Guest Post by: Finance Senior Steven Hsieh. He is a Foster Undergraduate who is participating on Foster Exchange at the National University of Singapore for Fall Semester 2018.
It was a humid, warm night in Singapore (which really says nothing as every night in Singapore is humid and warm), as I strolled into the basement of one of the many massive shopping malls in Singapore. Still hungry after dinner, I scavenged for snacks, taking a gander at the many choices available to me when I laid my eyes upon an innocent stall titled “Ya Kun Kaya Toast.” My local friend informed me that it was a popular kaya toast chain, and never having kaya toast before, I decided to have a bit of breakfast at night time.
My first bite was heavenly. I’ve never been a toast guy for breakfast as I usually opted for oatmeal or cereal instead, but upon that first mouthful of bread, Kaya jam, and butter, I was converted. For those who don’t know what Kaya toast is, let me explain. Kaya toast is essentially a sandwich of two pieces of thin, toasted bread (thin is important), with an interior of Kaya jam and butter. Different chains have different ratios of each ingredient, but these three are crucial. Kaya jam is made from a base of coconut milk, eggs, and sugar, which imparts a rich, creamy, and sweet coconutty flavor. Combined with a bit of saltiness from the butter and the savory from the toast, these ingredients come together to form something truly greater than the sum of it’s pieces.
There’s one more aspect to the Kaya toast as well – soft boiled eggs. Two gooey soft-boiled eggs are usually served alongside the Kaya toast, and can act as a standalone meal, or dipped with the kaya toast. Sprinkled with a little white pepper and dashed with a splash of dark soy sauce, the Kaya toast becomes a different beast. Now, you might be wondering, “Which Kaya toast chain should I visit the next time I visit Singapore?” Well let me tell you, all Kaya toast is good Kaya toast. However, my favorite is Toast Box’s Kaya Toast as I prefer their butter, which is more of a uniform spread compared to Ya Kun’s cold slab of butter. With a flood of local Singaporeans lining up to order a nice cup of coffee/tea, some Kaya toast, and some soft-boiled eggs, they’ve truly figured out how to start their day right.
So far, I’ve had a lot of the local delicacies which include laksa, barley drinks, avocado smoothies, chili crab, stingray, satay, and the ever-famous chicken rice. They’re all delicious. Yet, the simplicity and flavor of Kaya toast causes me to return morning after morning. Now excuse me, I think I just heard my toaster pop.