To the uninitiated, the above is just a simple dessert item that you see in Changi Village. You might not even order it, seeing how it is not the usual dessert you see in other food centre.
For the army buddies who went through NS with me, the red tea longan (RTL) dessert held NS memories and reminds me of how we felt during different phases during our service years.
If I do recall the first time we tried the dessert was during BCT (or was it during my first guard duty)... The former was when we were gathered by our Platoon Sergeant and were told to share the dessert in a takeaway container. There were about 40 odd of us, versus the little plastic container which held the sweet icy goodness. It had all but melted, but still retained its sweet tea infused jelly and syrup water. And for all of us, who had just undergone long hours of training and tekan session, that was heavenly.
RTL was also a favorite for guard duty personnel and those doing COS duty. Usually the COS will gather the order for those in the Company Lines and make our orders, and the auntie will deliver a van full of desserts and all other delights from Changi Village. Truly a sight to behold when she unload all the food. Makes you wonder how Commandos retain their figures.
Other times when RTL taste especially nice are when we just returned from a couple days of outfield exercise. We would pause halfway while cleaning arms and just indulge ourselves for that few moments before we continue cleaning our arms and doing other admin stuff. Removing of camou or shower can wait.
Even now, during reservist, we still make our pilgrimage to Changi V just to satisfy that sweet tooth and to relive the memories in each mouthful. Sharing old stories, they just never get old... Unlike us.
Yes, there are other food items that accompanied the Red Tea Longan, such as Nasi Lemak, Chicken Chop Hor Fun, Bak Chor Mee, etc... But the Red Tea Longan is the one item that completes the meal.