So I came here with my hopes exceeding that of the 1960s shophouse-esque roof, laced with a stark, in-your-face blue all the way round. Very high.
Windswept hair tied back. Sunglasses on in the evil face of the sun’s Sunday rays. My father drove my two younger sisters and I all the way to East Coast, succumbing to my months-long pleas of trying out this famous confectionery, affectionately named CMC by old-timers. My hair is still piecey and slightly greasy as I type. Arrived with high expectations and unfortunately, was let down, all the way down to the nearby drainpipe, quite a fair bit.
We signalled to the lady politely, only to be received by a sour grunt and waist-low wave.
Wait, you darn fools.
Well alright then, we shall. And we did. We sat next to a couple of ladies in the crowded little 10 square feet (yes I am exaggerating) cuboid. I observed them picking out the huge yellow slabs of butter from their kaya buns and leave them on the sides of their plates, and I suddenly felt a tinge of annoyance. That bit’s clearly the icing on the cake, though I must admit that too much is a little daunting sometimes. Not spectacular for the frame, either. Walking in, one notices the proud sign, homemade baked goods displayed at the counter and old-fashioned checkered tiles. Somehow felt uplifted amongst the slightly cramped and frumpy area. It’s crowded on this Sunday morning, I think to myself. Must be good (or so I hoped.)
My dad expertly cracked open the promising eggs, only to be faced with mighty raw whites. The edible sun was missing half its face, and we were forced to adapt to dribbly transparency. Note I say transparency, not translucency. I ordered a kopi c, which was not half as strong as what I’ve had at other places. Fragrant, yes. Flavourful, well less so.
I had a terribly hard time slurping down my eggs with ease as what would usually be the case at another coffee shop. Translucent to the point whereby it was hard to pick up a string of jelly since the whole thing was like piece of wobbly glue. No white pepper could salvage it. Yes, quite disappointed.
Ah, the famous Chin Mee Chin kaya buns.
Wonderful, they said. How the harmony of local flavours sing a rapturing tune!
I waited to be flabbergasted, to fall away from my plastic grey stool in awe at the very first bite. What really happened was my being taken aback by how… predictable the flavours were. I was startled by my own reaction. Could it be? Now this is usually the case when one possesses too high an expectation. Perhaps I heard one too many a good review before my arrival, leading me to associate more emotion than necessary with what arrived on my plate. It was a nicely toasted bun all right, with a good spread of kaya and nice rectangle of half melted butter.
I then noticed the commonness of the kaya; how I must have tasted the exact same thing before at least once in my life. Nothing screamed of originality (apart from the unique buns themselves). I expected more depth in flavour and less sweetness. There it was, a bun with a nice hat to top it all off. Simple, satisfying, good even. But nothing which would make me want to come back for more. I normally dip the toast into the egg (or coffee, if I’m feeling particularly odd one day), but thanks to the unpalatable eggs, I was more than unable to do so.
I was let down a fair bit, but I should like to admit that I am definitely glad I can now cross off ‘visit CMC Confectionery’ off my list. The surprising satisfaction from such dissatisfaction…
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
204 East Coast Road