From Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall
With a colloquial name like Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall, the menu at this bar, unsurprisingly, draws inspiration from the local culture. “We wanted to recreate a hawker drink stall that serves locally inspired cocktails,” says bar manager Sim Sze Wei.
Everything, from the menu to the interior, is delightfully patriotic. Old-school biscuit tins and even the latticed window grills are sourced from dumpsters and flea markets, while signature cocktails, such as Milo Dinosaur and Chrysanthemum Tea, are boozy renditions of familiar beverages found in hawker centres.
The Laksa ($24) takes cue from the spicy coconut noodle dish. Sze Wei explains: “The focus is on the freshness of the laksa leaves, not so much on the richness.” To lend a savoury edge, the fat from dried shrimp is first rendered, then infused with vodka. It’s then used as a base with other quintessential herbs and spices: fresh laksa leaves, lemongrass, chilli padi, lime juice, sugar, and a touch of coconut cream.
“And we top it off with powdered dried shrimp to give it that extra oomph,” says Sze Wei. “The challenge was to extract the flavours of laksa without making it too overpowering,” he adds. “In the end, we manage to achieve a balanced drink that’s fresh, tasty, and at the same time, very familiar.”