One of the most popular breakfast haunts and definitely the most famous one in Kota Bharu is Kedai Kopi White House, located opposite the State Mosque. The Hainanese-owned coffeeshop started back in 1935, but only moved to its current location in 1980. The current owner, Mr Siow Boon Suan, 71, is actually the son-in-law of the founder of White House. His wife, and now their daughter as well, are the ones who know the secret to brewing one of the best cuppas in Kota Bharu.
White House’s specialties were the Hainanese coffees and the kaya toasts.
One of the new specialties is the Roti Titab - French toast, smothered with kaya, then topped with soft-boiled eggs: guaranteed to deliver an explosion of flavours!
White House also introduced savoury breakfast options these days, like rice with curry, packed in individual packets the traditional Kelantanese way, as this is a popular breakfast option among its Malay clientele. We tried the Nasi Dagang - fragrant, semi-glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk, shallots and ginger, perfumed with fenugreek. The version here came with a tuna curry, the most popular local option. It was passable, not as good as the renditions we’d had elsewhere.
We also tried one of the Nasi Berlauk options - steamed white rice drenched with a fish curry. Again, it was good but not really exceptional.
I’d rather recommend visitors to this very popular spot to stick to its toasts and coffee. Perpetually crowded - be prepared to wait for a table. There is one empty table at the centre of the coffeeshop, but I hear it’s reserved for members of Kelantan royalty, including the sultan, who drops by for their cuppa every now & then.
Kedai Kopi White House
1329-L, Jalan Sultanah Zainab
15050 Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Tel: +60 9-748 4119
Operating hours: Sat-Thu, 8am to 1pm, 5pm to midnight.