Category Archives: drinks

Sweetness In Sickness

For kids of the 50s~60s, falling sick now and then – perhaps a bout of fever, coughs and colds — was commonplace.  We just took some off-the-shelf oral medication and had some good rest in bed.

Of course, oftentimes, our appetites went awry for a season, and none of Mummies’ special delights could tempt us.  No worries, though.

There was this Sweet Old Thing that came in a light blue tin – yes, Glucolin.   It was principally Glucose – sugar that could quickly get into the bloodstream, without burdening the digestive system too much.  It claimed to contain other nutrients – but who cared; it was sweet and nice.  At least it made the sickness bearable…LOL

Photo here shows the packaging as I knew it when I was a kid. I have not seen Glucolin for decades – maybe it is no longer in fashion.

Squeeze Me Baby With All Your Might

Rummaging through my kitchen cabinet one day, I found this piece of magnificent ancient glassware. I guess it must have been with us for the last 4 decades or so – I might as well call it an artefact instead.

I am not sure what its correct name is – shall I call it Manual Juicer?

That same day I got hold of a couple of oranges, slit them in halves and then revived my hand muscles to get the juice flowing.  Man, it was hard work – I really had to squeeze the fruit halves with all my might, while simultaneously rotating them around.

I remember it was a rather easy job 40 years ago.  But this time round, my hand joints felt sore, and I had to rub in some analgesic balm afterwards for relief.  

Tonic Chap Singa

Everyone knows T-O-N-I-C Tonic Chap Gajah, but what about Tonic Chap Singa ?   No kidding !

For those who can recall, the bottle came with a blue cap (see photo ). It was reputed to have some medicinal properties and was good for removing “heatiness” from the body, but it was bitter and not popular.   Rarely did this drink feature on the must-have festive season beverage lists.  Happiness and Bitterness don’t go together, I suppose.

Not sure if F&N still markets this drink.

To sidetrack a bit, I had a Hokkien-speaking colleague from Muar who went to Penang to work.   He went to a coffeeshop and asked for “tau nee”, and was served this Tonic.  Apparently he did not know that in Penang, we call soyabean milk “tau chooi”.

Paip.Sekolah : The Thirst Was History

It was far better than Pepsi-Cola: it was cool, refreshing and clear.  And F-O-C and F-O-S too (free-of-charge,and free-of-sugar).

Well, just reminiscing my primary school days, when after a PE lesson or a game of football, we kids made a beeline for the solitary standpipe in the school compound, and got our thirsty throats quenched.

No SWEAT for us to drink in this unadulterated H-TWO-O; just opened our mouths big big, turned on the tap handle, and took a BIG GULP or two, and the thirst was history.

My late mum always cautioned me against drinking straight from the tap for the fear of water-borne diseases.  She always made me carry a bottle of boiled water from home.  But,…,drinking from Paip Sekolah was a totally different experience.  I never told her.


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. 

Long Arms Of The Draw

It’s Teh Tarik – the “pulled tea” – don’t call the police ! 

Traditionally, the local coffeeshop uncles would pour hot milk tea from one “koleh” (a tumbler) into another,  while simultaneously  drawing them apart, with the tea streaming from the upper container held high up, into the lower container.   This was repeated several times.  The tea stream must have been at least 1 metre long.  Is this “arm-stretching” ritual still being practised? 

I had been told that this was to cool down the tea, so that it would not scald the lips of the drinker.   But some say, the resulting frothy foam made the tea taste special – hype or truth ?

Anyway, my arms ain’t very long, and yet if I were to try out this tarik process, I would need a big pail at the lower end to catch the stream without spilling.

One Frog Of A Drink

A nostalgic beverage worth croaking for !

In my school boy days, we often patronized road-side ice-water vendors and one of the favourite drinks was a red-coloured water which had many small “things” inside.  We did not know what those were – but everyone called the beverage “air katak puru”, implying that those little “things” were the eggs of frogs.

It has been many years, in fact decades, since I last had a sip. But it was only recently that I came to know the little round things are basil seeds.       (I have been eating basil leaves for many years, but know nothing about its seeds).

But why aren’t people selling this kind of drinks anymore ?

OK, I think I should be hopping around supermarkets to see if I can get a bottle.   Jom !  Come croak with me.