The drinks stall at hawker centres can be such a wonder for visitors. If you are new to our island-city you will see people walking around or having their meals with a cup of coloured liquid that looks too queer to ignore. Then you head over to the drinks stall to get the same drink, but have no idea what you just ordered. Well, here’s a list of drinks unique to Singapore, Malaysia, and the immediate region.
This refers to the murky green-coloured drink that everyone has at their tables, and is probably the most popular drink amongst the locals to have with their gigantic feasts at hawker centres or food markets. Usually made fresh, stall owners use fresh sugarcane sticks and run them through a juicer, resulting in a sweet and refreshing concoction that is incredibly more-ish. Have it with a slice of lemon or a piece of sour plum (available only at some stalls) if you need a little bit of zing and a little less of sweet!
Bandung is basically a drink made from the combination of rose syrup, water and milk. Rose syrup is essentially rose water with sugar (lots and lots of it). It can be terribly sweet, but kids (and most adults) love it. It is pink milky goodness in a cup that goes perfectly with your local hawker feast.
Chin Chow Drink
The Chin Chow Drink is also commonly known as grass jelly Drink. It is a sweet, black drink featuring slices of black jelly, which have a slightly bitter taste, that are submerged in a sweet liquid. This cooling drink is perfect for the hot weather in Singapore, and can also be drunk after a big meal as dessert. There are canned Chin Chow Drinks, but locals prefer those freshly made in hawker centres.
You may have heard of Milo, but might not have heard of Milo Dinosaur. While Milo is a widely-known delicious chocolate drink, Milo Dinosaur is exactly that but with additional spoonfuls of milo powder layered on top of the iced chocolate liquid. Different people like to have the drink in different ways – some people like to put the dry milo powder in their mouths and have it dissolve instantly, while other prefer to mix it in with just the surface of the drink to form a delicious chocolatey goo that can look quite unsightly to some people but is absolutely delicious. This is one drink you will not want to skip trying when you visit Singapore.
Soya Bean Milk
While there is Tau Huey, which is Soya Beancurd, there is also the drink known as Tau Huey Jui or Soya Bean Milk. This is a drink that is popular amongst locals to have for breakfast or even supper. You can choose to have it hot or cold and sweetened or unsweetened. The milk is usually made fresh, and some people have it with dough fritters or Youtiao which may sound weird, but it really works. When having it cold, you can choose to have it mixed half-and-half with the Chin Chow Drink. Again, it may sound weird but this is a very popular combination among the locals and makes a very good all-round refreshing drink.
Soya Bean with Chin Chow
Basically a sweet, cooling drink that features giant cubes of fresh pineapple, it’s a yellowish translucent liquid that may look a little odd at first glance, but once you drink it, you will know why the locals love it. The yellowish liquid is made from combining fresh pineapple juice with sweetened water. Together with some thick slices of pineapple that have been submerged in the iced, cold liquid for some time before being served, it is probably the most refreshing drink you can have in Singapore’s hot climate, being instantly cooling.
Kopi is actually just the local or Hokkien way of saying “coffee“. However, the way that Kopi is made is different from the ones you get from the cafés or Starbucks. This coffee is made from a very traditional coffee powder that is sieved through a cloth (or sometimes referred to as a sock) with boiling hot water. With that, you get the traditional Kopi-O (black coffee). People usually have milk with their coffee, but Kopi is made with sweet condensed milk rather than fresh milk. The result is a thick, aromatic concoction that can be served iced or piping hot. You can also choose to have Kopi-C, which is coffee with Carnation milk which is a healthier, less sweet choice.
Again, Teh is the local or hokkien term for tea. However, Teh is a traditional red tea served with condensed milk, giving you a thick and fragrant drink that can also be served iced or hot. If you don’t want it too hot, you can always order a Teh Tarik. Tarik essentially means “pull”. When you order this, the stall owner would basically start “pulling” your tea from one cup into another to disperse the heat. People also have Teh-O, which is just the red tea after a very big meal to help with the digestion. Iced Teh-O is also a local favourite, especially on a hot day to cool down. You can choose to have it with or without sugar; it tastes great both ways. There are many interpretations of Teh like Teh Cino, which features a cup half-filled with condensed milk mixed with water and filled up to the top with Teh Tarik. The end result makes the drink look like a cup of cappuccino, hence the name.
What are your favourite of the Singaporean drinks?
Celebrate more local flavours at Singapore’s cuisine: The past, present and future of Singaporean food and Raise the Loof for the Newly Revamped Mamashop