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Kaya toast

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Kaya toast
Kaya Toast with Coffee (cropped).jpg
Kaya toast with coffee
Alternative namesCoconut jam toast
CourseStaple food
Region or stateSingapore and Peninsular Malaysia
Created byHainan immigrants
Serving temperatureWarm
Main ingredientskaya (coconut jam) and butter
Glycemic index 49 (low)

Kaya toast is a breakfast dish thought to have originated from Hainanese immigrants to Malaysia and Singapore.[1] The food consists of two slices of toast with butter and kaya (coconut jam), commonly served alongside coffee and soft-boiled eggs.[2] It became integrated into kopi tiam (coffee shop) culture.[1]


Kaya toast dipped into soft-boiled egg

One story claims that Hainanese immigrants created the kaya toast meal by adapting what they had previously prepared while serving on British ships.[1] The kaya spread was considered a replacement for western fruit jams.[3]

In the past, traditional snack shops could only be found in a few locations such as Chinatown and Balestier Road. However, Singapore started actively promoting its street food or hawker fare via the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). In 1994, it held a month-long event to advertise traditional foods called the Singaporean Food Festival, which is hosted every year. Particularly in 2004, Kaya toast was featured by the Singapore Tourism Board in its "Uniquely Singapore Shop & Eat Tours", serving as the symbol for a local snack.[4]

Government efforts of placing coffee carts situated on the streets into hawker centres also significantly assisted the kaya toast business. As of December 2005, the Singapore foodscape houses an estimate of over 70 outlets selling kaya toast, excluding small coffee-shops that are not listed on the internet or does not have a website. Since then, kaya toast has become a regular item in café and can be found at almost every hawker centre.[5]

The preparation method and appearance of kaya toast has changed. Sellers use electric grills instead of the traditional charcoal grills. Previously, hawker workers would use homemade bread but have now opted to order bread supplies from factories. While the methods and ingredients have been simplified, one thing that has yet to change drastically is the kaya spread itself. The kaya spreads used in renowned retailers, such as Yak Kun Kaya Toast and Killiney Kopitiam, are still produced from traditional recipes. It is also worth noting that changes in the method, menu, and economy have not necessarily led to a decline in traditional food sellers. Singapore itself does not prevent the rise of micro-entrepreneurs in the department of traditional food.[6]


One slice of kaya toast is usually accompanied by another with butter, to make a sandwich, alongside coffee and two runny soft-boiled eggs, paired with dark soy sauce and white pepper.[1]


Macronutrient Composition[7]
Food Carbohydrate (g/100g) Fat (g/portion) Protein (g/portion) Total energy (kJ/portion)
Kaya toast 46.0 17.6 7.3 1623

One portion of kaya toast (108.7 gram) is categorized as a low Glycemic Index (GI) food with an average score of 49 on the scale.[7]

Ingredients and preparation

The Hainanese breakfast consists of kaya toast, sweetened coffee and soft-cooked eggs.[citation needed]

The bread should be grilled over charcoal, but may also be grilled or toasted, and is then buttered. The kaya jam should be spread on top of the cold butter.[1] To enjoy the Hainanese breakfast as per tradition, the soft-cooked egg should be cracked in a bowl, adding soy sauce and white pepper to taste. Then the kaya toast should be generously dipped into it before being enjoyed. It is best served immediately; the butter should still be cold when eaten.[1]

Further reading

  • Lynch. Rene (July 22, 2009). "Sending out an SOS for the Kaya Toast at Susan Feniger's Street". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 December 2013.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Chu, Louisa (20 April 2016). "Breakfast quest in Singapore: Looking for history on toast". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  2. ^ Tarulevicz, NT; S, Hudd. “From Natural History to National Kitchen: Food In The Museums Of Singapore, 2006-2017”. pp. 18–44.
  3. ^ Zaccheus, Melody (1 March 2020). "Take a culture trip with luoli, kaya and toast". The Straits Times. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  4. ^ ""STB to Launch 'Uniquely Singapore Shop & Eat Tours'"". Singapore Tourism Board.
  5. ^ Stone, George W. "Obsessions Breakfast." National Geographic Traveler, 2016.
  6. ^ Leong, S. “Toast to toast”. The Straits Times, 16 April 2006.
  7. ^ a b Sun L, Lee DE, Tan WJ, Ranawana DV, Quek YC, Goh HJ, Henry CJ (March 2015). "Glycaemic index and glycaemic load of selected popular foods consumed in Southeast Asia". Br J Nutr. 113 (5): 843–8. doi:10.1017/S0007114514004425. PMID 25716365.

External links