Kopi Dates

Howard Chen
9th Nov 2023

Fusion food can be a fickle thing. Sometimes you get social media fads like Big Mac tacos or ramen burgers that are a blip in the grand scheme of things, and sometimes you get things with staying power like banh mi, Filipino spaghetti, Japanese curry, and so on. After experiencing some of the goods at Kopi Dates, I'd like to advocate for fusion of some lesser known cuisines.

Peranakan culture originated in the 14th century and picked up after the fall of the Ming dynasty in China in 1644 when waves of migrants moved to Southeast Asia, also known as Nanyang. While Peranakans are not exclusively Chinese, they are the largest group. Here, the southern Chinese immigrants married the indigenous Malays and Indonesians and developed their own culture, language, and food separate from what we could today call Malaysian Chinese, Chinese Singaporeans, and so on. It's also here where you may come across the terms Baba for men and Nyonya for women.

At Kopi Dates, this nondescript cafe covers a wide array of dumplings with wrappers and fillings all made in house along with curries and sauces. There's also cafe food and dishes sprinkled with Cantonese and Taiwanese influence. For example, they have momos, kimchi mandu, tom yum dumplings, and their own signature Malaysian Nyonya curry chicken dumplings, and traditional dumplings you can get steamed, crispy, or pan fried.

We ordered the Nyonya curry chicken dumplings and traditional pan fried dumplings and their sambal fried rice. The curry chicken is stuffed with...curry chicken and sitting in a curry. All of it was delicious, there's so much flavour here in such a random cafe outside Bunnings I will definitely be back.

It's also here I came across Nyonya Laksa with Taiwanese fried chicken. You see Hainanese chicken with laksa semi-often but Taiwanese fried chicken and Nyonya laksa? Sign. Me. Up. The laksa is pretty rich and thicker than other laksas and has a nice dollop of rempah. The Taiwanese fried chicken here is one of the best I've come across in Sydney where the breading isn't soggy and the thigh is still juicy.

This place is a gem, and I hope their fusion stays.