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Two types of breakfast remain fondly in my childhood memories. The first my dad taking me to the the McDonalds near Tampines Central for a Big Breakfast meal before school starts.
The second was having Singapore's traditional breakfast, soft-boiled eggs and toast. This was the time that playgrounds with dragon structure and a sand bed still exist. I would tire myself out in the playground and then have my breakfast.
Topping the egg with a generous amount of dark soy sauce (or black sauce) and white pepper, I would break to the yolk and stir and dip the toast into the gooey mixture. I would use the teaspoon to put more eggs on the top of the toast for more eggs per bite. Good times.
Having lived in Japan for seven years, I missed this simple Singapore breakfast. While Ya Kun in Shinjuku quench the initial craving, I wanted to know where I could get the best variation of this dish.
Heap Seng Leong – Nostalgia in Eggs and Toast
This was the first time I have heard of this place. A short walk from the Michelin-starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles, Heap Seng Leong (協勝隆) is a reminiscence of a time when things were simpler.
With marble-topped tables and red plastic chairs, the decor is a throwback to the 70s. The place was haphazardly organized with extra chairs and boxes in a corner. The wall above the coffee-brewing station was brown from the decades of coffee and tea making.
The coffee shop is shared with a Muslim food store known for its nasi lemak and curry puff.
You join the queue where the staff is juggling taking orders as well as brewing coffee. While waiting I could see the staff cutting toast and using the lid of the condensed milk can to scrape off burnt parts of the toast.
I ordered a set ($3.40) which consist of a plate of two eggs, kaya toast, and a drink. This shop is known for their Kopi Gu You, which is coffee with butter. I asked for my usual teh peng (iced tea with condensed milk) but was informed that the refrigerator wasn't working so I could only get the teh (without ice).
The food came relatively quickly.
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The worse thing that can happened with these soft-boiled eggs was that if they were undercooked or overcooked. Having mastered the art since 1974, the eggs was, as expected, cooked to perfection.
I topped the egg with a generous amount of dark soy sauce and white pepper, thoroughly staining my fingers along the way since the sauce was all over the bottle. Don't leave home without a pack of wet tissues.
The toast came a little later. The toast is fluffy and thick, as compared to the thinner, crispier version of those of Ya Kun.
The taste of the toast dipped in the gooey egg brought back all sorts of memories. This was the taste that I remembered—the taste of nostalgia.
Sure, the toast and eggs are well done. But then again, most respectable places would be able to get them to this standard. Such coffee shops have been dwindling, so the reason most would visit Heap Seng Leong is to step back into the past for a hit of nostalgia.