"Pat Poh Peng" And 23 Other Drinks You Can Order At Penang Kopitiams
One of the main reasons most people come to Penang is for the hawker food! But wait, don't snooze on its kopitiam drinks, okay? ;P
Beyond your usual kopi peng and teh peng, there are many unique drinks waiting for you to discover as you chow down on your hokkien mee and char koay teow.
You'll notice in the guide below that most of the drinks are in Hokkien. This is because over 60% of Penang's Chinese population speak Hokkien, making it the predominant Chinese dialect.
If you're planning a foodie trip to Penang soon, it's time to brush up on all those Hokkien terms like peng (iced), kaw (thick), and mai liao (no sugar)! :D
First, let's go through the basics — kopi, teh, MILO, and Nescafé
You typically add these basic terms behind your drink to indicate what you're ordering:
( ___ ): With condensed milk
( ___ ) O: With sugar only
( ___ ) C: With sugar and evaporated milk
On top of that, you can add more specific terms to tweak your drink preferences:
Kau: Thick or rich
Poh: Thin or diluted
Kiam liau/cnia: Less sugar
Mai liau/kosong: No sugar
Snui kam: Add lime juice (for teh)
For instance, when you order a basic kopi, it means black coffee with condensed milk, and it comes hot. But when you order a kopi C peng kau, it becomes iced thick black coffee with sugar and evaporated milk.
If you're feeling a bit fancy, you can mix and match different drinks together to come up with these combos
Cham peng refers to a mix of black tea and black coffee with condensed milk. Neslo, on the other hand, combines Nescafé with MILO! ;P
BONUS: You can also try ordering a Michael Jackson, a.k.a. a mix of soya and cincau. To order them separately, soya milk is called tau cui, while cincau is called leong fan.
Sometimes, you'll want a drink that's more cooling and refreshing. Usually, Penang kopitiams will have their own versions of herbal teas, from barley and chrysanthemum to different kinds of leng teh.
As usual, you can add terms like peng (ice) and kiam liau/cnia (less sugar) to describe how you want it.
Here are a few common types of herbal tea you can find at Penang kopitiams:
Speaking of herbal teas... There is a quintessential Penang kopitiam drink you should try at least once if you have the chance ;P
You guessed it right, it's Pat Poh, which means "eight treasures" in Hokkien.
Pat Poh is a herbal tea syrup made from a variety of Chinese herbs. You can have it as is, or if you're feeling adventurous, order a "Pat Poh Gu Leng", which is the herbal syrup with evaporated milk. It sounds weird, but Penangites swear by it!
On the other hand, Keat Poh is a tangerine syrup that also contains Chinese herbs. If you're looking for a thirst-quencher, order "Keat Poh Snui Kam" to have this drink with limau kasturi. :D
There you go, now you know how to order drinks like a pro at Penang kopitiams, yayyy! :D
Besides the drinks mentioned above, you can also order all kinds of fruit juices at certain Penang kopitiams, ranging from nutmeg juice to Keat La Snui Boey (preserved limau kasturi with salted sour plum), a.k.a. 932! :O
Two other popular drinks Penangites order are Ambra Snui Boey (ambarella juice with salted sour plum) and Ma Tai Tek Cia (sugarcane waterchest nut drink).
Certain kopitiams also offer Horlicks and Heng Jin (almond drink). As for the sweet tooths, Goo Leng Peng refers to rose syrup drink with evaporated milk.
Did we miss any of your go-to drinks? Share with us your favourite Penang kopitiam drink in our Facebook comments section!
Since you're a boss at ordering drinks oredi, might as well learn how to order chicken rice properly too!