Pay for kopi with kangkong

The humble kangkong is now the talk of Malaysia.

Ever since Prime Minister Najib Razak used the vegetable as an example to illustrate the volatility of prices, Malaysians have latched on to it like never before.

Indeed, a cafe in Petaling Jaya has cashed in on the kangkong "mania" with a special offer.

Its kangkong-for-coffee deal on Friday attracted a mix of first-timers and regular customers, liberal news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Instead of the usual RM5 (S$1.90), customers paid for a cup of long black using the vegetable.

In return, customers received a leaf from the kangkong as a "receipt" and some of the best coffee in town.

The cafe, Artisan Coffee, was voted the best place for coffee in Time Out: Kuala Lumpur magazine's annual food awards in 2012.

The offer was available only from 8am to 1pm on Friday and by 11.30am, customers had redeemed 30 cups of coffee in this manner.

Student Lionel Kueh, 19, found out about the offer from a sign posted at the cafe several days ago.

He showed up with two friends, but the trio had only two bundles of the vegetable between them.

However, this did not appear to be a problem for Mr Kueh, who claims to visit the cafe daily.

He said: "The other one (the third cup of coffee) was free because I'm very close to the baristas."

He added that he had purchased the bundles of the vegetable for RM1 each and described the offer as "affordable".

The kangkong joke started when Mr Najib used it and other vegetables as examples to show the volatility of prices.

In a video posted online on Sunday, he said: "There are times when the price of vegetables, sawi (mustard green) and kangkong goes up and there are times when it comes down...

"When the prices come down, why are there no praises for the government? When it goes up, the government gets the blame."

Another customer, Ms Loo Cheng Feng, who visited the cafe with a friend for the first time, paid for two cups of coffee with two stalks of kangkong she rescued from her mother's wok.

Not well received

Artisan Coffee's promotion was not received well in some quarters.

A Facebook page was set up the night before the promotion calling for a boycott of the joint.

The anonymous page, which claims that the cafe adds lard to its items, failed to gain any traction and had no "likes" at all as of 2.30pm on Friday.

Meanwhile, the cafe was facing a mounting kangkong problem - what to do with the vegetable collected from customers.

So after the promotion ended, the kangkong was given to customers.

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