Judi Zienchuk

An Introduction to Singaporean Kopi Culture

For the most part, Singapore is a city that has been rushing fearlessly into the future, with several islands and 700,000 new housing developments set to be constructed by 2030. As a result, it holds a significantly higher standard and cost of living than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors. However, one aspect of the nation that has held onto old-time tradition despite this rush forward is its kopitiam culture (where “kopi” translates as the Malay word for “coffee” and “tiam” translates as the Hokkein word for “shop”). Even just the word “kopitiam” and its multilingual translation reflect Singapore’s diverse cultural history.

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