Restaurant Name: Chin Mee Chin Cuisine: Nanyang Coffee Shop Average Price per Person: SGD 4 Location: Katong Recommendations: Kaya Toast and Coffee Set
Ratings (out of 5): 4 Taste: 4.5 Creativity/Authenticity: 4 Atmosphere: 4 Service: 3.5 Bang for Buck: 4
Breakfast is my favourite thing.
Let me tell you why. You can tell a lot about a place or a person through how they do breakfast. In a place that is serious about food like Singapore, it is a peek behind the curtain, a rare opportunity to understand how people truly live. It's authentic, raw, and extremely personal.
Do you like kaya toast with eggs?
Thick toast or thin toast?
Milo Peng? Kopi O? Kopi Siew Siew Dai?
Forget Starbucks personalised drinks, this is the real OG.
My coffee shop auntie yells out my order the moment she sees my face.
"Teh O Kosong! One dollar!"
So when my boyfriend first took me to Chin Mee Chin, I immediately fell in love with the place. Stepping into the cafe felt like stepping into your grandmother's house for breakfast.
The interior felt like it was frozen in the 1960s, the chairs are wonderfully mismatched, most of it looked and felt like it came from another time.
The atmosphere is buzzing, in a wonderful way, like an orchestra tuning their instruments before a show. You are simultaneously a spectator and a participant at the same time, your words adding to the conglomeration (my boyfriend: "wah so chim ah?") of sounds. The stage is set.
"What do you want?" my boyfriend asked.
In this place there's no menu. Why should there be? Everybody that has ever been here was often brought by someone else, another insider.
"You should try the bread and the coffee," my boyfriend said to my sister, "it's very good" She has never been here before. She fancies herself a bread connoisseur, so I lured her here in the guise of understanding what Nanyang styled bread is like.
"Two buns plus Kopi Siew Dai for me" I said to my boyfriend. "Ok! Same for me." He turns around and tried to catch the Auntie's eye. She saw him and stroll over with a pad of paper. He orders in chinese, and she fuzzes over the order endearingly. Repeating each word my boyfriend said and scribbling it onto the pad.
The couple who's sharing the table with us ordered next. All of us low key listening each other's order, both weighing out our decision, "Did we order enough bread? enough tid bits? What's the favourite here?"
The toast bread came first, their arrival announced by the beautiful smell of melted butter on charred bread. The kaya aroma hits next, sweet and sticky. Flavours only matched with the thickness and bitterness of the kopi. The bread itself have a perfect structure, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
More often than not eggs at other kopitiams are often over or under cooked. But not at Chin Mee Chin, the eggs are perfectly and wonderfully cooked. A dash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of pepper is all it needs.
#YOLKPORN, am I right? When the kaya bread is dipped into this beautiful concoction? SHIOK.
At the end all of us were like, "Shit man still not full enough"
So we grabbed a few snacks from the kueh-kueh shelf.
The shelves were filled with warm old school kueh goodies. In the words of boyfriend, "Nice and solid!" The filling of the eggtarts were too little, jelly-like and not that custardy. It's whats makes it special I suppose. The donuts fell slightly short of expectations, it was too doughy and lacked flavour. But all in all they gave a good range of tidbits for snacking.
End it off with a with slurp of their delicious Kopi, and you're all set for the rest of the day.