Make kaya toast your butter half
It only takes three simple ingredients to make kaya: coconut milk, eggs and sugar. The Hainanese make theirs with caramelised or brown sugar to give it that rich orangey-brown hue, while Peranakans add pandan juice for a sweet fragrance akin to vanilla. Either way, paired with a cup of kopi and soft boiled eggs, this classic coconut jam spread on toast makes a breakfast that is hard to resist.
1. Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee
When you are at Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee, skip the usual kaya toast and go for French Toast ($3) instead. A thin layer of kaya and butter is spread between two slices of eggy bread and toasted over charcoal, and the end result resembles a crispy omelette. This light treat is topped with extra kaya on the side for dipping!
Address: 7 Maxwell Road, #02-95, Amoy Street Food Centre, Singapore 069111
Opening hours: Daily 5am to 4pm
Tel: 9710 2907
2. Keng Wah Sung
Keng Wah Sung is probably one of the oldest coffee shops in Singapore with over 70 years of history and its location makes for a great spot to spend a breezy morning. Breakfast Set ($3.20) features their homemade kaya that has a sweet hint of caramelised sugar. Here’s the best part: it’s available in takeaway tubs!
Address: 783 Geylang Road, Singapore 389672
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6am to 12am
Tel: 6744 3784
3. Heap Seng Leong
Walk into Heap Seng Leong and you’ll be transported back to the time kopi was brewed using socks and served by kopi boys in PJs. For $2.30, we got kaya toast with a cup of coffee that they slip butter in for a smoother taste. This is where I’d chill with my grandparents on a Sunday afternoon.
Address: Blk 10 North Bridge Road, #01-5109, Singapore 190010
Opening hours: Daily 4am to 7pm
Tel: 6292 2368
4. Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
Instead of the usual white bread, Chin Mee Chin Confectionery makes this old school breakfast staple with soft fluffy buns baked in house. Get a Kaya Bun ($1) served with Nonya kaya, which has a stronger pandan taste. We love the mosaic floor tiles and marble tables that give the place its retro character. So Instagram worthy!
Address: 204 East Coast Road, Singapore 428903
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8am to 4:30pm
Tel: 6345 0419
5. Tong Ah Eating House
For about 75 years, Tong Ah Eating House was located at the iconic triangular spot along Keong Saik Road until they shifted to their current location three years ago. The taste of their homemade kaya remains the same: rich, smooth, with a strong eggy flavour. Our favourite is their Steamed Kaya Bread ($3.50) that’s warm and fluffy, oozing with melted butter and kaya.
Address: 35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
Opening hours: Daily 7am to 10pm
Tel: 6223 5083
6. YY Kafei Dian
YY Kafei Dian is a hidden gem that serves no-frills authentic Hainanese fare at reasonable prices. A Breakfast Set ($4.90) includes pillowy soft buns smeared generously with butter and is toasted till crisp on the outside before the kaya with a caramel-like consistency sweetens it up in ribbons.
Address: 37 Beach Road, #01-01, Singapore 189678
Opening hours: Daily 7:30am to 10pm
Tel: 6336 8813
7. Coffee Break
Coffee Break takes the traditional out for a spin and creates spreads like matcha coconut, key lime, black sesame and taro. They stay true to their roots when it comes to prepping kopi and toast, and are truly third-generation hawkerpreneurs at their best. Get a couple of crisp Wholemeal Toast ($2.80) slices and a cup of kopi to start your day!
Address: 7 Maxwell Road, #02-78, Amoy Street Food Centre, Singapore 069111
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am to 2:30pm
Tel: 8100 6218
8. Killiney Kopitiam
We are not talking about the Killiney franchise across Singapore or overseas, but the original Killiney Kopitiam along Killiney Road. Our favourite is a plate of French Toast ($2) that’s lightly soaked in egg mixture and toasted to perfection. Their homemade kaya has a curd-like texture and is heavy on the coconut with a hint of pandan.
Address: 67 Killiney Road, Singapore 239525
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sat 6am to 11pm, Tue & Sun 6am to 6pm
Tel: 6734 3910 / 6734 9648
9. Toast Hut
Toast Hut tells another story of a young hawkerpreneur keeping the tradition alive. Their take on the Breakfast Set ($3) is simple – coffee and toast prepared the traditional way that tastes comforting and familiar. We like that the kaya is not overly sweet, which great for those who like their drinks siu dai.
Address: 51 Old Airport Road, #01-52, Old Airport Road Food Centre, Singapore 390051
Opening hours: Fri-Wed 7am to 3pm
Tel: 8125 7729
10. Ya Kun Kaya Toast
With 40 and counting outlets islandwide, Ya Kun makes it easy for a kaya toast stop anytime. Their flagship shop on China Street is run by the son of the late founder, where they still make fresh kaya on site. Although they’ve come up with new variations of kaya toast, the classic Kaya Toast with Butter ($2.40) remains our favourite.
Address: 18 China Street, #01-01, Singapore 049560
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am to 6pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am to 5pm
Tel: 6438 3638
Old is gold
From humble hawker stalls to worldwide franchises, these 10 spots serve a local delicacy that is simple yet versatile. It may only require simple ingredients, but the skill involved in the making of kaya takes generations to master. And let’s be real, nothing beats the aroma of freshly made kaya in a bustling kopitiam. Let us know where you like to go for kaya toast in the comments!