Category Archives: beverages

Operation Dessert Storm

More than half-a-century ago, on trips to Penang Island with my late mum, we never missed a chance to call at one very unassuming 4-wheel pushcart cendol stall – along Keng Kwee Street at the junction with Penang Road.

Slurping down a bowl of that tantalizing santan-deluged, gula-melaka-laced icy dessert was pure elation, especially on a hot afternoon.  Yes, good enough to cause even the most insane health nut to crack up and dive in !

The stall ownership might have been passed down to the later generations or other people, but thanks also to the proliferation of social media, this dessert has definitely whipped up a storm of global proportions. 

Everyday there would be a long queue of ardent customers. While waiting for their “ketagihan” to be fixed,  cellphones would be out in force to do the mandatory selfies and wefies.

Kopi Cup Kaw-Kaw

In the good old times before coffeeshops became coffeehouses, we could get real good kopi, kaw-kaw or otherwise, without having to demolish our bank accounts. 

Best of all, while paying only 10 sen or so, our daily perk-up came in dignified porcelain cups, each graced elegantly with a matching saucer.  And those cups were also very kaw (meaning thick).  I was told that the thick cups was to minimize heat loss from the drink. 

These days, at the so-called upmarket coffee outlets, one has to pay a fistful of dollars to get some coffee-looking/smelling liquid with some out-of-this-world unpronounceable names that is served in crass paper cups, or worse, in uncouth health-destroying polyfoam ones.  Sadly, there is no lack of eager victims.  What to do? 

Stoutly Harping On The Same Brew

Wow! That blackish, somewhat bitter brew has been around for 145 years (as of 2017).  As far as my memory goes, this was the Black Dog Beer (“Or Kau Bit” in Penang Hokkien) that was touted as being “Good For You”.

Then, in 1984 I discovered that in Singapore, there was no black dog beer, neither was there the bulldog logo; instead the bottles wore a label which had an Alsatian-like dog with a big red tongue sticking out.  The locals called it “Ang Zit Kau” (meaning red-tongue dog). Never mind the change of doggies, the oval label said it was brewed in the same brewery in Malaysia!

The dogs are gone now, replaced solely by the Harp as the product brand — though the logo underwent half-a-dozen facelifts as the years wore on.  Guinness is still harping on the same brew, I guess.

The Lore Of Beverages

Back in the 60s, Ovaltine and Milo were the two rather “classy” beverages and they ran head-to-head.  Whenever a guest came avisiting to our humble abodes, a cup of one of these hot drinks would be served.

Ovaltine was favored in my home due to its perceived higher nutrition value (supposedly had eggs in its composition), but some vegetarians stayed away from it and went for Milo.

Over the years, Ovaltine seems to have retreated further and further into obscurity (my perception) whilst Milo seems to have gone from strength to strength. If I walk into a coffeeshop now and ask for Ovaltine, chances are that I will get a few blank stares. “Apa tin lu mahu ?”

Photo shows the honest-to-goodness packaging designs of the 1960s – without fanciful photos or pictures printed on them. 

My Pulpy Love

Was this the favorite drink of Donny Osmond ?   Anyway, perhaps most of us have only a vague memory of (or commanded to forget) our puppy loves.   But for me there was one Pulpy Love that came into my life, perhaps in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Needless to say, it was sweet, and very nice to look at.  Unlike other orange-colored and chemically-flavored waters, it tasted like real orange.  And most ‘amazing’ of all, it had real orange pulp in it.   Quite convincing indeed.  That was the original 6-pack F&N Fruit Tree.    The old packaging had been discontinued for many years now, for reasons not known to me.

I think F&N still sells a ‘Fruit Tree’ packet drink, but it has not succeeded in capturing my heart.