Monday, August 31, 2009

Old-style breakfast at Keong Saik Road - RT/WW

Tong Ya's old-style breakfast set

Several friends have commented about the aromatic tea and coffee served at Tong Ya Coffee Shop. So one Sunday morning, we went with a friend to this old style kopitiam (coffee shop) for its popular old-style breakfast. :)

old-style coffee shop Tong Ya in the modern day city

Tong Ya Coffee Shop is located in an old shop-house in Keong Saik Road which had a notorious reputation for its brothels during the 1960s. The three-storey high shophouses flanking either side of the street are now housing several boutique hotels, art galleries and shops for commercial use.
traditional way of making aromatic coffee

We were lucky to get a table fast as the coffee shop is usually packed with customers. Each of us ordered a breakfast set. I was disappointed to see a coffee shop assistant who is a not a local, preparing our beverages. Although he was using the traditional method to prepare our drinks, our cups of teh si (tea with evaporated milk) and kopi or (coffee without sugar) didn't taste authentic. It was too diluted.

a leisurely breakfast

The old-style breakfast brought back memories of my many breakfasts with my parents when I was a young child. After slurping down the 2 half-boiled eggs, my Mom would pour the hot tea into the saucer and blew on it to cool it down. I would then lift up the saucer and drink the tea from it.

These days, it will be seen as ill manners to drink tea from a saucer, but in this old kopitiam, it seems appropriate to just do it. Cheers! :D

Tong Ah Eating House
36 Keong Saik Road
Open: 630am to 10pm, alternate Wednesdays 630am to 2pm



First Commenter - sgshortstories

47 comments:

  1. Yup, ECL Thanks for your sharing! I love old style coffeeshops too!

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  2. I remembered the part about using the saucer to drink coffee/tea, it's also used to divide the drink among siblings. 1 cup can be shared for 2!

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  3. Oh I miss this kind of old style breakfast...how nostalgic. What is that browish colour soup?

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  4. Yumm yumm...I love toasts and half boiled eggs for breakie.

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  5. Aromatic? Looks really aww....ada ommpphh! :) I enjoy such breakfast at such shop. Old town etc are too fancy.

    Anyway thanks for sharing! :)

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  6. i just miss drinking from the saucer in the old days...must make it a retro-hip trend again.

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  7. Sometimes I really enjoy going to coffee shops as such... the feeling is just so different from those of Starbucks... :D

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  8. My dad still use the saucer to cool down his tea, at home. :D

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  9. I have yet to try drinking tea from saucer. And I haven't been to Tong Ya to drink tea though I know that the building that it sits on has a interesting architecture. :)

    Hmmm....I don't think I will go for tea there...since you have said that it was too diluted. I rather pay a bit more to get a good tasting tea.

    The Indian temple nearby Tong Ya was where the Chariot Procession for Thaipusam had started from earlier this year, during Thaipusam.

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  10. sgshortstories,
    Congrats! FC!

    Bring your other half and go enjoy the old style charm. :)

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  11. Jama,
    Oh yes! I remember my Mom having to share her cup of tea among her 3children. She always ended up just taking a sip of her tea. :P

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  12. Doreen,
    You probably will not find this in NZ. The brownish colour soup is my milk tea. I poured it onto my saucer and drank it. :P

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  13. Mei Teng,
    It's my favourite breakfast too but I can only eat it once a week. :(

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  14. Tekkaus,
    I can remember the aromatic smell of roasted coffee beans whenever I walked past old-style coffee shops in the past. These days, I can hardly smell that from coffee shops.

    I hope to be able to find that smell again in Singapore.

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  15. boh tak chek,
    Oooh, you did that too!?

    I don't normally do that but I cannot resist when I was at this old style kopitiam. :P

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  16. day-dreamer,
    I don't go to fancy coffee joints. My favourite is still the teh si at the kopitiam. :)

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  17. lina,
    awww..... is Raimie following his grandpa's action?

    My son used to follow suit when I did that, now he doesn't approve of it. :P

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  18. oceanskies,
    Yes, I saw the Indian temple and it was having a celebration that Sunday I was there.

    I was very disappointed with the tea served that day. Chris and our friend did enjoy their coffee which was thick and aromatic. But I'm not a coffee drinker.

    This street is very interesting. I'll post more in my next post.

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  19. wow, i just love the smell of freshly brewed coffee..

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  20. I thought it was a strange habit of my (dutch) DIL to drink coffee and then tea for breakfast, maybe she lived in Singapore in a former life ?

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  21. wenn,
    I too love the smell of freshly brewed coffee but I am not allowed to drink it.

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  22. Gattina,
    haha..... very funny.

    Singaporeans drink more coffee than tea. And usually we don't drink the two at one time.

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  23. Nowadays, there are not many old-style coffee shops in Singapore. I may try this Tong Ya coffee shop, but then the taste of coffee/tea may be compromised due to lack of experience in preparing the beverage by the foreign worker.

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  24. stanley,
    It's hard to find an old-style kopitiam which serves authentic tea or coffee in Singapore these days.

    In Katong, I go to Chin Mei Chin. Their coffee and tea is still very good. If you are coming to Katong, call me for tea. :)

    At Tong Ya, ask for the Boss to prepare your coffee or tea.

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  25. ECL...as always this is a wonderful display of beautiful pictures and also filled with tons of great information.

    I saw your post this just now on the contest link bu don't know if you are officially joining in or not.

    Oh it's my first one and I do so hope you will join officially.

    You don't have to write a complete post. All you need do is pop in a mention somewhere and then do the subscriptions.

    Please if you are going to enter officially then drop back by and leave me another comment with your url.

    Good luck and I hope you have a great day!!:-)

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  26. I have this almost daily, but at home. The saucer has always been a great idea- I thought this was for kids who couldn't handle the heat but apparently older folk like it too :)

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  27. Drink tea from a saucer? I've never done that before! I think people will look at me one kind if I do that. LOL!

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  28. Eh, so this old style breakfast beats Old Town White Coffee right?

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  29. Anyway, I just love a good hot cup of coffee and toasted bread with butter and kaya! Hmmm, so delicious! : )

    But as I am not a coffee drinker, I don't mind replacing that coffee with Milo. Haha!

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  30. i never drank tea with evap milk, i usually like it plain or i'll just have those flavored cold milk teas.

    How about the food? did it pass your taste?

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  31. i enjoy a kopitiam breakie and Penang serves a few good breakfast deals.

    some kopitiams here use a charcoal boiler to toast the bread and brew coffee.

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  32. i especially love the home-made kaya and half boiled eggs. yummy!

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  33. it must be so comfortable sitting in the coffee shop.
    a simple old-styled breakfast is always a good start for the day. :D

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  34. There aren't many of those traditional kopitiam in Singapore left, would love to soak in the atmosphere when the opportunity arises !

    Thanks for sharing !

    JH
    http://www.photojournalist-tgh.tv

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  35. My eldest sis was married to a Hainanese coffee shop owner and I use to have my half boiled egg and kaya toasted bread there sitting on old coffee shop stools and marble tables of the 60's.

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  36. Ecl,
    Thanks for inviting me to be your tea kaki. Will call on you for yam cha when I visit Katong/East Coast.

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  37. Hi ECL!
    Besides at kopitiams I also recall drinking very aromatic and tongue scorching coffee at Indian coffee/snack stalls a few times when I had no choice.The guys always poured the coffee from way up high into a cup and vice versa many times.I think it was to cool down the coffee.

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  38. you are one of my top dropper...

    woo hoo....\,,,/

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  39. I love the smell of freshly brewed coffee! ;)

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  40. ECL,
    Raimie likes Teh Tarik likes his Mom. :D
    I don't think I ever put tea in a saucer for him to drink yet. :D

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  41. What a neat looking building and the tea sounds delicious!!! I would love to stop in there!

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  42. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day!! I would love to join you in there :)
    Happy Wednesday, ECL!!

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  43. That's a coffee shop I'd love to visit, ecl! Thanks for participating in RT! I really appreciate it!
    BTW, you DO have to pay on the Roosevlet Island RED bus... :)

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  44. Less people drink from the saucer(plate?) nowadays..I wonder if they wash the saucers properly...:O

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