Saturday, October 07, 2006

Killeney Kopi Tiam, Purvis St, Singapore

Killeney Kopi Tiam, Purvis St, Singapore

Breakfast today was at this little place on Purvis St. The nervous middle-aged woman took my order. Her clouded eyes showing signs of stress and overwork. I chose a Kaya Toast and Half Boil Egg. These arrived speedily and I went back to order some plain toast to go with my (two) eggs. After paying again, she got very flustered and came to me:

"Your toast is already here. You want again-ah?"
"Oh no, I just want some plain toast."
"No kaya?"
"Just bread, thanks."

Her consternation was plain to see.

"Aiyah, this one is toast, how come you don't say you want plain-wan?"

I thought I'd made it 'plainly' obvious by asking for "plain toast", but that obviously confused her because "plain bread" comes toasted as a matter of course. It would seem "toast" is synecdoche for "kaya toast" in this linguistic microcosm.

The bread for the kaya toast was a little stale, and they stinged a bit on the kaya and butter, I thought. I'd expected a bit more given the marketing swathing the shop, "...established in 1919 Killeney Kopi Tiam serves crisp kaya toast...etc." The Half Boil(ed) Egg(s) was tepid, but slippery smooth and perfectly done. I prefer mine a little firmer, but that's because I've always had to make my own and I'm not very good with the timing, so tend to overcook mine. It's just what I'm used to I guess.

This street seems to be the Hainanese street as it's lined with hainanese establishments, although Hokkien was spoken at Killeney.


HomeMadeS said...

could you describe what kaya means here?

David said...

Sure, I've edited the post to include a wikipedia link to Kaya.

LBFM said...

you'll be much better off at a regular coffeeshop at any heartland place.