Local Drinks and How Their Names Came About

Beverages that Singaporeans drink on a day-to-day basis hold an important place in their hearts, so much so that we have created rather special names for each of them. Here are some local drinks with interesting meanings behind their names.

#1 Michael Jackson

Chilled soya bean milk with Chinese mesona stems and leaves processed into Grass Jelly cubes make a wonderfully refreshing drink on a hot day. The beverage adopted its nickname from the late King of Pop, whose renowned song “Black or White” is reminiscent of the drink’s monochromatic colours.

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#2 Milo Dinosaur / Milo Godzilla

Cousins of the plain Milo, Milo Dinosaur is essentially iced Milo topped with a heapful of undissolved Milo powder, while Milo Godzilla is Milo Dinosaur with an additional scoop of vanilla ice cream. The given names attribute to the fact that these beverages are usually served in very large mugs, sometimes almost bigger than typical beer mugs. That being said, these beverages are so decadent that you need not be thirsty or craving for Milo to finish them! Milo Dinosaur was supposedly invented by A&A Muslim Restaurant at Sembawang Road.

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#3 Teh Cino and Kopi Cino

While the names of Teh Cino and Kopi Cino seem to be inspired by the Italian beverage Cappucino, their method of preparation is not exactly similar to the latter. The difference is that for Cappucino, espresso coffee is added first as the bottom layer before the top layers of steamed and foamed milk, whereas for Kopi Cino and Teh Cino, hot condensed milk and water is poured first into the cup before coffee or tea is added carefully. In fact, the appearance of having two layers – milk at the bottom and teh or coffee on top – makes Teh Cino and Kopi Cino more similar to the beverage Macchiato. The one thing that Cappucino, Teh Cino and Kopi Cino may have in common is the relatively large proportion of frothy foamed milk used. In the case of our local drinks, hot milk is “pulled” like Teh Tarik from tin mugs to create the foamed milk.

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