Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coke with Salt, anyone?

Somehow I have already forgotten about this way of drinking the Coke or Sarsi. But, recently, a young friend (well in his 30s I think) joined me for lunch. And he asked for Coca Cola with salt on the ice. Huh? I thought this practice was extinct! But the fact that the kopi tiam (coffee shop) or kopi tua (coffee stall) could come up with a salt shaker (way more hygienic than the old salt in a Brands' Essence bottle with a small plastic spoon) shows that it is still very much alive, except that its users might have gone "underground". In the past, it would have been very usual to see a bottle of salt on every table.

Many people believe that Coca Cola or Sarsi with salt will "cool" down the body. If you believe or subscribe to the theory of yin and yang and what is "heaty" and what is "cooling" you might be able to follow this belief or practice. And so, on a hot and humid day, nothing beats a glass of Coke with salt in it!

In my young days, I love to watch the reactions of the glass of Coke or Sarsi as I started sprinkling the salt into it. Nothing like the bubbles and fountains of Coke or Sarsi hitting your face as you attempt to drink. If you have never tried this, go give it a try. Nothing great not serious, but could be a novelty, just like eating ice cream with salt in Okinawa.

What else is missing in the modern kopi tiam? Ever seen the old man dropping a slab of Cold Storage Butter (they would ask for "col-storee gu yew") into a cup of kopi-O? Kopi-O is coffee black.

1 comment:

Lam Chun See said...

In our kampong, we occasionally gave ourselves a treat to a bottle of Pepsi (hence I always preferred Pepsi to Coke). One bottle cost 15 cts; with 5 cts refund when you return the empty bottle. I loved the fragrance and the sound of the bubbles coming out of the pepsi. The tables had marble tops and there was always a Brands Essence of Chicken bottle with some salt and a tiny spoon.

I loved Pepsi so much that when I was enlisted into the army for NS, whenver we go out on topo training in the rural areas like Marsiling, Hongkah, we would stop at the kampong shops and I would buy a bottle of pepsi. After a few months, I developed a constant indigestion-like discomfort in my stomache. After I stopped this indulgence, the discomfort went away.