Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Breakfast for champions

The first meal in the morning sets the mood for how you feel for the rest of the day. And in Singapore, there aren't many things that give me the perfect kick start to the day than a steaming cup of local coffee and deliciously crispy kaya toast in a local coffeeshop. Local coffeeshops are a far cry from commercial American coffeechains - no air conditioning, no plush chairs, and most importantly... no ridiculously overpriced beverages.

Instead, you get rustic decor (think plastic chairs, old checkered tiles and a ceiling fan) decked out usually in heritage buildings (which indicates how long they've been serving up a local brew). Best of all, you can have a deliciously strong brew sweetened with condensed milk, accompanied by freshly toasted bread - all for a fraction of what you woud pay for one drink in the Starbucks further down the street.

So it was with great excitement when mum and I went to Tong Ya coffeeshop (located on Keong Saik Street just on the fringe of Chinatown) after church on Sunday. Friends had recommended this iconic establishment - and I was craving for a much needed caffeine boost after having trouble sleeping the night before.

We ordered local coffee, soft boiled eggs and Tong Ya's famous uber crispy kaya toast. As they serve up variations of this toast - you have to specifically order the thin and crispy version.

As we waited for our breakfast - I looked around the coffeeshop - plastic chairs... tick, old ceiling fan... tick, retro checkered tiles.... tick... unique old world charm that can't be replicated... massive tick.

The coffee arrived first... and it really hit the spot. Tong Ya serves up a local brew that is low on acidity and fairly robust with a slight bitter aftertaste. Perfect for my caffeine fix and I soon forgot about my lack of sleep the night before.

Because the crispy verson of kaya toast takes a while to prepare... I decided to order a bowl of katong laksa from the same coffeeshop while we waited (ok yes... I was being greedy AGAIN). Whilst the laksa was far from being spicy enough - it was pretty tasty and is a lighter version that you'll get in many places - probably from the use of less coconut milk .

Just as I slurped up the last noodle in my laksa - the main event arrived. Beautifully done - the kaya toast here is uniformly golden brown and sandwiches a thin slice of cold butter and very fragrant kaya. Unlike many thin crispy versions sold elsewhere, this toast wasn't dry and overly brittle. Perfect when dipped in soft boiled eggs and oh so satisfying!

This was definitely the best version of kaya toast I have tasted... and having it in a historical building in Chinatown made it all the better. I finished my meal happy... knowing that I just had a fantastic breakfast... and that the rest of my day was going to be just as brilliant.


Joanne September 10, 2008 at 10:21 AM  

Oh YUM.... You're making me hungggrrrryyyy...
I've gotta tell Mo abt this entry.. he luuuuurvvvvesssssss kaya toast with soft boil egg..
and he loooooooveeeeesssss katong laksa.. (from katong!!).. :)

teenuts September 30, 2008 at 1:54 PM  

oh wow..your food blog is really wonderful !!!!!

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