Yesterday.sg's Imprint series which looks at all things memorable. Be it a nostalgic item from childhood or old-school things still revered today, many of these are worth keeping close at heart. We kicked off with breakfasts earlier. Now let's take a look at drinks with local flair...
Singapore is a hot country, and we love our cold drinks. This is a cup of iced longan drink, one that's got goodies added to it - sweet pineapple chunks and attap seeds. Longan is also known as "mata kuching" in Malay. You may also have seen pineapple drinks, grass jelly, lime juice and the like sold alongside this drink.
This bird's nest drink used to be very common. It's really just pandan-infused syrup with bits of rough-textured jelly that resembles bird's nest. But it's no less refreshing.
If you saunter into the Geylang Serai area, there are even more varieties of drinks - air katira (a milky drink with buah kembang semangkuk or "pong ta hai"), bandung (rose syrup with milk; some with biji selasih or basil seeds added for crunch), limau kasturi (calamansi lime), barley, jagung (sweetcorn) and even new flavours now like blueberry or strawberry.
Our fruit juices can also be quite unusual. We've got starfruit, soursop, papaya, honeydew, lychee, winter melon and even durian (although that's more likely in smoothies). Our lime juice is probably the equivalent of the West's lemonade!
Of course, we have the cheap and nutritious soya bean drink - plant-based protein mean there's no cholesterol. And it's lactose free, a boon to many Asians who are lactose intolerant. Nowadays modern vendors add stuff like tapioca pearls, ginger juice, red beans, and even flavours like green tea to update the drink and give greater variety.
And where would we be without our kopi and teh? Coffee and tea here come in such mind-boggling variations - hot or cold, with/without milk or sugar? With condensed milk or evaporated milk? Thicker or thinner? More sugar, less sugar? You want it pulled? Teh tarik! With ginger? Teh halia. Ordering terms have truly become a mishmash of Chinese dialects with Malay. Teh O-Peng Kosong. Kopi-C-Siu dai! Knowing how to order your cuppa is essential to kopitiam survival!