Chin Mee Chin Confectionery



Chin Mee Chin Confectionery, located at 204 East Coast Road, is a landmark kopitiam (Hokkien for coffee shop) in Katong.1 It is popular for its kaya, a type of custard jam. A contemporary of Hock Ann Coffeeshop and the Red House Bakery, the confectionery delights the residents of the east with its traditional breakfast.2


Description
While it opened in 1925, Chin Mee Chin had its humble beginning as a bread delivery business in the 1920s. Founded by Tan Hui Dong, it was his eldest son Tan Joon Ling who turned the corner for the business, buying over the shop’s premises from its original Peranakanowners in the early 1950s.3


Styled like a typical Chinese confectionery, this Hainanese coffee shop exudes an old-world charm with its ceiling fans and marble-top tables, typical of coffee shops of the 1950s. The interior is accentuated by its defining green floor tiles.4 Affectionately known as CMC by Katong residents, it is most famous for its simple breakfast of kaya toast and coffee.5

Kaya is a kind of custard jam made from coconut milk, egg yolk and sugar, flavoured with pandan, or screwpine leaves.6 In the confectionery, kaya is made over slow-burning charcoals.Bread toast and kaya, called “kaya toast”, is still considered the traditional breakfast of Singaporeans.Other specialities of the confectionery include cream horns, custard puffs, swiss rolls and sugee cake.9 As with many traditional coffee shops of the past, CMC used to roast its own coffee beans. Today, the confectionery continues to bake its own bread.10

In pre-independent Singapore, it was the Eurasian community that frequently patronised the shop.11 In recent times, CMC remains popular, especially on Sundays when worshippers of the nearby Church of the Holy Family would pop by the shop.12



Author

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. (2007, May 20). The Straits Times, p. 56. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Duruz, J., & Khoo, G. C. (2015).Eating together: Food, space, and identity in Malaysia and Singapore.Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, p. 25. (Call no.: RSING 394.1209595 DUR-[CUS]); Zaccheus, M. (2013, March 8). We’re staying put: Popular East Coast ConfectioneryThe Straits Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

2. Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, pp. 86, 102. (Call no.: RSING q959.57 KON-[HIS])
3. Lai, A. E. (2016). The Kopitiam in Singapore: An evolving story about cultural diversity and cultural politicsIn L. Kong, & V. Sinha (Eds.), Food, foodways and foodscapes: Culture, community and consumption in post-colonial Singapore. Singapore; New Jersey: World Scientific, p. 108. (Call no.: RSING 394.12095957 FOO-[CUS]); Heng, M. (2010, January). Keeping the legacy alive. BiblioAsia, 5(4), 21. (Call no.: RSING 027.495957 SNBBA-[LIB])
4. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. (2007, May 20). The Straits Times, p. 56. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Toh, S. P. C. (2003, February 16). The lazy afternoon Katong RambleThe New Paper, p. 57. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Duruz, J., & Khoo, G. C. (2015). Eating together: Food, space, and identity in Malaysia and Singapore. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, p. 45. (Call no.: RSING 394.1209595 DUR-[CUS]); Lim, P-L. (1989, January 11). Sleepy Katong awakesThe New Paper, p. 16; Wee, L. (1999, December 5). Spread some love around.The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

7. Heng, M. (2010, January). Keeping the legacy alive. BiblioAsia, 5(4), 22. (Call no.: RSING 027.495957 SNBBA-[LIB])
8. Duruz, J., & Khoo, G. C. (2015). Eating together: Food, space, and identity in Malaysia and Singapore. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 45–46. (Call no.: RSING 394.1209595 DUR-[CUS])
9. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery. (2007, May 20).The Straits Times, p. 56. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

10. Wee, L. (1999, December 5). Spread some love aroundThe Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, C. L. (2012, July 1). In Singapore, taking butter with your coffee. The New York Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
11. Kong, L., & Chang, T. C. (2001). Joo Chiat: A living legacy. Singapore: Archipelago Press, p. 102. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 KON-[HIS])
12. Lum, M. (1997, September 11). Katong landmark church to be redevelopedThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.




Further resources
Kaya is king. (2002, April 12). The Straits Times, p. 24. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Singapore on a plate. (2014, December 10). The Dominion Post. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website:http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/ 

Where you can find Hainanese eats. (2002, May 5). The New Paper, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 24 January 2018 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Commercial buildings
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Commercial Buildings
Confectioners--Singapore
Coffee shops--Singapore
Trade and industry
Commerce and Industry
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Retail and wholesale
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings