Singaporean street food : Kaya toast & C coffee

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Breakfast, for me is one of the best meals of the day and Asia doesn’t usually disappoint with great meals like nasi lemak, roti chanai, fried rice and congees. Cornflakes are boring, anyway.

Add another breakfast champion to the list, kaya toast!

Kaya, in Malay means rich, which is  very accurate as the spread put onto the toast is a thick, off green colour of coconut, sugar and pandan which is thickened and emulsified with egg. The resulting jam is thick, creamy and has a custardy consistency.

The jam is made into sandwiches with griddled, smokey bread and generous lumps of proper butter. Healthy stuff.

A regular and popular addition with the Singaporeans is ‘soft boiled egg’s which, to a European like myself would imply a soft boiled egg, or dippy eggs but they are served with the albumen half turning white, in a semi-translucent soupy mess. The eggs are mixed in with sweet soy before eating with the toast.

Kaya toast

Kaya toast, including soft boiled eggs (left) Original Kaya toast (top right) Coffee C (bottom Right) and french toast with kaya spread (centre)

Due to having our camera stolen in Indonesia, I don’t have any original images from our eating adventures. Images here are used under a creative commons license via Flickr. These image has not been altered and you can view the originals at the following link – Thanks, Hajime NAKANO

Coffee C is the perfect accompaniment, thick, dark coffee which is brewed the old-fashioned way and poured from a jug that looks disturbingly similar to a watering can.  The ‘C’ is for condensed milk, which is added to sweeten and lighten the treacle like coffee.

Kaya toast is another famous heritage dish of Singaporean food culture, it has been around for a while and like a lot of Singapores staples has arrived with the Chinese population many generations ago.

Ya Kun, a recently franchised chain in Singapore is an old favourite. The story goes, that Loi An Koon, set sail from Hainan to Singapore in 1926 and began working for a coffee stall, his entrepreneurial spirit drove him and two other Chinese immigrants to open their own stall. Three then became one, but he married and his new wife was the creator of their famous kaya spread. He roasted his own coffee and carried on for decades being very popular as a street vendor until in the late 1990’s one of his children franchised the brand and now they have outlets all over the city.

It might be excellent marketing, it might be a nice story of triumph, but either way they still make very good, popular coffee and deliciously moreish toast.

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