Innovation at a Coffeshop

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Having a simple breakfast of coffee, toast and soft-boiled eggs in a small coffee shop in Johor Baru town turned out to be an interesting learning experience.

First, the few young men in polo-tee with shop logo and jeans (like a uniform) were deployed to take orders, serve or clear the tables. Then a lady armed with a tablet comes around to collect payment at the tables when the food was served.

At my table, the lady with a tablet (i think it’s a mobile cashier) came by casually and tells me the price for my food and I paid her and she gave me the change and swiftly whipped out a marker pen and made a squiggle on the table top near my food (evidence in the photo – green markings near the coffee cup on the table.

As soon as I finished my food and drink, the young man came and cleared the table and wiped it clean including the markings made (must be a white board marker).

Such clockwork efficiency and brilliance. We can surely learn a thing or two from this thriving, team based F&B outlet. It doesn’t look pretty, posh or in an air-conditioned place but its service and operations model surpassed some restaurants or cafes I have been.

Grateful and Guilty

Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure.

Singapore is a food haven. Food as in everything including desserts. I am really grateful for this as it made meals convenient and exciting too. It has always been the top posts and topic in almost every Singaporean Facebook, Instagram and whatever social media they use. This also gave rise to the number of food bloggers becoming celebrities when they are good at scouting out the best of the best food, cafes, restaurants and stalls in the island of nearly 6 million people!

Here are some examples of local desserts:

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The one behind is mango pudding with pomelo and the one in front which is very colourful is called ice kachang (malay word for beans). The mango pudding is like mango puree poured onto ice shavings and then drizzled with pieces of pomelo on top. The ice kachang is a concoction of cooked red beans, grass jelly, attap chee (nipah palm fruit), colored jelly cubes, corn, all placed at the bottom of the bowl and cover it with a ball of ice shavings and then drizzle colored syrup with sago balls and soaked basil seeds and carnation milk. Isn’t that alot of stuff in a bowl of dessert? Well, they have several versions and some of them make the ice kachang look like a steep mountain and coloured the ice like a rainbow with snow (carnation milk) but the ingredients inside can also vary with aloe vera cubes or fruit cocktail added.

These high-calorie desserts will make anyone guilty when they have it but in a country where it is summer all year round… we are grateful for these guilty pleasures.

We are also famous for our simple breakfast set meal as shown below:

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This set includes coffee or tea with milk, bread with local jam called kaya or french toast like the one shown in the photo, and two soft boiled eggs. This is an evergreen, all time favourite breakfast of most Singaporeans and we simply love it and no, not guilty at all… just grateful 🙂

Grateful and Guilty – DP

Trio no. 4

Woke up to a crisp, bright morning which was unusual for a rainy season here in Singapore. The sun was glaring through the window louvers of our house and made it looked bright and cheery too. As a routine when it’s not my work day, I would order breakfast from the neighborhood market. This was done by our helper who goes to the market. She would buy my mom’s usual beancurd or fried carrot cake (chinese version), my usual roti prata (an Indian fried bread) doused with fish curry, or fried bee hoon (chinese vermicelli) and she would also add her own choice of breakfast too.

We would ‘chow’ down our breakfast as soon as it arrive and I must have coffee with milk to go with my breakfast. My mom has unusual combination of food as she will have her milk and cereal every morning but will still add her breakfast orders from the market. We let her have her wishes as she is a regal dame of 81 years. I have often referred her as the Queen when I talked to my sister about her as she is indeed important and should be given that position. By the way, her name is Daisy.

When there are any phone calls at home for her, it would be from her ‘mahjong’ friends who want to know whether she was game for it. Lately she has stopped playing as she felt that it had become too tiring for her to last for long hours which her friends preferred. Other than this phone call, she would also receive from her younger sister who had migrated to Canada many years ago and she calls her every now and then to check on her and get updates.

I recalled the time when my mom and dad were still working and I was in my early teens, they liked to bring the family out for dinners occasionally and western food was a highlight. We went to one popular restaurant called Jack’s Place and it was famous for their steaks. Usually this type of restaurant setting would be dimly lit as it was supposed to give a romantic ambience. So we all ordered our respective favourite item on the menu and we would happily gobble down our food when it was served. My mom preferred fish to red meat so it was probably grilled fish for her. She sat directly opposite me and would often say to us that vegetables are good for us and we should finish and not waste it (we children normally don’t like our vegies). So she would poke her fork at our plates to finish off the vegies that we won’t eat. There was a bunch of something yellowish on the table which she thought was probably our lettuce that fell off our plates when we were busy cutting our meat. My mom again chided us for wasting the vegies so she poked it with her fork and dipped it in chilli sauce and chomped it. Soon after that, she lifted up her head and there was a terrified look on her face.  Then she bent down her head and spitted out a blob on the table. Suddenly, I realised my crumpled yellow paper napkin was missing from the side of my plate and then I started laughing loudly and so did everyone else when I told them what mom just ate.

Ok, the Queen wasn’t too pleased with me that night so it was not a good joke to her at all but I really can’t help laughing everytime I see a yellow colored napkin at a restaurant.

Trio no. 4 -DP
Today you can write about anything, in whatever genre or form, but your post must include a speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning. (Wildcard: you can swap any of the above for a good joke.)