With a twist on kaya toast and bak chang, Bandung’s oldest kopitiam is fast becoming hip

With a twist on kaya toast and bak chang, Bandung’s oldest kopitiam is fast becoming hip

Run by the same family for four generations, the coffeeshop entices young and old with its old-school charm and hearty food.

Ring out the old, ring in the new? Not quite. This new year, make plans to visit a hip hangout that's fused both old and new - Bandung's oldest kopitiam, which does dishes like homemade kaya bread and bak chang with a twist. #CNAExplore

BANDUNG, Indonesia: During colonial times, Bandung was dubbed the Paris of Java for its fashion boutiques and chic cafes. Today, the city has somewhat retained that reputation with numerous factory outlets and scores of hipster cafes.

There is one coffee place in town that stands out, not for being different, but for staying pretty much the same since its inception.

Warung Kopi Purnama has been a favourite breakfast joint for locals since 1940. Its most loyal customers are the ones who grew up with it. And it’s not hard to spot them - men and women in their 50s and 60s who spend hours here either sipping coffee and reading the papers alone, or chatting animatedly in small groups.

Known as Bandung’s oldest kopitiam, the coffeeshop is now run by the founder’s great-grandson, Mr Aldi Rinaldi Yonas, along with his wife and cousins.

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Mr Aldi Rinaldi Yonas, great-grandson of founder of Warung Kopi Purnama. He now runs the coffeeshop with his wife and cousins.

The bespectacled 29-year-old first stepped into the kitchen only four years ago, when his mother - Madam Evy Josana, who spent her entire life running the kopitiam - was diagnosed with cancer.

“It was very sudden,” said Mr Yonas, whose background is in graphic design. “I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up until I could manage the restaurant.”

When Mdm Josana passed away two years ago, he took over the warung.

“It’s very difficult, but we must continue the family business,” he said.

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Since then, Mr Yonas has refreshed the restaurant interior, adding a designer’s touch to it and making the space greener, airier and brighter.

These Instagram-friendly changes have made the warung a new destination for tourists and local hipsters.

What doesn’t change, however, is the way the food is prepared. “We don’t use machine. Everything is manual,” he said. “All fresh and homemade.”

Besides coffee, here are some must-try items that Mr Yonas recommends.

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(Photo: dewandra/Instagram)


This is the restaurant’s signature item.

The kaya, or coconut jam, takes up to nine hours to make everyday. 

Unlike Nonya-style kaya which is green because of the pandan leaves added to it, Kopi Purnama's version is Hainanese-style - brown because of the caramelised sugar added to the mixture.

And instead of normal sliced bread, thick fluffy homemade toast is used.

“We must use thick toast because srikaya is very sweet. We have to put them together so there’s a balance,” he said.

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The savoury version of the thick toast is wrapped with omelette, with a topping of your choice: Ham, bacon or sausage.

Mr Yonas said this must be eaten with the special chilli-mustard sauce provided.

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“This dish is unique to this place,” Mr Yonas said.

The bacang gulung sekba is essentially a deconstructed bak chang, with the steamed glutinous rice wrapped inside an omelette.

It’s served with sekba - pork offals stewed in a mildly sweet and salty broth made of soy sauce and Chinese spices.

What kind of spices? “It’s a secret,” said Mr Yonas.

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Warung Kopi Burnama is located at No. 22 Jalan Alkateri, Bandung, Indonesia.

Source: CNA/ry