If I had a dollar for every time someone said “unprecedented times” during these unprecedented times, I’d be a very rich man.
Or at least, I’d have a couple hundred dollars… which is nothing to be sneezed at, especially during these unprecedented times, where you have doomsday predictors foretelling the demise of every industry and life as we know it.
During these unprecedented times (see I’m already up four dollars, whee!), we’ve seen some really strange things, like people becoming avid bakers overnight or fashioning bubble tea pearls in their own kitchens.
Not that I blame them, one does what one must in order to stave off soul-crushing boredom.
These unprecedented times, too, have seen the rise of food fads, the most recent of which being Dalgona Coffee, with people documented their successes (but mostly failures) on social media.
But just what is Dalgona Coffee exactly?
Actually, if you need me to tell you what it is, you’ve probably been living in your nuclear fallout-proof bomb shelter for far too long, but allow me to Snacksplain.
Anyway, it’s essentially an inverse cafe latte. In that the coffee bit is whipped to a frothy foam, instead of the milk.
The effect is much the same, though instead of getting a milk moustache, you get a coffee moustache. Which is kind of similar, though deeply disturbing in the subtle differences.
Now that you know what Dalgona Coffee is, you can go make yourself a cup.
If you’re like me, a person who believes that food preparation is best left to paid professionals to do, you’d be bereft.
Except The Alley has stepped into fill that gaping, bubble tea-shaped void in our lives. Happily enough, its take on the recent Korean (and therefore, global, since everything Korean is cool these days) also incorporates tapioca pearls, a substance which is essential for the functioning of the average Singaporean.
Before stabbing the straw into the cup’s lid, however, I must admit to experiencing a minor bout of philosophical distress.
Does The Alley’s Dalgona Coffee count as bubble tea, given that it’s actually, you know, coffee?
But I put those disconcerting thoughts away, along with more deeper, even more distressing ones like what is my purpose on this earth, and took a big sip.
What it tastes like is the sweet, sweet taste of freedom. Of normalcy.
Of how a two-month deprivation of the ambrosia that is bubble tea is finally, finally back.
… And of course, the sweet, sweet taste of brown sugar, which I assume is the thing that flavours the tapioca pearls.
What you’re getting with The Alley’s take on the hottest food fad to happen since baked cheese tarts is essentially that tiger sugar tea thing. Something I’ve always found insufferably sweet and cloying.
On the whole, though, this Dalgona Coffee isn’t too bad. Or at least no sweeter than the syrup-laced calorie bombs that is a Starbucks Frappuccino.
But I have to hand it to The Alley. I’m not sure what it is exactly they put in their milk, but it’s pretty fantastic stuff. Creamy, rich and mouth-filling, as all good milk should be. Not like the milk you get from some other places that tastes more like opaque water than anything else.
In all fairness, what The Alley has done isn’t amazing, as such. Its Dalgona Coffee doesn’t taste too far off what you could conceivably do on your own (barring the tapioca pearls, of course, which is far more trouble than it’s worth and way too easy to get wrong).
However, that’s the magic. It tastes like it’s home-made, which is probably the highest praise I could give food you can buy.
How so, you might be asking.
Good question, curious one.
That’s because when you make stuff at home, you don’t skimp on the quality of the ingredients and are generous with them. Unless of course, you’re one of those people that don’t really care what they put into their mouths, and if you are, why on earth are you reading this?
Aside from the fact you love hearing my voice, that is. Which I suppose is, in and of itself, its own reward.
Anyway, the best part about something that tastes like it’s home-made, but isn’t actually home-made is how you won’t have to do any cleaning up after.
That, my friends, is its greatest strength. Worth its weight in gold, or tapioca pearls, even.
Well, you will have to part with some money. But like they say, money can’t buy you happiness, though happily enough, it can buy you a cup of The Alley’s Dalgona Coffee.
And if you were given a dollar for every time someone said “unprecedented times”, you might even have enough for several.
I’ll leave it to your imagine what havoc drinking several of those coffees in a row would wreak on your digestive tract… which would at least be an unprecedented time for you.
10-word review: A Temporarily forbidden fruit meets the hottest lockdown food fad.
Best paired with: A crushing sense of apathy, because why bother to make it yourself when others can do it for you?