The kaya I'm referring to is a delicious coconut jam made from coconut milk, eggs, and sugar. Kaya translates to "rich" in Malay (I feel my cholesterol rise just writing about it). Many versions of kaya can be found all over Southeast Asia, but my personal favorite is the pandan-flavored Nonya variety from Malaysia (tinted green from the pandan leaf, aka screwpine).
Hubby Kris first fell in love with kaya last year in Singapore. A common Singapore breakfast is kaya toast - thick white toast slathered generously with kaya and butter. Though kaya toast can be found in any kopitiam in Singapore, Kris was drawn to the flashier chain outlets, Bread Talk and Toast Box. Each morning, he would leave our hotel room before I woke up and return with a bag stuffed with every variety of kaya toast on the menu.
Here's Kris bidding farewell to Toast Box's requisite "cone of butter" at the Singapore Changi Airport:
We also found a golden-hued Hainanese honey kaya at T&T Supermarket in Vancouver (my mom always keeps a jar of this on hand for her favorite son-in-law):
Homemade kaya is apparently much tastier than the shelf version. But the recipes I've seen require at least an hour of continuous stirring over a low flame. And knowing my history with making custards, I'll probably end up with coconut scrambled eggs! I'll be sure to post a followup if I ever successfully make my own kaya (but don't hold your breath).
You can find jarred or canned kaya in the Southeast Asia/Malaysia/Indonesia aisle of your local Asian food market.
Forget the toast - just eat it straight from the jar!