Kopi & Kaya Toast: Get To Know How It All Started

Kopi & Kaya Toast - Article Feature Image

You haven’t experienced what it means to be a true Asian if you haven’t tried Kopi & Kaya Toast. Come now, pull up a seat at your local kopitiam (kopi is Malay for “coffee”; tiam means “shop” in Hokkien) and let us tell you all about it.


Yakun Kopi & Kaya Toast : @grabfoodsg


Kopi & Kaya Toast is the most no-frills Asian breakfast you’ll ever know.


Kaya Toast : @miningfoo


It consists of two slices of toasted bread filled with kaya, a traditional spread made with sugar, eggs, coconut cream, and pandan flavoring, which gives its signature greenish-yellow hue. The custard-like consistency spreads like butter on toasted crust-free bread (a hangover from English colonialism). 



It is believed that the dish originated with Hainanese people who worked on-board British ships as cooks. Eventually, they settled in Singapore and replaced the expensive British strawberry jams with local coconut spreads.


Kaya doesn’t just refer to coconut jam. In the Malay language, kaya means “rich.” But the richness doesn’t have to end with the jam.


Kopi & Kaya Toast Combo from Yakun Toast. : @yun.eats

Local Tips

Get the full combo that comes with soft-boiled eggs and a cup of kopi (coffee). Crack them eggs with soy sauce and white pepper in a shallow dish and either slurp them up separately or dip those crusty toast into them for an explosion of flavours.


Ordering your cup of kopi may require some skill. Polish your kopi lingo here.


Here’s something of a conversational starter for you. Did you know that the hum of coffeeshop chatter increases creativity? One study, “published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that the right level of ambient noise triggers our minds to think more creatively.” Next time you think of stepping out to work, consider the local kopitiam. Check out the best traditional breakfast spots in Singapore.


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