In recent years, Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur has become a hub of trendy eateries and artsy murals
Even so, I was surprised to see that a long-time abandoned building finally found new life as an old-style cafe.
Called Kafei Dian, the cafe opened just two months ago.
But did you know the cafe was previously a Pos Malaysia office?
Built in 1911 by the Federated Malay States Postal Authority, this double storey office served as a sub-post office with its main headquarters located at Dataran Merdeka.
According to British Malaya, a red flag would be hoisted over the building to alert residents whenever their mail arrived from overseas.
Inside, you can even see an old Post Malaya (Pos Malaysia's former name) sign still hanging at the back of the cafe
Today, the building retains much of the original Malay- and Tudor-style architecture
Its distinctive red-tiled slanted roof, turquoise balcony, and black and white striped front are all still there - only this time with a fresh coat of paint.
Being particularly proud of the building's heritage, Kafei Dian owner Danny directed us to the upper floor which is entirely made out of wood. We were a little worried walking along the creaky floorboards, but rest assured they've been refurbished and will not crack under pressure.
Standing on the balcony, you'll have a great view of the giant mural of an uncle hammering a nail.
However, it isn't just the building's exterior that is steeped in history.
Kafei Dian is decorated with tons of retro items inside, making it truly a blast from the past.
Step into the cafe and you'll immediately see a stand lined with metal oil lamps, dim sum baskets, and watercolour paintings of the post office.
Walking around you'll notice repainted door frames, tables flanked by large wheels from carts, and wooden cupboards reminiscent of those found in my Ah Mah's childhood home.
We even stumbled across an old safe with its combination lock still attached. It clearly would not budge.
So, what about the food?
Aside from your typical kopitiam favourites, Kafei Dian also serves delicious Malay food and pork-free Hainanese dishes.
We tried their chicken lobak, jiu hu char (fried turnip), and Hainam fried noodles - all of which tasted just like home.
They also offer dishes you can share with a larger group including, stewed ginger chicken and duck, stir fried vegetables, and assam fish soup.
If we had room to spare, we would have definitely tried out their dim sum, steamed roti kaya, or kuih. Pair it with a hot cup of kopi O and you've got yourself the perfect afternoon snack.
Go back in time at Kafei Dian, which you can find here:
80, Jalan Panggong,
50150 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Daily (7am to 5pm)
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