Kopitiam by Wilai in Phuket Town

Genuine Slice of the Real Thing

If ever there was a restaurant/café that succinctly surmised Phuket Town’s old quarter it is Kopitiam by Wilai on Thalang Road. Here, among nostalgic framed photos of Phuket some 30-40 years ago, you can sample great Thai food prepared the way mum used to.

Kopitiam’s three-table, tiled-floor fan-cooled terrace is a great place to absorb the timeless and unhurried atmosphere of this charming road. Inside the 25-cover café is a small counter selling souvenir T-shirts and homemade ‘khanom’ cookies and to the end of the room stand two magnificent Chinese wardrobes. The décor is very austere and Chinese – in fact highly reminiscent of a lot of the home décor along this road.

Food & Drinks at Kopitiam

‘Kopitiam’s Pick’ on a blackboard, listing the specials of the day, is written in Thai, strangely enough. However the menu is in both Thai and English and offers all-day breakfasts, a good selection of Thai snacks such as shrimp cakes, steamed Phuket fish balls, baked cashew nuts and more.

We order phad prick thai dam (black pepper chicken with mushrooms) and pak krapow gai (fried chicken with basil leaves) and both dishes are accompanied by delicious jasmine rice. Prices at Kopitiam are slightly higher than equivalent downtown cafés but the quality of the food is unmistakable. A large percentage of the menu is Thai food but Kopitiam does offer tuna, and ham & cheese ‘sandwishes’.

 

But the root allure of this attractive place is its old-world feel: a group of Thai pensioners sit and enjoy lunch together; tourists peering in for a quick photo end up sitting and sharing an unhurried lunch, while old friends who already know of this little gem share stories over their tea and biscuits. Kopitiam is the genuine article and does the job of re-enacting Phuket’s past better than a museum could. And it’s got great food, too.

"Kopitiam is the genuine article"
Old photos of Phuket for sale at Kopitiam
Old photos of Phuket for sale at Kopitiam

Kopitiam

Opening Hours: 11:00 - 22:00 closed Sunday
Location: 18 Thalang Road – Phuket Old Town
Remarks: Free Wi-Fi

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