Eggs, sugar, coconut milk – these are the basic ingredients that make up this Singaporean fave. Kaya may look like greenish or orangish baby food, but even dollops of the most basic ones can turn ordinary toasts into fragrant, eggy, sweet slices of heaven. Here’s a spread of some of the most interesting (and a couple of the most authentic) jars of this goody goo to get, and have in the morning, noon or night.
Ujong Saffron Artisanal Coconut Jam (from $7.90), Ujong Gourmet
Possibly the first of its kind that’s infused with the sweet, floral “Red Gold” that is Spanish saffron (one of the world’s most expensive spices) and wild flower honey, this is a fancy yellow-orange hued kaya for those with luxe tastes.
Kayamila Calamansi Citrus Coconut Kaya Spread ($3.50), Fong Yit (in image: first jar from right)
This is one of the most affordable, and also, one of the more “refreshing” variations on the shelf. It serves up the creaminess of coconut milk along with a soft tinge of citrus and a gentle tang of calamansi. Cheap, tart and sweet!
Durian Kaya ($6), Four Seasons Durians
Such a simple yet brill idea: Put two Singaporean faves, kaya and durian together, and boom! You get “Out Of Stock”. Yes, last we checked, this hybrid product of the 70s’ fruit stall turned durian specialist, Four Seasons Durians, was sold out online. Best to email or check out its outlets to see if there’s any ready-stock.
Coffee Kaya ($4.50), Kaya House
In case you didn’t know, Kaya House is a brand under Sing Kee Kaya, the beginnings of which can be traced back to a coffee shop named Chen Da Ji at Pulau Brani in 1920. History lesson over; now for the practical. Its offerings more than pass; they’re innovative pastes developed for local tastes. Case-in-point: this kaya with coffee flavour concoction. Perfect for folk who can’t get enough of morning kopi in a cup and want it spread on toast, too.
Available at most major supermarkets and online grocers, kayaspread.com
No Sugar Added Nonya Kaya ($3.30), Glory
Health fanatics, this one’s for you. It’s got reduced fat and cholesterol, and is low in sodium, trans-fat free, halal-certified and (according to the jar’s packaging) “97% lower in sugar compared to regular kaya”. “But got taste or not?” you may ask. Got – thanks to the coconut milk, pandan juice and eggs within. Just try not to eat spoonfuls of this just because it’s stamped with the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).
Toast Box Durian Kaya ($9.90), Toast Box
If you die die must try, durian and kaya together (without trying to mash them up yourself), here’s another option. This SG kopitiam-cafe chain’s version is made with real Mao Shan Wang durian, with no chemical preservatives added and is trans-fat free. Make sure to refrigerate it at 6 to 10 degrees Celsius and consume within 10 days after opening… and away from household members who do not appreciate the spiky fruit’s smell.
Kaya ($13.50), Violet Oon
So confident is the dame of Peranakan cuisine, Violet Oon, of her product, it is named – wait for it – “Kaya”. Plus, it’s the priciest of the lot listed here. So why spend your moolah on this? Because it’s constantly stirred over a double boiler and steamed until a luscious and creamy consistency is achieved, with an aromatic fragrance to boot. Anyhoo, it must be delish, since it’s sold out on its brand site. Which means you either gotta hunt it down at Violet Oon’s restos or wait (while saving up – your willingness, that is – to splurge on a supposed humble jam).
Ya Kun Kaya ($4.80), Ya Kun Kaya Toast
How can we talk about coconut jam without mentioning SG’s foremost proponent of this local delight? Hello, it’s got “kaya” in its name. Never mind all the fusion-hybrid-whathaveyou types: Its eggy and pandan-y version is its one and only go-to. Or, pick the Elfin Pack ($6.80) with two 75g jars to gift fellow kaya-maniacs.
BONUS: SAFRA members can enjoy 10% off all listed menu prices for F&B purchases at SAFRA Toa Payoh Ya Kun Kaya Toast. Click here for more information.
Featured image: Shutterstock