Food,  Singapore

Kopi & Kaya

Kaya toast, served with kopi and extremely soft boiled runny eggs is a uniquely Singaporean experience.  I first tried it as a visitor to Singapore, when my Singaporean friend Kelvin demonstrated how to eat it properly.  The toast and kopi can be consumed as served, but most Singaporean’s season the two runny eggs with soy sauce and white pepper, mix it all up, and slurp it up.  Two classic places to try this are: Yakun and Killiney Kopitiam.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of the runny eggs, but I love a kopi and if I want to treat myself, I’ll go for some kaya toast too.


Kopi is Singaporean style coffee. Thick, strong, and if you get it the classic way, extremely sweet.  It’s similar to Vietnamese coffee in that it’s served with sweetened condensed milk.  There are many variations of the classic Kopi though, depending on your preferences for the type of milk and amount of sugar.  After initially getting addicted to the sweet syrupy kopi, I eventually found my go-to variation: “Kopi C kosong”.  This is kopi served with evaporated milk and no sweetener.  My Singaporean equivalent of a coffee with cream and no sugar, only much much stronger.  This fun website shows a visual of all the different types of kopis and has an interactive component where you can “make” your own.


If coffee is not your thing, you can try Teh.  Teh (tea) also comes served with sweetened condensed milk, unless you ask otherwise. I will order a Teh-Bing (iced teh) for a special treat.


Kaya is a jam like paste made from coconut, pandan (a flavouring commonly used in SE Asia), eggs, and sugar.  Kaya toast is thin slices of usually sweet white bread, toasted and served with a spread of kaya jam and a thick cut of butter.  For a rare special treat, I order kaya toast from Yakun where I know they don’t skimp on the butter.  You can see the kaya and about 3 mm of butter sandwiched between the toasted bread.  It’s delicious and very rich!!

At most kopitiams, you can also get variations like kaya peanut butter toast, kaya cheese toast, etc.


These are traditional cafes that serve kopi, teh, and some simple snacks / lunch items like kaya toast, nasi lemak, and laksa.  My favourite for more food choices is Killiney Kopitiam.  The original is on Killiney road, but multiple outlets can be found across Singapore.

Clockwise from the top: kaya toast, running eggs, kopi, iced teh, and a bowl of laksa. You can’t get more Singaporean than this for breakfast

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