"The Michael Jackson" is the coffee shop slang name for a mixed drink containing soya bean milk and black grass jelly (Chin chow jelly).
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I often found myself in dire straits in front of a Kopitiam drink store, deciding between the refreshing, thirst quenching grass jelly and the popular soya bean milk. But Michael Jackson allows me to have the best of both worlds. I wasn’t referring to the King of Pop, but something even better: a mixed drink containing soya bean milk and grass jelly. (chin chow jelly)
Being a “cheapo” I love the fact that a cup of Michael Jackson only costs $1 and is found EVERYWHERE. In fact, I often find myself buying 3 cups at one go to share the joy with my friends.
Not only found in hawker centres, I was elated when I discovered that soya bean stores such as Mr Bean and Jollibean also sell the Michael Jackson. I highly recommend the one from Mr Bean as the sweetness of the grass jelly and freshness of soya bean is on point.
Suffice to say, you could not have experienced Singapore without first having partaken this famous local drink. My earliest notions of black and white were widely associated not with chessboards, nor zebra crossings, but this particular drink.
The love for the Michael Jackson is something that runs in the blood of my family. I remembered my father buying packets of chin chow (grass jelly) and cans of Yeo's soya milk just to make his favourite drink. He would spend 10-15 minutes after lunch slicing the grass jelly up into plastic cups and topping them up with soy milk, and we would sit down to watch TV whilst enjoying the wonderful drink. At times, he would add in jelly, sea coconut or longans, which he would buy and prepare himself.
The Michael Jackson is virtually available everywhere. There are shops specialised in it (i.e. soya bean milk outlets such as Mr Bean) or the simple drink stall at the coffee shop where prices can go for as low as 40 cents for a small cup. In fact, I've even seen a shop where they take pains to moderate the sugar level according to your desires as well as the proportion of chin chow and soya milk you'd want in your drink!
Definitely worth a try!
This drink is magnifique and the first time I found out it was called Michael Jackson was after his passing and I thought it was so cute and such a nice way to honour the man in a truly Singaporean way.
The drink is essentially soy bean drink with grass jelly in it and it is the perfect blend of refreshing and filling as the soy bean milk is like a meal on its own and adding the grass jelly bits is like a wonderful chewy surprise.
Needless to say the price of this drink is super low seeing as its usually found in hawker centres and goes for about $1.50 so its well worth the money!
I frequent hawker centres more than restaurants/cafés ever since I could remember because I love the variety of food and the environment in hawker centres. That was when I learnt the mini list of beverage vocabulary, one of which is 'Michael Jackson'.
The grass jelly bits and soy milk compliments each other and they serve as a refreshing drink/dessert on a hot day especially in Singapore. This is also an easy recipe which you can try at home as well.
Once you've tried Michael Jackson, I dare you not to like it!
I never knew that it was called Michael Jackson until just a few years back.
The usage of the name for the drink contains undertones of racism with regards to Michael Jackson's race. While he was originally an African-American, he changed his skin colour to be whiter which is the possible link to the drink Michael Jackson that contains both white soy bean milk and black grass jelly. Even so, my friends and I sometimes laugh at the hilarious nature of the person who named the drink after Michael Jackson.
Taste wise, this drink is the best - with a refreshing base of cold soy bean milk, the chin chow jelly adds a layer of texture and flavour to the drink. Instead of a normal soy bean taste, there is the added chewiness of the jelly with a tinge of sweetness from the jelly. Better yet, my favourite order is to top off the goodness with a dose of pearls - oh praise the heavens for such a gem of a drink.