11 Singapore Kopitiam Drinks And Their Unusual Nicknames Only Locals Will Know

11 Singapore Kopitiam Drinks And Their Unusual Nicknames Oonly Locals Will Know

Kopitiam chairs with a colourful twist! Now the Kopitiam bar stool is available, fun addition to your retro bar counter styled in the 1970s design. But do you know their nicknames for ordering drinks at kopitiams? Test yourself to see if you’ve gotten all of them correct!

Diao Yu (Chinese Tea)

Diao Yu or Diao He means fishing in Chinese and Hokkien respectively. However, don’t get the drink wrong; it’s a sachet of Chinese tea soaked in hot water and is far from tasting fishy. The Chinese tea was termed as Diao Yu probably because the action of dipping the teabag resembles the action of fishing.

Tak Kiu (Milo)

Milo is also commonly referred to Tak Kiu which means kicking a ball in Hokkien. This is most likely due to its packaging, where it starred athletes, usually a soccer player kicking a ball.

Michael Jackson (Chin Chow with Soy Bean Milk)

Mixing 50% of soybean milk and 50% of grass jelly gives you that black and white mixture. While looking it today does not remind us of anything, back in the days when Michael Jackson is rising, it probably reminded the uncles and aunties of his song Black and White and hence, nicknamed ‘Michael Jackson’.

Clementi (Iced Lemon Tea)

Simply because Lemon Tea rhymes with ‘Clementi’, an MRT station in Singapore. Did you know that Clementi was actually named after Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, a Governor of the Straits Settlements in Singapore from 1887 to 1893?

Xiao Bai Tu (Carrot Juice)

This is probably based on the fact that rabbits like carrots, and hence carrot juice as well. Xiao Bai Tu (rabbit in Chinese) is probably easier for Kopi aunties and uncles to pronounce as well, hence the nickname.


Rooster Enamel Mug



Rooster Spoon



Rooster Bowls



Rooster Saucer



Rooster Plate



Rooster Teaware


Kap Poh (Kickapoo)

Kap Poh refers to a green frog in Hokkien. While there isn’t any clear answer as to why it’s termed this way, it might have something to do with its green colour packaging.

Yuan Yang (Coffee with tea)

Yuan Yang means mandarin duck in Chinese and they are a symbol of love. Despite the male and female mandarin duck looking vastly different from each other, they are perfect as a pair which is used to describe the unusual pairing of coffee and tea.

Lao Hor (Tiger Beer)

This is pretty straightforward – Lao Hor simply means tiger in Hokkien.


Colourful Tingkats



Wang Qing Shui (Mineral Water)

Wang Qing Shui, “Forget Love Potion” is a popular song released in 1994 by Andy Lau. Hence you can order mineral water calling out Andy Lau too, Liu De Hua. Mineral water in Chinese (Kuang Quan Shui) probably rhymes with Wang Qing Shui and hence it stuck with them.

Milo Dinosaur (Milo with Milo Powder)

Milo Dinosaur comes with an extra scoop of milo powder on the Milo drink, most probably because of its size.

Orh Gaos (Guinness Stout)

Orh Gao, translated as Black Dog in Hokkien is what you’ll usually hear uncles at the coffee shops use when they are ordering Guinness Stout. This is associated with the old packaging of Gunness Stout where it depicts a black dog.

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