It would be hard to disagree with me when I say that Singapore is perhaps one of the best, if not the best culinary destination for Southeast Asian cuisine. Inhibited by different races, people of different places, it’s literally the melting pot of Asian cultures. You could say the same for their cuisine, ultimately resulting in a very rewarding fusion of spices and flavors from all over Asia.
One of the most popular meals would have to be the typical Singaporean breakfast: two slices of toast slathered with kaya jam, soft-boiled eggs, and a cup of kopi. Ya Kun Kaya Toast, a popular food chain from Singapore, arrived on Philippine shores not too long ago and opened their first branch at Terminal 2 (Domestic) of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. On route to Cebu, today was my third visit to this chain.
* Apologies for the iPhone quality pictures!
I wasn’t too fond of my first visit. I can hardly remember details, but I recall how much I disliked the soft-boiled eggs – which I thought of as grossly raw and undercooked, with “hardly anything” on my toast. It has taken me two years to try and see whether I was wrong the first time – how about that for a lasting first impression?
The funny thing with second chances is that it’s one you’re most reluctant to give in to, but when you do, it usually turns out better the second time around, which was exactly what happened two weeks ago when I decided to try kaya toast again (sans the soft-boiled eggs). Here I am, on my third, and my second visit in two weeks. This time, I went for the set that came with soft-boiled eggs.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Series accompanied me for breakfast here at the airport. I found it amusing that the lady across me was reading the exact same book!
I opted for some hot green tea instead of the famous Kopi with sweet milk, and had my toast without butter, another option that I discovered I found to be better. The kaya jam is milder in terms of flavor and sweetness compared to the Filipino coconut jam, and stands better on its own without the butter. The eggs were, to my delight, cooked perfectly wet and runny as opposed to the first time I had tried them. Both dark and light soy sauce, salt and pepper are available to help with seasoning – I didn’t find any need to use them.
I distinctly recall the days in my childhood when my mom would fry eggs just enough to keep the center yolk runny, and I’d break the yolk’s thin membrane by dipping freshly baked bread. Nostalgic. It’s so soothing to be able to do it again, though I seem to prefer to enjoy the kaya toast by itself.
Perhaps I may be biased towards any coconut product, but I love the taste of kaya toast so much, and I wanted more; going to the extent of splitting the thinly sliced bread further into halves just so I get the illusion of eight pieces instead of four.
With NAIA Terminal 2 not being able to offer good food much in terms of value for money, it’s a relief to finally have a place where I can read a book whilst enjoying a meal that offers so much comfort that I, initially, never thought would.
Other varieties that might suit your tastes such as cheese toast, french toast, and heavier options that include meat, are also available on the menu.
Time for boarding!
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Terminal 2 (Domestic Departures), Ninoy Aquino International Airport