Tag Archives: Peranakan

Dish That I Crave: Breakfast at Tong Ah Eating House – Singapore

Although peranakan-style kopitiam becomes popular in Jakarta nowadays, I usually just want to steer clear and reserve the experience whenever I can visit the real deal abroad.

Well, abroad doesn’t mean that it has to be in Singapore or Malaysia. We got some classic as well as modern kopitiams in Bangka for example, and I visited some during a trip several years ago. But when talking about Singapore because of my recent trip, I decided to skip the mainstream choices in malls and head straight for individual kopitiam which you can only find downtown or at the Chinatown.

That’s when I found out about Tong Ah Eating House.

The original place, which was really beautiful and located on an intersection where you can overlook the Chinatown in 270 degrees, has now been sold to Potato Head – one of Indonesian prominent F&B groups from Jakarta. I finally got to see Three Buns as well there!

Tong Ah 2

Lucky enough, Tong Ah moved a bit further inside the neighborhood but still nearbly.

As expected, the place was busy and there’s not much too see except for the serving station. A sight of the old kopitiam kettle is more than enough to tell you that they mean business but I saw also the sous vide machinery as well. That’s certainly for the soft boiled eggs!

The service was quick and concise but it would be great if you could bring a friend who speaks Chinese like I did back then. I was practically just sat down and waited for the food to come.

Tong Ah 3

Anyway, my milk coffee was just perfect. Some say that it’s a skill only owned by kopitiams who have their way of brewing coffee, although mostly use robusta beans.

The toast though, was not exactly as I expected. The usual ones I have are usually thinner and crispier, but Tong Ah’s kaya toast tasted like home, a bit thick and not too crispy.

Finally, it’s the egg. Unlike the warkop in Indonesia, we have to crack the eggs open by ourselves and despite using the sous vide (which I didn’t see personally), the egg was just lukewarm and uninspiring. It reached the much desired consistency at the very least.

So anyway, even though it was just a brief visit, it felt good to visit what Singaporeans are proud of one at a time. After chicken rice and kopitiam, perhaps chili crabs and raw fish porridge come next for my future visit. We shall see!



35 Keong Saik (Siak) Road, Singapore

Fun Food Facts #9

Fun Food Facts #9:


Video credit: the little dröm store

Dish That I Crave: Chicken Rice at Staff Canteen – T2 Changi, Singapore

There were times that Singapore may be too much to handle if you plan everything on your own for short visits. I’ve never been to Singapore only for leisure and it has been all about my job back then as a banker and now as a journo/blogger.

Of course, legwork is what you should expect when scouring this city but a little bit of advice here and there would be so priceless so that you can make use of your time even better.

That’s why I was excited, like a lot, when the Alphard brought us back to the airport way earlier after we all finished our trip and that we can have an early dinner together among bloggers and a good friend of mine from Changi Recommends.

Staff Canteen T2 Changi - Chicken Rice 2

The Staff Canteen at Terminal 2 of Changi Airport may be well-known to the locals but to actually reach here may be not for everyone. It is advisable for you to check in your heavy luggage first before heading here because you will need to climb the emergency staircase right beside the parking lot.

So clear your burden, empty your stomach, and prepared to be pampered with Singaporean treats.

The staff canteen itself has a lot to offer but since I had been craving for months for chicken rice (which I found it a bit expensive and not fulfilling in Indonesia), to find a recommended booth that sells it was such a huge blessing.

For a highly affordable SGD 3, you can have a plate full of nasi Hainam topped with big slices of chicken and a refreshing cucumber. Also you should not miss the soup and the sambal as well.

Staff Canteen T2 Changi - Chicken Rice 1

In terms of taste, I find it pretty decent and I was very whimsical back then when I finally encountered chicken rice! I would vote this place for a wholesome experience of enjoying what Singaporeans are really fond of having for lunch.

I was thoroughly fulfilled and the memory of having it was engraved deep inside my mind. I’d be sure to take anyone here from time to time in the future, plus to try something else from this canteen.


PS: I forgot the exact name of the booth that sells this chicken rice, but it’s really nearby the entrance of the staff canteen. You will know where once you’re there. 😉

Taking It To The Streets: Roti Bakar Eddy (The Foodie Magazine, Apr 2014)

Roti bakar stalls have become known places to “hang out” for many decades. And Roti Bakar Eddy has become one of the ultimate places to hang out, celebrate life and enjoy the rest of the evening with good treats and great company.

Oftentimes one would go to hawkers only for light snacks or just to enjoy the conversation over coffee, especially for late nights and weekends. This is practically the reason why Indonesians need the side street coffee shops like Roti Bakar Eddy. Even though nowadays, we witness the growing popularity of convenience stores as a new hang out place, all-nighter roti bakar hawkers are still very much in demand.

Roti Bakar Eddy 2

People usually come here either for a bowl of instant noodle with grated cheese and corned beef, or grilled banana with chocolate sprinkles, or the simple toast with jam. Some complement these with iced milk coffee, warm citrus drinks, or energy drinks like Milo or more traditionally a beer glass filled with fresh milk, ginger, honey, and eggs. Even they do have soft-boiled eggs as well like Singaporean kopitiams. It’s all simple and affordable for everyone.

Roti Bakar Eddy is located just nearby Al-Azhar mosque around Blok M. During the evening, this neighborhood is simply crowded and the success of Roti Bakar Eddy has been influencing different hawkers to join them there. This is the turf where everyone enjoys their dinner.

The story of how Roti Bakar Eddy became so influential was an arduous one. As one who was enchanted with the promises and opportunities from living in Jakarta, Pak Eddy arrived here in the late 60s. After a string of odd jobs to keep him and his family afloat, he decided to enter the hawker business. Challenges kept on coming until he finally proved his mettle by becoming the most famous in Jakarta and owns several other branches around the city run by his children.

Roti Bakar Eddy 3

Operating at this huge a scale, Roti Bakar Eddy bakes their own bread fresh everyday since hundreds upon hundreds of loaves are sold every night. At one point, you might find that your drinks or order of nasi uduk arrive sooner than the toast because so many people come and take away dozens of it for office overtime!

Mind you though because hanging around in traditional roti bakar seller like Pak Eddy may feel a bit noisy and smoky but nothing can beat the liveliness and spectacle of the sight. People came in to order their stuff, street musicians traverse from one hawker to another, cars passing by, and those who are already seated converse, laugh, and enjoy their meals. Once in a while, nothing can beat the excitement of hanging out the classic Jakarta way.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address: Jalan Raden Patah (behind Al-Azhar University) and several other outlets in Jakarta – Indonesia
Tel: –

Opening hours: Everyday, 4pm – before dawn

Spend: IDR 15,000 – IDR 30,000 / person


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE April 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

Kahvehane: Kopitiam Nan Yo Baru ‘Liong’ (Padang – West Sumatra, Indonesia)

Nan Yo Baru - Interior

Finding a kopitiam has been a-must activity since I set my foot on Bangka island around last year. In certain places where the traces of Chinese immigrants can be found, you can almost be sure that the trail of good coffee follows. This joyous moment happened as well during my visit to the Chinatown area of Padang and this very kopitiam is said to be one of the famous in the city. Let us meet Cici Yance, the owner of Kopitiam Nan Yo Baru ‘Liong’.

As the wife of the second generation owner of this homey kopitiam, Cici Yance has been running the show solo lately. Her husband’s ailment prevented him to be involved fully in the business again. Much to my surprise, Cici Yance served seven of us with warm welcome and swift service. After all, the rush hours had passed.

Lontong Cubadak
Lontong Cubadak

For me, it’s also the chance to taste one of the local’s best aside from the coffee. Due to its Chinese heritage, Nan Yo Baru also serves noodles and dumplings but I had to skip it for now even though the very thought of it made me drooling. This time I chose Lontong Cubadak or rice cakes with young jackfruit, sweet nut paste, bean curd, other vegetables, and a hard-boiled egg with curry soup. To refresh myself again against the very hot day that day, I had myself Cici Yance’s iced coffee and milk.

This particular rice cakes dish has many different version. For example, my breakfast the last time I visited the regency of Lintau on the far eastern part of West Sumatra was the combination between bubur or roughly cut rice cakes with young jackfruits only. While this one here has a more colorful combo and a rare treat for my tummy!

Es Kopi Susu
Es Kopi Susu

As for the coffee, Cici Yance said that she uses a particular robusta beans from Sungai Penuh area around the foothills of Kerinci mountain in Jambi province territory and she does it the Singaporean kopitiam way by boiling the coffee inside a sieve and the unique long kettle. Too bad that time I didn’t taste the real hot coffee but after all, the iced version was also a formidable choice. A friend of mine regarded highly the taste of his cuppa for only like IDR 6,000!

Cici Yance
Cici Yance

Well, it was a short visit and no matter how pleasant Cici Yance’s hospitality was, we only talked a bit but my journo friends bought some coffee beans to be taken home. One of them even asked Cici Yance to teach how to brew it and she’s more than willing to do so.

So, now I know where to find good coffee and perhaps next time I’d be able to also visit another coffee watering hole of my friend’s girlfriend’s relatives also in Padang. It’s a good thing that naturally the Chinese families have this particular fondness with coffee everywhere and they share the fun with us in an affordable way. I am indeed, thankful.




Must eat: All kinds of coffee, rice cakes dishes for breakfast

Spend: IDR 10,000 – 15,000 / person

Address: Jalan Nipah no. 22, Padang –

Telp: +62.751.28529

Opening hours: Everyday, TBA