Local names for coffee and tea
At kopitiams, coffee and tea are
usually ordered using their local names.
A kopitiam or kopi tiam is a traditional breakfast and coffee shop found in Southeast Asia. The word is a portmanteau of the Malay word for coffee (as borrowed and altered from the Portuguese) and the Hokkien dialect word for shop . Menus typically feature simple offerings: a variety of foods based on egg, toast, and kaya, plus coffee, tea, and Milo, a malted chocolate drink which is extremely popular in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Riau Islands.
- Kopi, coffee
- Kopi-gau, coffee (strong brew – "gau" is "厚" in Hokkien)
- Kopi-po, coffee (weak brew – "po" is "薄" in Hokkien)
- Kopi-C, coffee with evaporated milk (see below)
- Kopi-C-kosong, coffee with evaporated milk and no sugar ('kosong" means empty in Malay)
- Kopi-O, coffee with sugar only
- Kopi-O-kosong, coffee without sugar or milk
- Kopi-O-kosong-gau, a strong brew of coffee without sugar or milk
- Kopi-bing or Kopi-ice, coffee with milk, sugar and ice
- Kopi-xiu-dai, coffee with less sweetened milk
- Kopi-gah-dai, coffee with extra sweetened milk
- Teh, tea with milk and sugar
- Teh-C, tea with evaporated milk
- Teh-C-kosong, tea with evaporated milk and no sugar
- Teh-O, tea with sugar only
- Teh-O-kosong, plain tea without milk or sugar
- Teh tarik, the Malay tea described above
- Teh-halia, tea with ginger water
- Teh-bing, tea with ice, also known as Teh-ice (see below)
- Teh-xiu-dai, tea with less sweetened milk
- Teh-gah-dai, tea with extra sweetened milk
Drinks example like the above list could be extra ordered adding more ice or more sugar or milk.
For example, one can add the "bing"(Ice in mandarin) suffix to form other variations such as Teh-C-bing (tea with evaporated milk with ice) which is a popular drink considering Singapore's warm weather.
These names are indicative of the multi-racial society in Singapore as they are formed by words from different languages, and have become part of the lexicon of Singlish.
For example, teh is the Malay word for tea which itself originated from Hokkien, bing is the Hokkien word for ice, kosong is the Malay word for zero to indicate no sugar, and C refers to Carnation, a brand of evaporated milk.
of course you can then add in the following into the local mix:
- Chin chow drink, 仙草水 (xiān cǎo shuǐ)
- Bandung, rose syrup with evaporated milk
- Bubble Tea, is traditionally made by adding boba balls(made from a mixture of tapioca and carrageenan powder), large or small, to shaken milk black tea. (see below)
- Horlicks Dinosaur, conventional Horlicks served with lots of Horlicks powder on top
- Milo Dinosaur, conventional Milo served with lots of Milo powder on top (see below)
- Milo Godzilla (aka Milo T-Rex), Milo Dinosaur with a scoop of ice-cream and optional whipped cream
- Singapore Sling (see below)
- Soya bean milk
- Sugar cane juice
- Teh halia tarik, ginger tea with milk pulled (tarik) (see below)
a Singapore Sling is a cocktail that is originally invented for the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel. The recipe of Singapore Sling contains gin, cherry brandy and Benedictine. You can drink Singapore Slings at most of the bars in Singapore and on flights of Singapore Airlines.
What is Milo Dinosaur? It’s basically iced Milo with spoon fulls of Milo powder on top
Bubble Tea, is traditionally made by adding boba balls(made from a mixture of tapioca and carrageenan powder), large or small, to shaken milk black tea.
Kopi-C, coffee with evaporated milk and often with condensed milk
as well or instead of the evaporated milk.
Teh halia tarik, ginger tea with milk pulled (tarik)
and to "take away" it is a whole new world in Singapore:
this is so helpful! i'm looking to relocate to SG end of this year and have been on the lookout for SG lifestyle info :) enjoy a wonderful time at Mediterranean!
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