This simple dish is the ultimate comfort food for those with a sweet tooth, offering the right mix of crunch and sugar rush.
It is the perfect snack that goes very well with a cup of local 'kopi' (coffee) or 'teh' (tea); charcoal-grilled or toasted slices of bread enveloping slivers of cold butter and a generous spread of kaya, a traditional jam made from coconut and eggs.
Some eat this toasted sandwich for breakfast, others prefer it for tea. More often than not, it is accompanied by two soft-boiled eggs with runny yolks and translucent whites that are heavenly with a dash of dark soya and white pepper.
The savoury eggs are a good complement to the sweet kaya toast which has an appetising crispy crunch, a melt-in-your mouth layer of olive-green kaya and a generous dollop of butter.
This snack is credited to the Hainanese, such as the founders of Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Kheng Hoe Heng Coffeeshop – the predecessor to Killiney Kopitiam.
Ya Kun, a coffee stall since 1944, is known for its wafer thin brown bread slices and flavourful kaya. Kheng Hoe Heng, set up in 1919, is the oldest Hainanese coffeeshop in Singapore, famous for its white bread kaya toast. It was bought over by a regular customer in 1993 who renamed it Killiney Kopitiam.
But it was only after 2000 that the kaya toast scene took off in Singapore, when Ya Kun and Killiney started expanding with new outlets in shopping malls. Since then, there has been a slew of new coffee joints selling kaya toast.