It is their favorite brand of home-grown coffee. Back then, it used to be known as Chai Kee Coffee or Kopi Cap 434. The three digits “434” was its old telephone number.
I know this local brand coffee rather well, because I practically grew up drinking Sai Kee coffee every day, since I was a kid back in the 60s ; until today (I’m in my fifties now), I’m still gulping down at least two to four cups of Sai Kee kopi each day, without fail.
My family used to lived at Jalan Ismail, Muar. The very same road where Sai Kee Coffee was founded back in 1953 in a doubled-story wooden house. It was at the row of houses on your left, when you turn into Jalan Ismail at the junction of Jalan Salleh and Jalan Bakariah.
If memory serves me right, Chai Kee or Sai Kee Kopi Serbok was located at the second last house. The present factory is at Jalan Bakariah.
In those days, my late dad had a provision shop at Jalan Ismail, and he used to sell “Chai Kee kopi hoon” (Chai Kee coffee powder in Hokkien dialect). I remember vividly back then, my dad used to mention the name of the boss or founder of Chai Kee Kopi, “Ah Sai”. Of course then it was funny to us kids, because in Hokkien dialect, the word “sai” means poop!
When I came up to work and live in Kuala Lumpur in the early 80s, I missed my favorite Kopi Cap 434. Those days, this Muar-based coffee was not available in any supermarket around the Klang Valley area. So, each time, when I went back to my hometown, I would come back to KL with ample supply of Sai Kee coffee powder. These days, you can get Sai Kee Coffee powder and also in satchet form in the Klang Valley.
Sai Kee Koptiam
From what I know, there are four outlets. Two along Jalan Maharani (one is a cafe-cum-retail (photo below) and the other is just a retail store), another one retail shop in the wet market at Jalan Arab and the newly-opened cafe known as Elephant Bean Cafe at Wetex Parade, Jalan Arab (actually it is facing Jalan Ali).
UPDATE: I remember seeing another cafe along Jalan Bakri.
Today, if you go down to Muar or better known as “Ma Por”, you can enjoy its freshly brew aromatic coffee at its two outlets in town:
Cafe 434 Muar
121, Jalan Maharani, 84000 Muar, Johor, (facing Muar River, opposite Bentayan Bus Station)
Elephant Bean Cafe
LG01-02, Wetex Parade
69, Jalan Ali Muar
434 2 u
Do you know that now you can order its wide array of Kopi 434 and have it couriered to you on the same day?
You call them to get the best price quote. Then cash transfer at any Public Bank in Malaysia before 2 p.m.
Besides famous for its Mee Bandung and Hainanese chicken rice ball, so is Sai Kee Coffee Muar.