Thou shalt take thy toast very seriously.
One of the most common questions I get is, ‘so do you miss the food in Singapore when you’re in London??’. It’s very natural to ask a question like that when you hail from a country that is synonymous with a foodie’s paradise. I have yet to encounter a cuisine that cannot be found here, though of course local, southeast asian noms take pride of place in every true Singaporean’s heart. Back to the question: the answer is yes, I do, but I don’t miss the usual things you would expect. I don’t miss either bak chor mee (minced pork noodles, a dish most of us unanimously agree to as food for the Gods) or chicken rice (fragrant chicken on fragrant rice makes for a fragrant heart ooh my) much, but I do miss … toast. It’s not as strange as it sounds. I miss a particular kind of toast, the kind we eat that has kaya and butter slathered all over, and the kind that is incomplete without a cup of milk tea and soft boiled eggs with dark sauce and pepper. Yes, I miss my toast.
*Kaya: a green, subtly sweet and eggy spread made of coconut and egg, flavoured and coloured with pandan. Pandan is a leaf. Know your tropics, friends.
So when I heard/read/was divinely informed that Chin Mee Chin in Katong is one of the best places for breakfast toasts, it was not an option: I had to try.
The place is not difficult to find; it’s right beside the Holy Family Church in Katong, and the rustic shophouse it’s nestled in is, after all, this bright shade of blue. The interior is quaint and unpolished, functionally (read: simply) decorated and will quench your cravings for nostalgia, even if you, like me, are too young to be nostalgic for a time we actually lived through. The round, marbled tables fit 3 comfortably and 4 cosily, and if you take a moment to drink in the little details, you will realise how authentically vintage everything is, which is of course very special and nice. The front area is for customers, while the back opens into an antique-looking kitchen and all the wonderful smells that waft from it.
Nostalgia at it’s bestest.
If you expect smiling waitresses and warm service, well, don’t. The place is run by a couple of aunties and some elderly ladies who probably don’t find you all that deserving of a smile. The woman who took our order was frankly rather frightening and curt, but I suppose the best food normally exists in an inverse relation with the quality of service. It’s really worth it, though. Read on.
We started with the cakes and tarts.
The best kinds of colour are the edible kinds. *yum*
Orders for toast and other hot foods and drinks are taken at the table, but with the cakes and tarts in the displays at the entrance, you just take them yourselves. Plates are atop the display shelf and so are tongs. We tried the custard tart, almond and chocolate cupcakes, simple, heartland-bakery goodies. The chocolate cake was a tad too sweet for me, but the texture was divine: soft yet fluffy and very consistent. It tasted more like sugar than chocolate, though. My mum had the almond one and she said ‘mm, not bad’. Take it from a mother. The tart was pretty ordinary, but I didn’t find the custard sweet enough to leave much of an impression. Yeah, my sugar tastebuds are really fickle and inconsistent things.
Next, the stars of the afternoon!
Thank you Jesus!!
They are apparently really well known for their homemade kaya, round, toasted buns (hahahaha buns *eyebrows*) and coffee. And the reviews were not kidding: those buns are heaven. Where do I start? The bun itself is sweet, doughy and so freshly toasted that the slice of butter they put on melts fully and spreads well – something you don’t find in chain cafes like Ya Kun or Toast Hut. The kaya is generously applied and very yummy; evidently homemade, subtly sweet and more towards the eggy kind of taste. The mixture of fresh kaya and warm, melted butter is divine and literally dripped from my bun as I ate it.
Not unless you got THESE buns, hun!
Yeah, I get how massively unhealthy that looks. Soooo good tho. Let’s put health aside for a moment and go with the live fast, die young thing, shall we?
The soft boiled eggs are done to perfection as well – neither too solid nor so raw you think you can hear chicks chirping when you crack the egg. Perfectly compliments *those buns* *sigh* *melts* *sigh*.
Seriously craving those buns again right now.
I’m a tea person, so I went for Teh C (Tea with evaporated milk) but it was quite a disappointment. I thought it tasted quite watery and … sad. Not sweet enough, not teh enough. I tried a taste of my mum’s coffee though, and dayumson that be good coffee. Very full bodied, fresh and strong. All the morning kick you need.
Me thinks: Very impressed. I’ve had lots of kaya butter toasts in my short but exciting lifetime, and this definitely tops the list. I’m going back again tomorrow. Not kidding. Haha. Wish they had better tea, but the swell coffee more than makes up for it. The tasty little cakes are a bonus. A must-try!
Cheers (to the best toast ever!) x
Chin Mee Chin Confectionary
204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903
+65 6345 0419
Tue–Sun: 8am – 4.30pm
(Closed on Mondays)