Lin Heng is a Hainanese kopitiam in Melaka which sells kaya toast, kopi and wantan mee. I visited it for the first time in 2009 and was really happy to see that it is still around.
The coffeeshop looks ancient. Hanging out in very old pre-war, high-ceiling coffeshops like Lin Heng is one reason why I like visiting Melaka. It has been decades since the coffeeshop has been renovated and the place looks like it is falling apart.
Everything in Lin Heng seems to belong to a bygone era. The coffee-shop still uses charcoal to heat water for making coffee and grill slices of bread. I think the only new things in the coffeeshop are the green plastic chairs. It is as though modern technology bypassed this place. But who knows, the coffeeshop might just surprise me and be wired to the Internet. So I tested to see if it had wi-fi connection…and there was none.
It is difficult to find such kopitiams in Singapore these days. Many of the old-world coffeeshops have made way for the cookie-cutter, air-conditioned, modern foodcourts that are everywhere in this island.
Chin Mee Chin at Katong and this coffeeshop in Lengkok Bahru that I visit from time to time for its steamed bread are about the only places that I know which have retained that old-world charm, but I don’t know for how long a time will they be around for.
The coffeeshop owner told us that he had to get a craftsman to construct the charcoal-fired boiler that the coffeeshop uses to heat up water, he feels that it might be difficult to replace it when the boiler conks out. He also said that Lin Heng is the only coffeeshop in Melaka that still uses charcoal to boil water. Water that has been heated by charcoal tastes better than water that has been heated up by gas…? Perhaps. I cannot really tell.
While toasted bread with butter and kaya is a favourite with most people, I personally prefer steamed bread with only butter. I am not a fan of kaya, and I usually scrape it off my toasted bread whenever I eat this.
I hope Lin Heng will still be around the next time I visit Melaka. I cannot quite remember the exact address of Lin Heng but I know it is somewhere along Jln Munshi Abdullah, across the road from a lantern shop.