My maternal grandfather worked as a diplomat in Singapore and Malaysia during my formative years. As a result, he would bring me and my grandmother along with him during the summer. Sometimes, my parents or my younger aunts would come along. We’d stay at the Phoenix Hotel near Orchard Road (or the Merlin Hotel if we were in Kuala Lumpur) for a couple months. During the time, my young tastebuds were exposed to the flavors of curry mee, kueh lapis, noodle soup with large, plump fish balls, and sate.
I haven’t been to Singapore or KL for nearly a decade now and I understand that food culture has grown by leaps and bounds since my last trip. It would be easy to wax rhapsodic – even melancholic – about the food I had on those trips. However, I guess I’m lucky that there are shops like ToastBox and Kopi Roti in this part of the world.
Yesterday’s breakfast was, thus, a throwback to my childhood. A cold Milo Dinosaur started the meal: cold, creamy, and topped with a veritable landslide of the iconic chocolate-flavored malt powder I used to sneak by the spoonful as a kid.
This was followed by a kopi bun – that dome-shaped roll baked with a chunk of butter in the middle and lashings of coffee frosting. Kopi Roti’s bun is a shade darker than the ones at Roti Mum at the Megamall, but the flavor is stronger and richer. The bun beneath the frosting shell is delectably fluffy and the taste of butter permeates every crumb without being greasy or cloying. It also comes to the table manageably hot and certainly a treat for a growling belly.
To round out the meal, I had the siewmai. Kopi Roti’s version of this classic dimsum is about twice as big as the average dumpling. (Hence the P 60.00 charge for a four-piece order.) The pork forcemeat has an even texture and is most flavorful. I couldn’t detect the use of any extenders as the dumplings were very meaty – perfect for dipping in soy and chili-garlic oil!
Kopi Roti also offers the classic Nonya-style hawker stall breakfast of soft boiled eggs with soy sauce, kaya toast with Cold Storage butter, and a choice of either teh or kopi C – or tea / coffee with a splash of evaporated milk. I didn’t have that, but I’m planning to some day soon. 😀