Before Starbucks …there is Toh Soon Cafe

Posted: September 25, 2009 in Food
Tags: , , , , ,

I’d probably sound as old as my Grandpa telling you about what Penang was like before the first Starbucks was opened but anyway, this was what Penangites would have as breakfast. Forget about your lattes, frappuccinos and mochas, Toh Soon (多春茶室) is strictly no frills.toh_soon_cafe

Tucked away in a small back alley at Campbell Street, it is instantly recognisable with its bright green metal doors lining it and often filled with people at all times of the day.

One of the highlights of Toh Soon is the way they toast their Hainanese bread. Check out the amazing boiler (also a matching green) that not only boils the water for hot drinks on top, but also operates as a small grill at the bottom to toast the bread. They only use charcoal which is probably a figment of my imagination, but makes the toasted bread taste a whole lot better.




the tables are always full….


This store has been around for 50 years…


The iced coffee is pretty darn good, aromatic and satisfying with enough “kau-ness” (Hokkien slang for richness!). The bread spread with kaya (coconut jam – not as weird as it sounds) and butter with sugar is truly amazing. In fact, Andrea couldn’t stop eating it and ended up with 6 slices!toh_soon_cafe5

covered in butter……


They also offer the staples of Penang breakfast: nasi lemak (coconut milk rice with curry) and half boiled eggs.



Andrea with her favorite bread & kaya…..


I had attached a map so you can locate the cafe easily. Enjoyed…..


  1. Adelene Chin says:

    hmmm, pretty nice place..nostalgic too !! Must drag Alex along…only if we have time !!

  2. Effie Smythe says:

    Just keep posting good content.

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