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Opium Kopi aka Bulletproof Coffee in Kuching Hiap Yak Tea House 协益茶室

Our local expert Chai kept telling us about opium kopi, so it really piqued my curiosity. I wondered what it is 🤔

"You will know later" Chai kept teasing me.

The coffee shop was next door to an opium den, Chai said. 

That row of shops had a few coffin shops 😱

Oh! Still do? I wondered aloud.

No more, Chai replied.

Fortunately 😅

Hiap Yak Tea Shop 协益茶室 looked like any nondescript but charming, rustic old Chinese coffee shop, the type you find all over the Malay archipelago.

In the old days, opium smokers used to swallow globs of butter after a session to smooth their dry throat.

Then, someone came up with the idea of dropping the butter into coffee. Not sure by who, where in the Malay archipelago or when this happened.

I imagine it makes butter easier to swallow and gives a caffeine jolt to boot, all essentials to switch out of the stupor from an opium trip 😅

The butter gives bitter sweet Nanyang coffee a buttery savoury taste, I like it. The grease does make the coffee feel smoother too.

Image credit: With thanks to Edde Edeleden Chan
We can also get bulletproof coffee at Heap Seng Leong coffee shop at North Bridge Road in Singapore. 

I enjoy the coffee here as Heap Seng Leong is probably the most atmospheric of the last old school, rustic coffee shops in Singapore

Hanging out here, sipping coffee is like a temporary escape in a time warp back to 1960s Singapore.

An opium coffee trip at Hiap Yak Tea Shop in Kuching lets us escape to our childhood.

But, how time flies. 

The trip only lasts as long as a cup of opium coffee. We are back to reality at the end of the last sip of opium coffee 😂


Restaurant name: 
Hiap Yak Tea House 协益茶室
Address: 17, Lorong Kai Joo, 93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Hours: 7am - 3pm (Sun off)

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Written by Tony Boey on 23 Feb 2024

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