“Screw the french press. We’ve got the sock”.
Posters with these words are commonly found in many Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlets across Singapore. To the international audience, this may seem strange but to locals, we know that the sock refers to the sock filter that is commonly used in Singapore to strain and filter our local coffee, and we, too, agree that coffee made this way tastes awesome.
Aside from the coffee, Ya Kun Kaya Toast is more commonly-known as a home-grown outlet that many locals in Singapore grew up eating at. With the signature kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs, Ya Kun Kaya Toast continues to draw people to their shops to date.
Kaya is a custard-like paste made with coconut milk and pandan leaves. It has a jam-like consistency and is very fragrant. There are two common kinds of kaya – Hainanese kaya and Nonya kaya. Ya Kun’s is more towards Nonya kaya.
Here are three of the must-haves in Ya Kun:
Ya Kun Kaya Toast Set A
The set consists of kaya toast cut into four separate slices, two soft-boiled eggs and a cup of coffee or tea.
Kaya toast – a slab of cold butter and thick kaya spread wedged in evenly toasted traditional bread (with the ends cut off).
Soft-boiled eggs – runny egg yolks with soft egg whites. You can add your desired amount of dark or light soy sauce and pepper into the eggs. The older generation prefers to stir the eggs and seasonings together and drink the egg but I personally prefer to dip the toast in the egg.
Coffee – Ya Kun’s coffee is unlike western coffee and produces a rich thick taste. You can request for evaporated or condensed milk in your coffee!
Kaya crackers are more of a snack rather than part of a meal. It has the same filling as the kaya toast but instead of being wrapped in toasted traditional bread, it is sandwiched between two cream crackers. A must-have if you’re too full for bread but game for a snack!
Steamed kaya bread
I know of many who prefer the steamed kaya bread over the kaya toast and that’s because the steamed bread is more like steamed cake. Served in similar baskets used when steaming dimsum, the steamed kaya bread comes piping hot, with similar fillings as the kaya toast.
Ya Kun Kaya toast can be found in many countries, including Taiwan and China. However, if you would like to bring kaya back to your home country, you can easily purchase a jar of kaya from any Ya Kun outlets (there is even one at Changi Airport!) – just remember to check it in as it exceeds the airlines 100ml limit.