Think Singapore and a few iconic dishes come to mind. Chilli crab, of course remains top spot, but another staple lingers in the minds of many: kaya toast.
More than just a tourist must-eat (name one foreign celebrity that hasn’t said they wanted to try this while they were here), kaya toast is a classic breakfast menu that’s loved for its simplicity, not to mention the harmonious blend of sweet, toasty, and savoury textures and flavours all at once.
There are only three components to this nostalgic number: cold butter, kaya and bread.Yet there are tons of variations that can be found. There are those who prefer their bread soft and fluffy, while others like theirs kissed by a charcoal grill for that oh-so-satisfying crunch. Some locales offer the sweeter gula melaka kaya spread, and traditional Hainanese joints tend to serve up a custard-like version that’s much more pandan-forward.
Besides old coffeeshops like Heap Seng Leong, this list also includes a version from Good Morning Nanyang Cafe that replaces white bread with orange ciabatta for a modern twist.
Where to find the best kaya toast in Singapore:
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Tong Ah Eating House
Tong Ah Eating House may have moved out of the iconic red and white building to a couple of units down along Keong Saik Road, but the food here remains as delicious and modest as before. Diners usually get the Traditional Kaya Toast set, which comes with lightly charred kaya toast, two soft-boiled eggs, and a drink.
You’ll also find the elusive Kopi Gu Yu here, which is a strong cup of local coffee that’s topped off with a slab of butter. Instead of making it greasy, the butter creates a silky texture and heightens the caramelised notes from the coffee. Perfect with toast.
(Image credit: @whatieatateeaten via Instagram)
35 Keong Saik Rd., Singapore 089142
Chin Mee Chin
Chin Mee Chin’s reopening last year only means one thing: it’s time for us to head back for their super addictive kaya toast. Think a sweet, aromatic mix of handmade kaya slathered on fluffy, charcoal-roasted buns, complete with a thick, generous slab of butter to complete the dish.
204 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428903
Heap Seng Leong
Besides the nostalgic Kopi Gu Yu, many come to queue at Heap Seng Leong for their kaya toast. Each serving is made to order, and the store owner leverages on his years of experience to make the charcoal-toasted bread both deliciously chewy and crispy at the same time. Best had after a quick dip in a saucer of soft-boiled eggs.
(Image credit: @heapsengleong via Instagram)
10 North Bridge Rd, #01-5109, Singapore 190010
Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee
While you’ll be able to find the usual toasty kaya toast here at Ah Seng (Hai Nam) Coffee, we suggest a serving of their French Toast with Kaya. After being soaked in a generous amount of egg, each slice is charcoal-grilled to golden perfection. The French toast is then slathered with kaya and cold butter before being served with even more handmade kaya on the side.
(Image credit: @cherylthebaker via Instagram)
7 Maxwell Rd, #02-95, Singapore 069111
Keng Wah Sung
Picture this: smooth, silky butter, a delightfully addictive homemade kaya, and thin, warm, and toasty slices of bread — that’s how kaya toast is served here at Keng Wah Sung. The humble establishment serves up a mean cup of Nanyang Kopi too, so you best believe that’s what we’re dipping our toasts into. If you’ve fallen in love with their kaya, you can always buy a bottle home too.
(Image credit: @jamietan04 via Instagram)
783 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389672
Good Morning Nanyang Cafe
We might be cheating a little with this recommendation from Good Morning Nanyang Cafe. Located on the second floor of Far East Plaza, the eatery serves its freshly-made kaya not with the usual white bread, but with orange ciabatta. Yes, that combination may seem a little odd, but the subtle citrus notes from the bits of orange zest makes for a refreshing, fragrant touch to the classic dish.
(Image credit: @teo_rated via Instagram)
14 Scotts Rd, #02-23, Far East Plaza, Singapore 228213
YY Kafei Dian
The fluffy homemade buns from YY Kafei Dian are so soft, we’d like them in a bigger size just so we can use them as a pillow — and then eat it after, of course. Each one of the cloud-like buns come with a light crust on the outside too, and served with a slather of deeply caramelised kaya and a square of butter.
(Image credit: @happykl19 via Instagram)
37 Beach Rd, #01-01, Singapore 189678
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