The best way to appreciate what a place has to offer is to go where the locals go and eat where the locals eat. In Singapore, eating breakfast very early in the day is an experience that will make you see how diverse the populace of this small city-state is.
Got the chance to do just that when I met up with a former production assistant who chose to find her luck in Singapore. Hers is a story similar to many educated Filipinas who work abroad to earn more for their children. When I visited her, I found it uplifting that she finds pride in her work as a cashier and food server at the Big City Coffee House, a cafe by the street frequented by blue collar workers, mostly immigrants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and India.
They serve different breakfast meals for their multi-cultural clientele. There's Nasi Lemak, a Malay rice dish made fragrant by coconut cream and pandan leaves, it is garnished with dilis (small fried anchovies), cucumber slices, roasted peanuts, boiled egg and sambal (hot sauce made with different chili peppers, spices and fish paste).
But I came here for the Kaya Toast Set. My experience with this breakfast treat has been limited to the mall-based franchise Toast Box or Kopi Roti where everything's pretty and served in small ceramic plates. Here at Big City Cafe, the Kopi is served in a class mug and the hot soft-boiled eggs in a plastic bowl filled with tap water to cool down the eggs.
You can order your Kopi (the Malay word for coffee, if you still haven't figured it out) in different ways: Kopi O (Black, with sugar, no milk); Kopi Kosong (black, no sugar); Kopi C (with milk; the "C" stands for Carnation milk).
Once the eggs have cooled down, you crack and peel the egg unto a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Then you dip the toasted bread filled with Kaya, a coconut jam made with sugar, coconut milk, eggs, margarine and pandan. The creaminess of the soft-boiled egg puts together the sweetness of the kaya, the starchiness of bread and the saltiness from the eggs. Follow-up each bite or two with a sip of hot coffee then you'll understand why Singaporeans consider this filling meal as their national breakfast.
Big City Coffee House
Address: 15 Kitchener Road, Singapore 208532