Friday, January 14, 2011

How to order coffee like a Singaporean | Travelfish on Singapore

Singaporeans live in crowded apartment blocks, kopitiams have become the country’s open-air living rooms. While the young may prefer to spend their free time at the mall, Singapore’s aunties and uncles (an endearing term for your elders) flock to their nearest kopitiam to read the newspaper, gossip over tea, and watch Chinese dramas on the communal television.
Why should you visit a kopitiam? Other than being a shot of local culture, kopitiams are great value with a cup costing as little as S$0.80. When it’s your turn to order you can forget what you’ve learned at Starbucks: kopitiams have a lingo all their own.
Ask for a kopi (kaw-pee) and you’ll get a rich, thick brew strained through something that resembles a sock. By default, kopitiam-style coffee is served with lots of condensed milk and sugar. If you like it black order a kopi-o or, if you want them to hold the sugar, ask for a kopi kosong. If the weather is too steamy for a hot drink, you can get a kopi peng (on ice). The same terms apply for teh (tea). Fancy a hot black tea without sugar or milk? That’s a teh-o kosong.
Think you’ve got the hang of it? Mix and match the terms to customise your drink.
Iced tea with milk but no sugar = teh peng kosong
Hot tea with sugar but no milk = teh-o
Iced coffee with sugar but no milk = kopi-o peng
Hot coffee without milk or sugar = kopi-o kosong

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tanya said...

Thanks for the link. You should come to SG sometime and try it for yourself!

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