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A friend just back from Singapore brought me a souvenir. I had asked for a pack of gum, but instead I got a jar of kaya, a sweet spread made from eggs, coconut milk and sugar that is to Malaysia as Nutella is to Italy. The traditional way to eat kaya is smeared on charcoal-grilled toast (the charcoal part is apparently essential), along with a soft-boiled egg and a cup of wicked-strong coffee. The “kaya toast” breakfast is an essential part of Singaporean life: Instead of coffee carts and Starbucks, highly competitive chains of kaya toast stalls dot the city landscape. I gave it a try this morning, on a piece of non-charcoal-grilled toast: The stuff smells like movie-theater popcorn “butter” (not necessarily a bad thing) and tastes like a pureed flan (ditto). I love it. Tomorrow I’ll try kaya cinammon bagel and kaya granola.
P.S. I'm trying to find an online source for any kaya-curious readers out there. No luck so far, but you can try your local Asian market.