When I crave for a Singaporean snack, a little koptiam in Ortigas never fails to give me that delicious medley of soft boiled eggs, kaya toast, and pulled coffee.
It's simply my Singaporean comfort food, with equal parts homey and heartwarming. Ya Kun Kaya offers authentic, traditional pulled coffee and tea (tarik), soft boiled eggs and perfectly toasted bread laden with sweet kaya spread. While I've tried versions of kopi, teh and kaya toast in several places here in Manila, Ya Kun Kaya gives my favorite rendition of these Singaporean treats. It really whisks me away to that exact moment about a year ago when I had my very first kopitiam (breakfast/coffee shop) experience in Singapore. Why, oh why wasn't I introduced to soft-boiled eggs and kaya toast much earlier in my life? Well, at least I was introduced to them, and they've earned a bookmark in my constantly changing appetite.
Ya Kun Kaya in Escriva Drive is air-conditioned and thankfully a wi-fi zone, for those seeking alternatives to the usual jampacked coffee shops around the city.
And if you're looking for a place to hang out or do some work with your laptop while having a cup of coffee, Ya Kun Kaya can offer that to you for under P100! All their hot and cold beverages are less than P100, and that's a big sigh of relief for the everyday coffee shop lurker who needs to milk out as much caffeine and internet connection from a cafe as possible.
How do you like your Kopi/Teh?
Another thing I appreciate at this kopitiam is how you can see your coffee and tea being prepared fresh, using the long-spouted metal pot. It is said that the flavor and aroma of your beverage is brought out best using the 'pulling' method, transferring the hot liquid from one pot to another at about a couple of feet of distance.
I prefer Ya Kun Kaya's Coffee (P60) and Tea (P60), as both are served with condensed milk, sweet and light the way I like them. Their versions of traditional kopi and teh really whisk me away to Singapore -- it is as good as it gets. The black tea and condensed milk make a beautiful pairing, as it is poured and prepared the right way.
Another Ya Kun Kaya addiction I have is the Yin Yang, an excellent mix of coffee and tea served with condensed milk. Before you brush this off as silly mixing of beverages, I should tell you that Yin Yang (or 'yuan yang') is hugely popular in Hong Kong. It's pretty much a milk tea with a spike of coffee, or the other way around. It's creamy, sweet and rich.
When it comes to Kaya, I prefer the browner kind, with less pandan flavor. Ya Kun Kaya has this kind, with a thick consistency and just a tinge of green from pandan. Since their beverages are very affordable, ordering from their Set Menu is definitely a steal. A set includes either one or two slices of toasted bread with spread of choice, one or two soft-boiled eggs, and with hot coffee or tea.
Left to right: Kaya toast, Milo toast, and Cheezy french toast with kaya
If you're new to the kaya toast experience, you should start with the very basic order of Kaya Toast with Butter (P45 - 1 slice, P75 - 2 slices).
Kaya toast with butter
What stands out at Ya Kun Kaya's version of the kaya toast is the brown bread used. You may buy different kinds of kaya in its different flavors, bottled or canned, but what really stands out is their bread. Perfectly crisp on the first bite, with a little chewiness on the inside. Melded with rich melted butter and sweet coconut-y kaya, it's a simple, satisfying and surprisingly filling snack.
Yummy: kaya toast dipped in poached eggs
Now, to elevate this kaya toast experience, you level up with poached eggs by ordering the Kaya toast set (Half - P115, Full - P150). Honestly, I do not like eating poached eggs as is. I (currently) only love it in two ways: eggs benedict and with kaya toast. At Ya Kun Kaya, the slimy, runny eggs are given a sprinkling of pepper, and a dash of soy sauce, and are served on a little bowl. The way I eat them is to break a piece of kaya toast and use that to mix the soft eggs to create a brown, gooey, slippery dip. The contrast of textures and the play of sweet and salty is quite thrilling to the palate.
Cheezy French Toast with Kaya Set (P150)
If you want to jazz things up with your toast, I suggest you try the Cheezy french toast with kaya (P70) or the Milo toast (P60). You'll soon enough be full with these toasts, as they are both rich and filling. I actually prefer the Cheezy french toast without the kaya, which is served separately in a sauce bowl. The Milo toast, meanwhile, is a sly little devil, tricking me that I could finish a plateful of the toast since, hey, it's just little ol' toasted bread topped with powdered chocolate. But, no. Its finishing move revealed itself to me after one bite - there was even more condensed milk and milo powder in between the toast. I was surrounded, and I had to wave the white flag and surrender to the crunchy chocolate overload. This one's for sharing, folks.
Milo Toast (P60 - 1 slice, P140 - set)
I'm glad that this Singaporean kopitiam brand is just a short distance from where I reside. I can now conveniently relive those heartwarming (and authentic) kopi-toast-eggs moments which I shared with good friends during those concert trips to Singapore. If you're in the Ortigas area, I highly recommend swinging by this kopitiam so you can have more ways to appreciate coffee, tea and kaya -- the true blue, Singaporean way.