Best of the Best: Kopi (Coffee)

This is my favourite drink to kickstart the morning, with my preference towards kopi-gao (coffee extra thick). Here are the ones I think are the best out of those I have tried. The criteria I go for are usually: low acidity (in taste), low or no aftertaste in the mouth after drinking, smoothness, thick body and fragrance. Most of these are in the west side of Singapore.

1. Hylam Street Old Coffee
ABC Brickworks Food Centre
Blk 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-53
Singapore 150006

I tried it upon seeing other reviews for this stall. Oh my gosh, I was glad I ordered 2 cups at one go. They serve coffee in only one size, even smaller than the small size in Ya Kun. But it was wonderfully thick, fragrant and smooth with no aftertaste. They only open in the morning till about noon, with coffee made by an uncle. Recently I went in the afternoon and their stall was open, but made by a lady instead, hence the taste differed.

2. Jin Zhou Leng Re Yin Pin
Blk 505 Jurong West Street 52, #01-38
Singapore 640505

My favourite stall, that makes kopi-gao just the way I like it, smooth, not too sweet and no weird aftertaste. It is also a bonus when the stallholders are friendly, polite and make a point to remember their customers’ preferences. They only close on Mondays, but once in a long while they take off-days on Wednesdays too.

3. Pearl Coffee Hot & Cold Drink
Blk 505 Jurong West Street 52, #01-50
Singapore 640505

Located in the same hawker centre as the above mentioned. The same lady makes all the coffee. Her manner of coffee making appears to be quite precise and standard as she adds the amounts accordingly to the type of coffee you want: gao, C (carnation milk instead of condensed milk), O (americano), Bo (thin). They actually have longer queues than No.2 Jin Zhou, but No.2 Jin Zhou scores higher points from me for their taste and friendliness. If you don’t drink coffee, they also make the best ice milo I have ever tasted. Thick and less sweet. Thumbs-up!

4. Starbucks
Many locations in Singapore

Western coffees usually don’t quite cut it for me. I think the reason being the gao or thickness factor and also the smoothness that condensed milk gives. But Starbucks’ brew can be strangely satisfying at times.

All the above opens at 7am in the morning. As a guideline, stalls in hawker centres usually close on Mondays, so it is a safe bet to go on other days instead.

Other stalls to recommend if you are in the vicinity, in no order of preference:

Drinks stall at New Century Cafe
Blk 19 Ghim Moh Road, #01-263
Singapore 270019

Tai Hwa Coffee Stall
335 Smith Street, #02-152
Singapore 050335

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Best of the Best: Laundry Detergent

One of my fond memories of childhood was watching laundry hanging on the clothesline outside my bedroom window. In Singapore’s sunny weather, I knew that when they were kept, they smelled sun-dried fresh. Now, I want to have my clothes smell nice and fresh too. I tried a couple of brands as recommended online for their fresh scent. Here is my opinion:

Tide Original Scent Liquid Detergent vs. Arm & Hammer – 

Tide had a stronger and better smell than Arm & Hammer, but if clothes are left damp, Tide’s scent quickly turned murky while Arm & Hammer remained decent. I like Arm & Hammer’s bottle, which was smooth to the touch and upon contact with table tops remained silent. The colour yellow was kind of blah though. Tide had a standard hard plastic bottle.

Human Nature Laundry Detergent – 

I love the citrus scent of this very much, it smells far better than any detergent I’ve smelt. It is also biodegradable and suitable for babies’ clothes. It is on the expensive side, hence I limit it to clothes that I hand wash only. It produces lesser suds than Tide and Arm & Hammer and makes hand washing economical as you use fewer rinses of water to rid the soap suds. The citrus smell fades off after drying. Laundry stays clean-smelling even if left damp for several hours. In this aspect, it is better than Arm & Hammer and Tide.

It doesn’t wash off blood stains very well though. I have tried soaking the fabric for 2 days with it but much of the stain remained overall.

Other brands I have tried:

Method 8x Laundry Detergent – The smell was alright to me, but the above scents appealed much more to me.

Persil Low Suds Powder Detergent – My old detergent. I used it because the washing machine required a low suds detergent and there were few choices in the market. It worked fine but I needed a change after the old washing machine broke down.

As with all detergents, I use less than the recommended level – usually around 1/4 cup for a full load, overnight pre-soak.  After that I squeeze out as much suds as I can and throw the whole lot into the washing machine for a rinse out.

Best of the Best List

The Best of the Best List was never meant to be objective. It is really based on my personal experience and preferences, as a living, breathing human being. If you really wanted to be objective , you would have to: 1) Test it all at the same time 2) under the same environmental conditions 3) Measure them by a common yardstick e.g. Level of tastiness, portion, skill.Or alternatively, work in an office until you are zombified and then all food or experience would taste the same.

And yet the list is not exhaustive. As I experience more of what Singapore (or the world) offers, the list evolves itself. And so here are the good stuff to share: