Mr Tea: Invasion of the Foreign Hawkers!

This branch is closed

Teh Tarik 80 cents, Ginger Masala Tea $1.20 Tall Cup

You know what I see in my crystal ball?

I see food courts becoming more international with more homegrown franchises selling international cuisine. The day will come when you will walk into a hawker centre and not be able to find your Chicken Rice. Instead, you will see cuisines from all round the world. Just look at the number of “upmarket” stalls which have already set up in hawker centres/food courts selling stuff like Belgian Waffles, Muffins and lately even French Crepes. It looks like one day our hawker centres will no longer be a showcase of local cuisine but a global gastronomic playground.

Not only will we be eating foreign cuisines made by locals, we will be seeing foreign franchises in our local hawker centres and food courts selling international cuisine. It is already happening now and the invasion is inevitable. Just last week, liverpool and I were sampling hamburgers from a chain originating from the Philippines called Hotshots burgers. These guys are not simply coming to set up one stall but a whole chain of stalls! J-Co, a donut chain from Indonesia has also set up shop here recently, competing with local brands for a bite of the doughnut ring. The interesting trend is not that foreign companies are setting up shop here, but that they are not selling products indigenous to their own countries anymore. It may not be surprising if one day, an Indonesian Chilli Crab chain arrives in Singapore to compete with Singaporeans at our own game. Hey, we are doing it ourselves by selling Delifrance products to the French!

Consider Mr Tea for instance. When liverpool and I took our first sip of the Tea, I could see the apprehension in his eyes. Now, you all know that liverpool owns a cafe and makes hundreds of cups of Teh C everyday. To see his reaction at the first sip of the Teh Tarik was a sight to behold. The Teh Tarik was one notch better than anything we have tasted locally plus it was cheap! At 80 cents for a large cup (at least twice the volume of Killiney Teh C), this Teh Tarik delivers the highest Ommmph per dollar of any Teh Tarik in Singapore!

Given that we are living in a free market economy, that simply means that we are going to see more Mr Tea joints opening up and more local Kopi and Teh joints closing down. In a way, it is good. At least it will wake the local giants like Killiney and Ya Kun up from their complacent slumber. Yes, you guys might be able to thumb down the local competition and push up your prices, but you are not going to be able to match a competitor like Mr Tea who is delivering a tastier cup of tea and selling to Singaporeans twice the amount of tea at almost half the price! If a foreign company can charge half the price for a cup of tea, it simply means that our local guys charging us too much.

Drinking Mr Tea was a holy grail experience. The Teh Tarik is perfectly balanced, smooth, fragrant with a more than adequate tea taste without leaving that waxy tannin aftertaste. We tried the ginger masala tea and it was just as unforgettable. The way the tastey zing of the ginger cuts through the creaminess of the tea felt like suddenly being able hear stereo sound in a mono recording. It was a sensation I have yet to experience in any of our local Sarabat Stalls. 4.75/5
The only real downside I can say is that they all come in the paper cup. It would be almost perfect in a proper cup!


Best cup of Teh Tarik I have tasted. Our local Teh Terik players had better pull up their socks because I won’t be the first one to switch over to the other side!

This post is just an off-the-cuff commentary based on some personal observation of what is happening in the local food scene. It is not meant to be a well researched, scholarly dissertation and should not be regarded as such.

Other outlets at: International Plaza and SMU

Mr Tea

146 Market Street, #01-14/15

Opening hours:

7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

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