Western coffee expressions such as “black”, ”cream and sugar”, “flat white” or just plain “coffee” will likely gain you little more than a confused look and unwelcomed libation at a hawker centre in Singapore.
Take a moment to learn the lingo with our quick guide – starting with the four basics:
kopi = coffee with condensed milk
kopi-c = coffee with evaporated milk (sweetened)
kopi-o = black coffee with sugar
kopi-o kosong = plain black coffee (unsweetened)
And then add additional expressions to adjust for your preference:
kosong = no sugar
ga dai = extra sugar
siu dai = just a little sugar
po = weakened with water
di lo = strong; no water added
peng = iced coffee
dai bao = take away
All that’s left to do now is slurp away (although take the first sip with caution – it can take a few attempts to find the perfect kopi for you!).