Monday, May 18, 2009

chiam tau loti (french bread)



long before gardenia came onto the breadfast scene, our breakfast diet was a loaf of french bread which we called 'chiam tau loti'. the crust, when fresh, was so crispy that you could eat it on its own. it did not have such a fanciful name as baguette when you get it from delifrance. we bought ours from the bayi who came around on his bicycle or from the kampong coffee shop. each loaf - enough to feed the whole family - cost 25 cents.

the french bread in those days was leaner and longer. i was told you could not keep it for too long as it would turn stale after a day or so. anyway, our breadfast food did not get a change to reach that stage because it was always consumed within a day or rather, within a morning.

i liked, and still like, the two ends which my friend's daughter referred to as the 'elbows'. i think it is the crispiest part of the french bread.


like the hard biscuits (which i blogged about), i liked to eat it after dipping it in hot black coffee. you could also spread kaya and/or planta margarine - that came in ayellow metal can - on it. some children liked to spread a layer of margarine and then sprinkled white sugar on it.

when we became more 'affluent' in later years and could afford pricier food, we would still buy the chiam tau loti and dipped it in curry, especially chicken curry.

15 comments:

Lam Chun See said...

I still like to eat this; and my wife too. But becos my kids don't really like it, I usually get the small one occasionally.

Victor said...

In the 60s, they also sold a smaller-sized French loaf for 15 cents. I used to buy it from Ban Hup Hong Bakery in Queen Street which I blogged about here.

Andy said...

i like this with chicken/mutton curry or chilli crab sauce. yummy ~ the thought of it makes me so hungry =O

kiatsan said...

Yah. I like this chiam tau loti too. Ü Used to eat that when I was young. It has been quite a long time since I eat that.

peter said...

I just eaten 1 loaf with my curry chicken - so sedap! Sometimes I toast in the oven and spread it with butter. Price today from Bedok Central - S$1.30/-

When I was in Hanoi in 1988, I was puzzled why there were so many Vietnamese street stalls selling this French loaf (all loaves placed inside a glass cupboard display) until my Vietnamese lady translator explained because of the French occupation of Vietnam. She (a Ms. Duong) asked me if I would try. I thot I was suppose to sit on those stools until she told me to take one of those fabric easy seaters that one can lean back. Then I sipped Vietnamese black coffee and dipped the "loti" into black coffee. This was the strangest black coffee I ever tried. I found Vietnamese people drink very very seet black coffee and very cold coffee.

peter said...

One other loti I like is to get from GIANT bakery. It has sesame seeds on it and I buy a couple to go with creamy mushroom or asparagus soup. Another way is to coat it with cheese and onion flavour and have it toasted. Then like Pizza Hut loti.

yg said...

victor, yes, now i remember - they had the smaller ones also but one small one was not enough for seven mouths; that was why we always bought the longer ones.

doris said...

if we eat together yg, i'll be fighting with you for the elbows. i still love them with a spread of butter/margarine with my coffee for breakfast or dipped in curry chicken.
once i found a gunny string in a loaf i bought from my neighbourhood shop. no wonder it closed down. maybe others have found gunny strings too and avoided the shop like i did.

yg said...

doris, you can have the elbows with the gunny string, lah. i 'll eat the other part of the french bread.

Lam Chun See said...

I recall there was an advert that says, "So good you can eat it on its own." Probably Gardenia. But I think that line applies more so to chiam tau loti.

Andy Young* said...

It's also known as 'roti peranchis' in malay, or literally, 'bread french.' A quick meal, spread with sugar and Planta Margarine, is great!

Like most of you recalled, love the crust.

peter said...

the name of the bread sold at GIANT is "ciabatta bread".

yg said...

chun see, yes, i curi that line - so good, you can eat it on its own - from the gardenia advert.

Icemoon said...

For those who don't speak dialect, I think the mandarin name is jian1 tou2 mian4 bao1 - 尖头面包. That's what my parents call it.

We used to buy it from the Indian? shop at block 73, Bedok South Ave 3. Peter may know this shop.

We eat it like yg - with margarine or curry. But I like it garlic toast style.

Dogcom said...

Don't forget you can eat it with your Kambing Soup and make "Roti John" (french loaf omelet). Uniquely Singapore!