Ordering local coffee and tea is a whole art by itself. There is a whole unique lexicon to specify what you want. For starters, coffee is known as kopi and tea is known as teh. The milk used is not fresh milk but either condensed milk or evaporated milk. The most commonly ordered drinks are:
Coffee with milk – kopi (condensed milk)/kopi-c (evaporated milk with sugar)
Tea with milk – teh (condensed milk)/ teh-c (evaporated milk with sugar)
What I like is either kopi-c kosong or teh-c kosong (coffee/tea with evaporated milk and no sugar).
Kopi – coffee
C – evaporated milk
Kosong – no sugar
So it’s kopi-c kosong!
Evaporated milk is simply fresh, homogenised milk from which 60% of the water has been removed. This is healthier than condensed milk. Condensed milk is milk with water removed but with sugar added. Yucks! I wouldn’t touch that now with a ten-foot pole.
I decided to go to the supermarket to buy some evaporated milk to make my own kopi-c kosong at work. The first thing I did was to check out what the local coffee shop used for their coffee. It was Marigold evaporated filled milk. I was suspicious already. What did they “fill” it with?
It turned out that evaporated filled milk was the bad and cheap version of real evaporated milk. According to Wikipedia, filled milk is
“any milk, cream, or skimmilk that has been reconstituted with fats, usually vegetable oils, from sources other than dairy cows. Pure evaporated filled milk is generally considered unsuitable for drinking because of its particular flavor, but is equivalent to unadulterated evaporated milk for baking and cooking purposes.”
Here are the ingredients of Marigold evaporated filled milk. Yucks, it turns out I have been drinking reconstituted milk stuffed with vegetable fats, sugar and emulsifiers.
Condensed milk, like I knew all along, contained sugar. I didn’t realise that sugar was the main ingredient until I checked the back of all the cans at the supermarket. That’s why condensed milk is so yummy!
In the end, I managed to find canned milk that suited my requirements. Marigold King of Kings Full Cream Evaporated Milk was the best out of the lot; it did not contain vegetable fats and had no added sugar. But it contained stabilisers and some other preservatives. I forgot to take a picture of the back of the can but this is what the can looks like. I think that if you want to drink local coffee and tea, this milk is the best choice.
Oh no! No more kopi-c from my usual coffee shop anymore!!