Kyo Pang is a Restaurateur, Founder and Executive Chef of Kopitiam acclaimed for bringing Asian culinary, coffee and tea traditions to the US palate. Pang has been nominated as Chef of the Year in Eater’s Award 2018 and twice nominated as James Beard Semifinalist (2019, 2020). The Malaysian eatery, billed as “wholesome fast-casual,” has received wide acclaim, including being selected as a 2018 critic pick from Pete Wells in the NYTimes where he called it “almost unfailingly terrific” and being named a Bon Appetit Magazine Hot Ten restaurant in 2019.
Born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, Pang’s passion comes from her experiences as a child of restaurateurs of Baba Nyonya descent — a rich culinary and coffee tradition blending Chinese and Malaysian cooking with traces of European influence. Pang grew up immersed in the hustle and bustle of her family’s coffee shops and began opening up and running successful restaurants with her father at age 17. As a Malaysian refugee in New York, Pang loves bringing this culture, history, and cuisine to eaters in an accessible way.
Despite her family’s legacy, Pang first moved to New York City to study, and graduated from college with double majors in public relations and psychology. Post-graduation, she worked first in fashion, then in event planning at popular clubs such as Griffin, Green House, Hudson Terrace, and Marquee. Eventually, cooking for delighted friends and colleagues pulled her back into the restaurant business and Kyo opened her first iteration of Kopitiam in New York in 2015 with rapid success.
Kyo currently lives in New York City with her wife, Kiyomi, and their dog Kaya. In her off-time, Kyo also works with Kiyomi on her newly-opened restaurant, Public Village. The Sichuanese restaurant has recently received glowing write-ups from Eater New York and Gothamist.