Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋 – More Than Just A Jam!

Once upon a time, on an island the size of a small red dot (on the world map) called, Singapore...

Once upon a time, on an island the size of a small red dot (on the world map) called, Singapore…

4 makan kakis set out to hunt for the famous kaya (egg custard jam), which was featured in the Time's article as "24 of the world's best kept secret".<br />Click on photo to link to Time's article on this secret.

4 makan kakis set out to hunt for the famous kaya (egg custard jam), which was featured in the Time’s article as “24 of the world’s best kept secret”.
Click on photo to link to Time’s article on this secret.

Little did they realise that they have been stalked by a hungry girl who hadn't eaten in days.<br />She was waiting for them to order some food and then snatch it away!

Little did they realise that they have been stalked by a hungry girl who hadn’t eaten in days.
She was waiting for them to order some food and then snatch it away!

One of the 4 makan kakis named Tony is a very famous food blogger and the girl recognised him immediately! She knew that if she followed him closely, she could steal a good meal away from him. He is always busy taking photos. He wouldn’t notice a few ciabatta kaya toasts or curry chicken missing, would he?

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe's (GMNC) freshly brewed taditional Nanyang Kopi O.<br />南洋 (pinyin - Nanyang ) is the Chinese name for the geographical region south of China, particularly, Southeast Asia.<br />Nanyang simply means "Southern Ocean", and it came into accepted usage in self-reference to the large ethnic Chinese migrant population in Southeast Asia (to be exact, in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam).

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe’s (GMNC) freshly brewed taditional Nanyang Kopi O.
南洋 (pinyin – Nanyang ) is the Chinese name for the geographical region south of China, particularly, Southeast Asia.
Nanyang simply means “Southern Ocean”, and it came into accepted usage in self-reference to the large ethnic Chinese migrant population in Southeast Asia (to be exact, in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam).

Traditional Nanyang (Southeast Asian) Coffee and Tea for the 4 makan kakis.

Traditional Nanyang (Southeast Asian) Coffee and Tea for the 4 makan kakis.

Oh yippee, food!<br />By now the ravenous girl was eyeing at this gentleman carrying food.<br />She's gotta orchestrate some distractions very quickly so she could steal the delicious bread before anyone noticed her unwelcomed presence.

Oh yippee, food!
By now the ravenous girl was eyeing at this gentleman carrying food.
She’s gotta orchestrate some distractions very quickly so she could steal the delicious bread before anyone noticed her unwelcomed presence.

The covetous girl was trying to pilfer off a piece of the ciabatta when...

The covetous girl was trying to pilfer off a piece of the ciabatta when…

The covetous girl was trying to pilfer off a piece of the ciabatta when... She was spotted by this man whom she later knew his name to be Byron Shoh, owner of GMNC and creator of the acclaimed kaya.

The covetous girl was trying to pilfer off a piece of the ciabatta when… She was spotted by this man whom she later knew his name to be Byron Shoh, owner of GMNC and creator of the acclaimed kaya.

Byron, Ian, Tony, Philip and Smart had a discussion. "What shall we do with her?" "Send her to the police for stealing!" "But how can we turn away a hungry person?" The deliberation went on and it seemed forever to the terrified girl!

Byron, Ian, Tony, Philip and Smart had a discussion.
“What shall we do with her?”
“Send her to the police for stealing!”
“But how can we turn away a hungry person?”
The deliberation went on and it seemed forever to the terrified girl!

In the end they offered her something to eat before interrogating her.

In the end they offered her something to eat before interrogating her.

The men continued their judicious query as she ate...

The men continued their judicious query as she ate…

They discussed her plight and considered what made her steal but she cannot go unpunished they finalised!

They discussed her plight and considered what made her steal but she cannot go unpunished they finalised!

Oh oh! I'm in trouble!

Oh oh! I’m in trouble!

The men did not sent the girl to the police but they agreed some disciplinary action must be meted out.
“A day’s work for a loaf of bread!” they concluded.
“It’s not so bad,” Byron comforted. “Watch me and you’ll learn.”

Byron showing us how to tarik (pull) a good cuppa.

Byron showing us how to tarik (pull) a good cuppa.

I was the culprit. Guilty as charged, I had to work for my bread.

It wasn't hard work but I was slow.<br />Tony said "tan bo jiak - 赚无吃" since my toasts would go limp as I wasn't fast enough, and that cracked me up.

It wasn’t hard work but I was slow.
Tony said “tan bo jiak – 赚无吃” since my toasts would go limp as I wasn’t fast enough, and that cracked me up.

So I had to buck up and try my best to impress everyone with my Teh Tarik-ing.

So I had to buck up and try my best to impress everyone with my Teh Tarik-ing (tea pulling).

I hope you enjoy the pictorial story as much as I enjoyed spinning it. Now back to reality…

Although Singapore is a small country, we are noted for racing enthusiastically into the future. Singapore Changi Airport has been voted the World’s Best Airport at the 2013 World Airport Awards held at Passenger Terminal EXPO in Geneva (this is the 4th time Changi airport has achieved the top prize – last claiming victory back in 2010), and this global gateway has opened up many cultural exposures and business opportunities to us. As a result, Singapore holds a significantly higher standard and cost of living than many of our Southeast Asian neighbours. Despite this rush forward, one aspect of our modern nation that has held onto old-time tradition is our Kopitiam Culture (where “kopi” is the Malay word for “coffee” and “tiam” the Hokkien word for “shop”). The vocabulary “kopitiam” and its multilingual translation aptly reflect Singapore’s diverse cultural history.

Ian, Philip, Smart, Tony and I went for lunch on Monday, 11th November 2013 . We had braised duck rice if you must know now (but do look out for my post on it). Afterwards, we came to Good Morning Nanyang Cafe (GMNC), at the corner of Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre, for traditional Singaporean Kopi O and modernised Kaya toasts, lol… What I mean is that there are several choices in their toasts selection. You can opt for the standard bread or the Italian ciabatta / orange ciabatta breads.

I was introduced to Byron Shoh, the founder and owner of GMNC, whose Kaya is notoriously famous and has been mentioned in Times (Style) and CNN (Travel).

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe serves very good Kopi-O (black coffee), Kopi-C, Teh-O (plain tea) and Teh-C (where C = Carnation milk = evaporated milk). The rich aromatic treacle-coloured coffee and brandy-coloured tea evoked memories of my childhood tea time with my Ah Ma. She, too, made a mean kopi-O “gao gao” (strong) and stored it in thermos flasks.

Besides the evocative beverages, GMNC is well known for their grainy-textured lumpier eggy rich Kaya (which is cooked in small batches as they do not keep well since Byron uses lesser sugar). All of us were given the recipe. Yay!!! Hushhh…

Kaya is a rich custardy jam made of eggs, coconut cream, sugar and flavoured with pandan leaves.
Click on pictures below to read commentary:

Ciabatta (slipper bread) is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour and yeast. Ciabatta was first produced in Veneto. Today, at least one type of ciabatta can now be found in nearly every region of Italy.

Ciabatta (slipper bread) is an Italian white bread made from wheat flour and yeast.
Ciabatta was first produced in Veneto.
Today, at least one type of ciabatta can now be found in nearly every region of Italy.

Kaya is best devoured on freshly toasted buttered (or add a thick slice of cold butter onto the) bread. Here at GMNC, I had my first taste of kaya with the original (or rather plain but original sounds nicer to me ;-)) Ciabatta and Orange Ciabatta. The original ciabatta has high gluten structure. The toasted outside was slightly crisp while the inside was tender yet slightly chewy. I loved the texture of these ciabattas compared to the biscuit-thin dry toasts that I got from other establishments. The orange ciabatta was flatter, more dense and short biting as compared to the original ciabatta. Its colour was pale like panini. GMNC’s orange ciabatta exuded a delectable orange essence from the citrus peels when I took a bite into it. I never expected this east-meet-west fusion to gel so well. GMNC’s surrogate has altered my taste reception mechanism to the otherwise mundane kaya toasts.

Kopitiams and cafes selling kaya toasts are a dime a dozen. However, a good kaya toast is hard to come by. Kaya here is more than just a jam. This place is a gem! If you haven’t savoured this tasty treat before, it’s time to meet and greet Byron “Good Morning – 早安” 😀

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋
Address: (Main branch)
20 Upper Pickering Street, #01-01,
Singapore 058284.

Operating hours: (Closed on Sundays)
Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 5.30 pm and
Sat: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm

To read Tony’s post click here.

P.S. I need to go back again and no lunch before that next time… I want to try GMNC’s curry chicken.

Happy discovering 🙂

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Comments
9 Responses to “Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋 – More Than Just A Jam!”
  1. cate b says:

    hahah – great story! and, as usual, looks YUMMY!

  2. Laura Lynn says:

    hahahaaa, what a story spinner you are! So sorry you had to work for your dinner…but at least you had fun doing it. I was wondering what a pandan leaf tastes like? Looks like you are feeling a little better, so nice to see you up and around!

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Laura, I’m still coughing my lungs out but I’m much better. I’m in KL (capital of Malaysia) now, going to attend the ONEFC (it’s a mixed martial arts fighting championship) event as a Paparazzi, lol… I hope I can get some good shots. Just back into the hotel after a lousy dinner, hahaha…

  3. daniellajoe says:

    curry chicken is delicious!!! it is good to know you are feeling better 🙂

  4. Jamie Dedes says:

    Some members of my family went to Singapore this year. Love it. Love the people. Came home raving about the food.

    I like the little cups in your photographs. Silly, I know … LOL! What a fun post.

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Jamie, I’m so happy to hear that your family members enjoyed their trip to Singapore and liked our food scene which is quite extensive.

      I love these cups too. They are very traditional. People used to pour their coffee onto the plates before sipping but that practise is no longer in use 😉

      Thanks for visiting 😀

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