Monday, September 7, 2015

Sunday morning at the 'No Name Teh Sarabat Stall'

On a bright and sunny Sunday morning in Singapore, the daughter and I stepped out for a cosy girlie breakfast.. (read - too lazy to make breakfast at home). 

Wanting to have some simple, wholesome, local fare - we decided to head out to one of the oldest Teh (Tea) stalls known…

Tucked away in a little corner on Baghdad Street, this quaint little hole-in-the-wall cafe has been serving up steaming Teh Sarabat (‘Pulled’ Milk Tea) since 1956 and is possibly one of the cheapest local breakfasts you can have in Singapore! (I haven't yet found anything cheaper… we have recently relocated from Mumbai to Singapore and am still converting dollars to rupees - so cheap often means yay!!)

The 'No Name Teh Sarabat Stall'

The cafe didn't have a name board for many years (still doesn't have one) and was eventually christened ‘No Name Teh Sarabat Stall’. At the stall, an old, bearded but very energetic Mr Zamir Ahmad, passionately serves up a frothy cup of Teh Sarabat, something he has been doing for over 40 years now. 

Teh Sarabat or Teh Tarik - is a hot milk tea beverage made with black tea and condensed milk. The tea is 'tarik'ed (pulled) by pouring it from one cup to another and back. Such 'pulled' tea is usually served at Malay or Indian Muslim stalls (but possibly else where as well) in Singapore. This version of tea is said to have brought in by the Indian-Muslim immigrants into the Malay Peninsula post World World II. In fact, in Malaysia, Teh Tarik along with Nasi Lemak are declared a part of the national food & beverage heritage.

Zamir Ahmad 'tarik'ing a perfect frothy cup of Teh Tarik


The stall also offers some lip smacking snacks (seemed freshly prepared and not so oily) - chicken samosas, fish cutlets, nasi lemak packets to go, potato puffs and fresh buns with kaya & butter.

Seated on the al fresco tables on the side walk near the stall, I sampled one each of the chicken samosa, fish cutlet, potato puff and the fresh buns (Yeah, I can actually eat all that by myself) along with Teh Sarabat.. The daughter was happy to nibble on the buns with kaya & butter. All that for less than S$ 8 … ! 

Sumptuous Snacks - Chicken Samosa, Fish Cutlet, Potato Puff and Bun with Kaya & Butter

The Teh Sarabat was a tad sweet for my taste but frothy, flavoured and comforting - this one goes into my list of comforting teas (like the good old ‘tapri chai’ from Mumbai or the ones I have written about earlier - Çay in Turkey and Lebu Cha in Kolkata).

The frothy cup of Teh Sarabat

We thanked Zamir Ahmad Chacha (Chacha - hindi for uncle) - who on hearing us speak Hindi mentioned that he had relatives back in Mumbai. Happy to hear the Mumbai connection and satisfied with a sumptuous Sunday breakfast, we strolled further to explore Arab Street.. 


Getting There:

No Name Teh Sarabat Stall,
21, Baghdad Street, 
Singapore - 199660.

Nearest MRT: Bugis (East West Line & Downtown Line)

Landmark: Opp Kampong Glam Cafe on Baghdad Street 

Average Price of Breakfast: S$ 3 (breakfast for 1)

Must Try: Teh Sarabat, Chicken Samosa, Potato Puffs

Kids will love: Buns with Kaya & Butter (grown ups will love it too :))  



p.s. - I must mention how challenging it is to write a blogpost about ‘Teh' without it being auto-corrected to ‘The’ like a gzillion times ;-) LOL ... Auto Correct - Off!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deepti,
    This is the first blog of yours that I have read (since you told me about it this morning) and I must say that I enjoyed reading it :) I must confess that I didn't know what 'sarabat' meant before this :) and I'm a local!!! To me, a sarabat stall was a sarabat stall, with 'sarabat' being a common name. Of course, I should have thought that it's an adjective; with reference to how the tea is being prepared at the stalls. Oh well, we learn something everyday😊

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