Who could resist having old school kaya toast, soft boiled eggs and a aromatic cup of kopi-o (local term for black coffee) to start their day?
Housed inside a pre-war building, Tong Ah is located at the juntion that splits into Teck Lim Road and Keong Saik Road which is infamous for it's brothels in the olden days.
I settled myself comfortably at one of the tables and waited for someone to take my order.
A uncle was clearing the vacanted tables around me while a younger man was seen delivering beverages to customers but none of them even throw me a glance.
I counted ten other customers in the shop and it was not even filled so they could not have been kept too busy to notice me?
Or perhaps, it's self-service here?
I proceeded to the coffee stall but the lady inside was checking her shares on teletext. I was too polite to call out to her and stood there for a good minute hoping she would spare me some attention but to no avail.
The same uncle and younger man moved in and out of the stall several times yet I was still not being attended to.
I returned to my table contemplating to stay a wee bit longer or simply just take my custom elsewhere.
Surely I did not come this far to be snubbed at?
I decided to give it one more try and headed towards the coffee stall again. This time, I waylaid the younger man at the entrance of the stall and he finally popped the question：“要点什么？”
I placed my order with him and returned to my table.
$3.30 for this set
My kopi-o and eggs were the first to arrive while the kaya toast took appproximately five minutes more.
I stirred my kopi-o and the aroma infiltrated my senses which brought me back to the days when coffeeshop proprietors drum-roasted their own secret concoction of coffee beans at the back of their shop.
Coffee brewed from such drum-roasted coffee beans are definitely different from those ready-grind coffee powder from the suppliers.
As for the eggs, the yolks have turned slightly 'chunky' instead of being runny.
On the other hand, the toast is airy, light and crispy though I find the layer of kaya too thin. As I took a bite, the slab of cold butter which has melted under the warmth of the toast oozes inside my mouth (and I mean it in a good way).
Tong Ah served their toasts in three ways: steamed, toasted and Grade A (re-toasted several times in order to achieve that super crispy and brittle bread)
I did not specifically ask for the "Grade A" toasts so I guess mine was the normal toast which is thicker.
While I find Tong Ah's toast to be above average, I do not think it is worth all that attention. Is it because of it's long history (it's the fourth generation now) or simply because KF Seetoh has brought some ang moh guy there before?
I might just return to try the "Grade A" toast someday but only if I happened to be in the vicinity.
TONG AH EATING HOUSE
36 Keong Saik Road
Tel: 6223 5083