Monday, May 07, 2007

Kaya Toast, Half Boiled Egg and Coffee @ Ya Kun Kaya Toast, China Street, Singapore

For my trip to Singapore this time round, I wasn't allowed to do any shopping at the malls. In fact, I didn't even walk down Orchard Road or step into the new mall, Vivocity. Not that I didn't wish to boost Singapore's economy by a few points but I decided to spend whatever little time I had exploring some Singapore food.

Two places I always associate kaya toast in Singapore has been Ya Kun and Killineys. Since we get Killineys in Malaysia, I picked
Ya Kun instead for Sunday breakfast. My friend, A who used to work in the financial district only knew one outlet i.e. this one in China Street. Starting out at Lau Pat Sat (the old market), they have been in business since 1944. It's now a healthy franchise business boasting outlets all over Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Heard that the franchise fee is a whopping S$30,000 so I guess selling kaya toast, half boiled eggs and coffee really pays off.

Unlike places in Malaysia, the half boiled eggs are cracked for you. It's actually a good idea as it was perfectly cooked without any clear uncooked egg. Drizzle some soy sauce (which is pretty thick versus the ones we get in Malaysia), sprinkle a dash of white pepper and you'll have a really satisfying meal. I've always loved half boiled eggs ever since I was a kid. It used to be our daily regiment to pop one tiny egg before going to school.

Unlike the thicker type of toast in Malaysia, Ya Kun's version reminds me of Ipoh Old Town Kopitiam. Here they use brown bread which is sliced thinly. Spread with kaya and a slab of butter, it's nice and crispy just on it's own or dipped in the half boiled egg. Since the kitchen was out of bounds (with a no entry sign above the doorway) I couldn't see whether they used the old fashioned charcoal grill or a toaster for the bread. The kaya was not too sweet and unlike the Ipoh Old Town version, here you don't get melting butter dripping down as the toast is not piping hot. I also sampled their coffee which I didn't think much. Somehow the aroma of coffee in Malaysia is much better and stronger.

Although most of the outlets are owned by franchise, this particular outlet is owned by the original family. It's pretty nice surrounded by the high rise buildings with an outside area. I even spied a golden retriever sitting with it's owners enjoying their breakfast and a group of Japanese tourists snapping pictures away of the food and the restaurant.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast
18 China Street
Far East Square

(Pork free. Open from 9am onwards)

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant for writing this review.

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Xiu Long Bao said...

I know this kopitiam! Its kaya toasts are so heavenly tasty! I bought a bottle of Ya Kun kaya bck too.

boo_licious said...

Wow! I didn't see any kaya for sale or else I would have satisfied some of my shopping cravings by getting a bottle.

Unknown said...

i tried this around toa payoh..just a normal kopitiam chain for me..prefer those kopi o in the neighbourhood wet market

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

You've just described one of my favourite breakfasts...half boiled egg! Unfortunately, a lot of places don't get it right.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

yes half boil eggs is an easy thing to make but a very hard thing to master..congrats on appearing on the star yesterday ler rgding ur roast duck article..

boo_licious said...

kampungboycitygal - must try those ones one day. I see people hanging out there but was too busy to drop by.

lemongrass - yeah you're right abt that. This place got it perfect and I like the way they quality controlled it since they crack the eggs.

joe - there are secrets per my mother's tips. Must use small eggs, room temperature and of course fresh ones.

Unknown said...

You should try either Toast Box or Wang Jiao in Singapore next time. Yah Kun used to be really good, but their coffee has gone down the drain - literally.

A good way to get access to both is to visit Vivocity. Wang Jiao can be found in HarbourFront Center on the first floor near Macdonald's while Vivocity boasts two Toast Box outlets - basement 2 integrated with the under-par BreadTalk, and third floor in the interestingly laid out Food Republic. The staff rotate between the outlets anyway so either one would do - just depends on your choice of deco.

Wang Jiao has a more Singaporean flavour - the food is very much like Yah Kun's but I strongly suggest you try their mini baguette with butter and kaya. Toast Box has much more interesting toast - they serve what they call thick toast. Imagine an inch-high slice of toast slavered with a topping of your choice - powdered Milo with condensed milk or crunchy peanut butter or of course, butter and kaya.

Don't try the mee siam though. It looks popular but it's too sour without much flavour.

fatboybakes said...

eh, the kopitiam at the back hock lee, (the famous char kuey teow guy), they crack open the half boil eggs for you. in fact, coincidentally, i was just mulling over that fact last sat, when i had the my mind i was thinking of the pros and cons...i think i'd rather crack my own egg lar.

MeiyeN said...

yummy, yummy!!!!!! boo, congrats! you was featured in star paper yesterday ;)

backStreetGluttons said...

V have noticed that Singapore is really thriving with franchised cafes , with many in KL too.

One good thing is they are quite consistent with good quality control and 'dare to xperiment' !The old man said theirs is no ordinary country, agree ?

wmw said...

Like I said in BabeInTheCity Blog, congrats on being featured in The Sunday Star (albeit without you gals' permission). Wah, I know the three of you, you know...hee hee...tumpang glamour!

boo_licious said...

thxs for the tips hamham. Wang Jiao sounds interesting.

fbb - must admit I never eaten their half boiled eggs before. Usually too busy scoffing down my fav CKT. I realise when I crack my own eggs, it's not so nice though.

meiyen - thxs!

team bsg - Yup there seems to be an influx of Spore franchises at the Curve esp. Strangely enough they said they are not enterprising enough due to the strict govt restrictions.

wmw - thxs so much for yr recommendation! Glad we ate that duck.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i shall take ur mom's advice and do abit of testing..but ever since i been a protein freak its been hard boil egg whites every other day..till my mom complains her eggs r missing!

Babe_KL said...

funny i was browsing a spore web about ya kun many years back before the influx of high end kopitiams in KL. it was before uncle lim in ikano that started the craze. i was mulling over the biz and checked with my fren in spore if it's viable for a similar biz to be set up in KL then. he told me can do and even did some calculations for me but sad i did not take it up plus i dun hv capital, else i'll be having chains of kopitiam franchises under my arms :p well good dream eh?

boo_licious said...

joe - her method works! She uses boiling water hot from the boil to soak the eggs. Can't remember exactly how long but believe me it's perfect.

babe - small world. Yeah,but personally it would have been a get rich quick and cash out scheme as I suspect these kopitiams are seeing a slight drop in interest. Am sure there is a new trend out there to try which will sell well.

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