Besides all the indie cafes that have sprouted out island-wide over the last few years, some or rather more, in the far-flung reaches of our tiny little red dot, there are also those traditional gems that we should never forget. These are the old-style coffee shops, or kopitiam, as they are called in Hokkien. I have heard of some of these but have not visited them because most of these aren’t located in town, and as far as locations of cafes are concerned, I am too pampered to always be revolving around those in town. It isn’t that the ones in town aren’t good but they tend to lack a little of that character, or maybe the very fact that they are in town means they have to adhere to some kind of unspoken rule, in terms of decor and the likes. The more interesting ones that have always been blogged about are generally in the suburban areas.
But there are exceptions once in a while, one of which is YY Kafei dian (the hanyu pinyin of coffee shop in Chinese, aka kopitiam), located at 37 Beach Road, just a stone’s throw away from Raffles Hotel. Even if this is not considered the heart of town like Orchard Road, it is not very likely you will find something like this in the glitzy upmarket parts of town. It is one of those traditional shops that has a main drinks stall much like how many coffee shops are these days, with a few or several other stalls selling a variety of foods. This one boasts just a couple I think, besides the coffee stall that sells food, there is a stall that sells chicken rice (or perhaps it’s the chicken/roast meat stall) and another or perhaps the same, that sells zi-char.
To get to the point of this post, I’ll let some of the pictures do the talking.
Coffee and tea in the morning is just not complete with soft-boiled eggs. This was how Ya Kun came about too I suppose? And YY’s take on the kaya bun really is an eye-opener for me, who is used to the typical thinly-sliced and well-toasted Yakun kaya toast.
The good thing about it is that there isn’t a slab of butter in between the 2 slices, like what I usually see in Yakun toast, or even those from Killiney. But this is just kaya bun and not kaya butter so I guess it also explains the absence of that butter slab. Anyway the coconut taste of the kaya is pretty palpable, in a nice way, although maybe non-lovers of coconut might want to take note of it.
And we also ordered some extras. A cupcake and another kueh, that we feel should contain coconut (besides the obvious sesame) and ginger or some other citrus stuff. It has a sticky, gooey kind of texture, a little like the mua-chee covered with the mixture of coconut and etc., then fried. I love the buttery taste of the cupcake, and because it’s so tiny that it can easily fit into one mouthful or two, it goes perfectly well as a little snack.
We were there at about 10am on a Sunday morning, fortunate because it was not too crowded so we had the luxury of choosing our seats within the warm interior of the coffee shop. Just a short while later, as we were busy enjoying our breakfast, we noticed that the place had began to fill up and some patrons even had to stand around to wait for others to leave. Perhaps due to its fame (try googling it and you will find many reviews of it online) or its location, the patronage ranged from older folks who probably visit this place on a pretty regular basis, and even younger working adults as well as camera-toting tourists.
Oh, and for all this, we paid S$5.90. This is the reason why they are not in Orchard Road. It just wouldn’t have been economically-sustainable for a coffee shop of its size and price range. Value-for-money index is definitely high here!