57-Year-Old Amoy Street Kopi Stall Has Charcoal-Grilled Toast & Handmade Kaya
Apart from putting our physical and mental health on edge, the Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately placed some pressure on beloved food institutions in Singapore.
Selling one of Singapore’s last charcoal-toasted bread, Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee on Amoy Street embodies the core of our hawker culture.
With a glorious history and excellent reputation, the old-school kopi stall has attracted many loyal customers over the years.
However, with the recent dine-in restrictions and most people working from home (WFH), it’s seeing a significantly reduced footfall.
Saddened by its plummeting traffic, a netizen called for support on Facebook for the heritage stall that’s worth preserving.
Amoy Street kopi hawker reportedly earns $20 in 5 hours
Located at Amoy Street Food Centre, Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee is smack in the middle of Singapore’s CBD.
Prior to the pandemic, the kopi stall used to enjoy brisk business from the office crowd and weekend cyclists.
However, paying the stall a visit around 11am on 29 May, Facebook user Ms Yap claimed she was only their 2nd or 3rd customer since 6am.
With the previous customers buying 1 or 2 cups of coffee, the mother-son duo running the stall apparently earned only $20 after 5 hours into business.
Ms Yap felt the amount didn’t do justice to their artisan spirit over the years, as you’re about to find out why.
57-year-old business started at Lau Pa Sat
Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee has its origins at Lau Pa Sat back in 1964. 13 years later, it relocated to Amoy Street Food Centre, which it has called home ever since.
In an interview with Our Grandfather Story (OGS) in 2018, the stall’s previous owner, Mr Wong Lock Seng, said he’d been a kopi kia or coffee boy since he was 9.
The stall owes its name to Mr Wong, who unfortunately passed away sometime later, according to Daniel Food Diary.
As such, the late Mr Wong’s wife and son took over the business, as well as Uncle Wong’s legacy of artisanship.
Old-school kopi stall on Amoy Street has handmade kaya
Staying true to the stall’s Hainanese origin, Uncle Wong kept the old-school way of making kaya butter toast for decades.
Grilling bread over charcoal fire, Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee is possibly among the last few to still do so in Singapore.
Many savour the unique charcoaled fragrance that’s hard to find anywhere other than at the Amoy Street kopi stall.
What’s more, Mrs Wong spends 5 hours daily making the kaya jam from scratch with fresh pandan leaves, coconut milk, and fresh eggs.
Besides the signature bread toasts and kaya jam, the stall is also famed for its strong and authentically Hainanese Kopi C.
Stall sold out thanks to supporting crowds
Ms Yap’s post in Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 spurred on crowds of supporters who went down to give the mother-son duo a hand.
The next day after Ms Yap penned the post, the stall owners apparently had their bread sold out by 10.35am.
Another netizen pledges to patronise the stall in the coming week when they return to the office as our old-school hawkers serving hearty food are worth preserving.
Some have also offered testament to the stall’s superb kopi and toast, saying few in Singapore are still staying true to the old-school way.
Protect & preserve our hawker culture
Heritage gems like this kopi stall on Amoy Street don’t come across easily.
Protecting them amid a raging pandemic is how we keep our traditions and hawker culture alive and vibrant.
So do swing by the stall and order yourself what might just be the best toasties you’ve had in a while.
Here’s how to get there:
Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee
Address: 7 Maxwell Rd, #02-95, Singapore 069111
Opening hours: Sat-Wed (6am-2pm), Thurs & Fri (closed)
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar & Telok Ayer Stations
If you’re intending to visit soon, we’d suggest heading there early to enjoy the cool morning breeze and beat the breakfast rush.
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