 3 hours away. The ones at the franchise outlets does not taste the same because they use ovens instead of charcoal to toast the bread.
The quaint town of Kluang boasts one of the oldest (and probably the best) kopitiams in Southern Malaysia. Located at the local railway station, Kluang Rail Coffee has been around since 1938. It was a pit stop for travellers arriving in Kluang and the railway canteen is one of the town's famous landmark. If you ever find your way at this neck of the woods it would be sacrilege not to stop by.
The toasts here are the 'toast' of the town (pun intended). You can choose from wholemeal, white bread and buns. The buns are the most popular and usually run out first so they were the ones that we ordered. They have a softer texture compared to their white bread counterparts. Fluffy on the inside and charred and smoky on the outside, the buns are a perfect vehicle for any spread. At Kluang Rail Coffee, they're paired with yummy blocks of Cowhead butter and homemade kaya. This is the best version of 'roti kahwin' EVER. 'Roti kahwin' literally means married bread. The term is used to describe the typical Malaysian breakfast sandwich that is a wonderful marriage of kaya (local coconut jam) and butter spread on top of toast. A simple East meets West partnership that has now become a staple in Malaysian households.
I love that they don't spread the butter on the toast here. They actually freeze the butter first and cut it into little squares so when you get your order you have a thick slab of butter sandwiched between your toast and kaya filling.
You get your toast warm and fresh from the charcoal fire so as you bite into your 'roti kahwin' the butter melts and mingle with the kaya resulting in a rich and sweet explosion in your mouth. If you order the white bread, they even take the crusts off for you! We simply can't get enough of them (both the buns and the white bread). Our orders piled up and after awhile we had stacks of empty plates that would put a sushi place to shame.You can also opt for peanut butter instead of kaya. They use chunky peanut butter so you'll also get those nice crunchy nutty bits in your filling.
Another must-try here is the coffee. Grown and roasted locally, the coffee has a dark and rich tone that goes perfectly with the sweet condensed milk. Order it hot, iced with milk or plain and you'll be really impressed at how good it is. It's strong and aromatic and will go great with your toast or Nasi Lemak. If you want some to bring home, you can buy packs of it here.
Once you've had the toasts and crave for something heftier, go for the Nasi Lemak Bungkus. Little newspaper-wrapped pyramids lay stacked in plastic baskets waiting to be devoured. Not one to resist temptation, I opened one and was delightfully surprised by its deliciousness. The sambal is sweet and mellow while the rice is subtly infused with coconut milk. It has tons of onions and just a smidgen of heat. They also add fat anchovies in the sambal which gives it a welcoming hint of saltiness.
Opened by the Lim family in the 1930s, Kluang Rail Coffee now has branches across Malaysia under the Kluang Station franchise. The business is helmed by JJ Phun, four generations after the original Lim started the kopitiam. Inspired by the decor and the menu, JJ has introduced Kluang Rail Coffee to the masses. With a much more extensive menu and more accessible locations, Kluang Station is now a familiar sight in KL's top shopping malls.
I have nothing against progress and it's great that the younger generation of the Lim family is expanding their business but... (and this is a big BUT)......there is no way you can beat the original. The toast served at the Kluang Station outlets pales in comparison to the real thing. If you get a chance, go to Kluang and experience this yourself. One bite of the charcoal roasted toast and you'll be hooked. When it comes to toast, Kluang Rail Coffee is in a league of their own and even their younger incarnations can't beat them in this department.