A Guide to Ordering Drinks at the Hawker Centre Using Local Language

The Singapore Hawker Centre is not only on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity but is also an institution for local cuisine and beverages where you can enjoy everything local to the city.

Aside from delicious local dishes, you can try the wide range of drinks. To brush up on your local lingo, try ordering them using the local language! Here are some choices below:

1. Yuan Yuang (Coffee with Tea)

Why choose between coffee and tea when you can have both in the same beverage? “Yuan Yuang” is a popular Hawker Centre concoction that looks like your typical iced coffee but with a unique Singaporean twist.

2. Teh Tarik (‘Pulled’ Tea)

If you’ve seen local vendors pouring tea between two pitchers, that’s “Teh Tarik,” a famous hot milk tea drink that got its name from the method of “pulling” the drink to give it a frothy, almost cappuccino-like consistency.

3. Chin Chow (Chinese Mesona Jelly)

A mix between a beverage and dessert, “Chin Chow” is usually made with boiled water, sugar and pandan leaves, after which grass jelly is added for that extra fragrance and refreshing twist.

4. Teh Halia (Ginger Tea)

Ginger tea mixed with condensed milk, “Teh Halia” is a great drink to enjoy during those cooler days in Singapore. You also have the option to make the tea as light or strong as you want and stored in the Thermos® One-Push Tumbler to keep warm for hours.

5. Kopi Gu You (Coffee with Butter)

If you love the popular bulletproof coffee, you’ll surely love “Kopi Gu You” or coffee butter. And yes, it contains a slab of butter and condensed milk that gives your ordinary coffee a creamier, caramel-like flavour. Adding these two ingredients also tones down the strength of the Robusta beans.

6. Sirap Limau (Rose Syrup with Lime)

If you see a dark rose coloured drink that resembles a sangria but with floral notes, that’s “Sirap Limau.” The local take on a classic carbonated drink, this rose syrup cordial with squeezed lime is the perfect beverage to enjoy with rice cake or rendang. Since “Sirap Limau” is best enjoyed cold, it’s perfect for the Thermos® Tumbler Cup.

7. Milo Godzilla (Milo ‘Milkshake’)

No beverage is probably more popular to both kids and adults here than the classic “Milo Godzilla,” a thick iced Milo topped with a generous serving of whipped cream, chocolate syrup, ice cream and of course, more Milo powder. This sweet and nostalgic drink will instantly bring you back to your childhood days.

8. Lassi (Buttermilk Yoghurt Drink)

If you love a good yoghurt drink, you need to try the Indian beverage “Lassi,” made with mango puree, water, yoghurt and some spices that give it that distinct sweet and savoury flavour. It’s great when paired with Indian dishes such as curries that contain strong spices.

9. Bandung (Paired Syrup Cordial)

Also known as “Sirap Bandung,” this local beverage has a distinct pink colour because of the rose syrup added to it together with evaporated or condensed milk and ice. You can see a lot of stalls selling the “Bandung”, especially during the hot summer months.

10. She Cao Shui (Oldenlandia Water)
Photo Credit: The Local Apothecary

This drink is mineral water in a can but with a unique taste to it. “She Cao Shui” is a must-try if you have an adventurous palate due to its unusual taste caused by a pungent herb added to it during production. Keep this drink in the Thermos® Tumbler to enjoy the way you like it till the last sip.

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