Thursday, 14 April 2011

This is how it's done: the Breakfast Set

Rose has already sung the praises of the Singaporean "breakfast set" once. It's a song worth singing twice.
These are things I will always remember:

The lady behind the counter -- always there, every morning, week in, week out
These people make breakfast preparation
into poetry
sees me in line, "same? with tea lah?",
passes the order on to her team: yells: "A SOM TE!"

The toast lady, patiently nursing toasts on a grill to perfection
pre-sandwiched, pre-spread with kaya
she plates three pieces when they're ready
and not a moment before.

The tea man of the team hears the order
tea comes from a kettle held on high, the arc three feet long
boiling water from a tap
condensed milk on a spoon
all the while continuously in motion
not a drop spilled until the teacup is on its saucer, delivered to the counter in front of me
when it hits the counter, it always spills

Two eggs, half-boiled, but sometimes more like three-quarters or 0.3
keep the experience unpredictable.

And so, this experience having played out over a few dramatic moments, I sit down with my tray and begin my meal, which occurs in 1:5.7 syllable format:
Toast: crunchy, smooth and sweet. Makes me a happier guy.
Eggs: half-boiled, runny. I must learn to concoct these.
Tea: bitter, sweet when stirred. The perfect way to finish.

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