The more time I spend in Singapore, the more I get used to the local snacks here – and one of the more traditional Singaporean foods is Kaya Toast.
Kaya Toast can be described as charcoal-grilled or toasted slices of bread enveloping slivers of cold butter and a generous spread of kaya, a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs. Singaporeans love Kaya Toast and it goes very well with a cup of local ‘kopi’ (coffee).
Some eat this toasted sandwich for breakfast, others prefer it for dinner. More often than not, it is accompanied by two soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks and translucent whites that are heavenly with a dash of dark soya and white pepper! These savoury eggs are a good complement to the sweet kaya toast which has an appetising crispy crunch, a melt-in-your mouth layer of olive-green kaya and a generous dollop of butter.
This snack is credited to the Hainanese, such as the founders of Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Ya Kun, a coffee stall since 1944, is known for its wafer-thin brown bread slices and flavourful kaya. But it was only after 2000 that the kaya toast scene took off in Singapore, when Ya Kun started expanding with new outlets in shopping malls. Since then, there has been a whole host of new coffee joints selling kaya toast.
My first experience with Kaya Toast was actually at a franchise shop called Toast Box (a rival to Ya Kun), which specialises in this thick toast as well as other local delicacies such as Laksa. My munching there was very enjoyable, and it is at these traditional or traditionally-inspired kopitiams (coffee houses) where perhaps you can find the tastiest kaya toast in Singapore.