The restaurant was filled with locals. Chatting, picking at their food with chopsticks and slurping hot coffee around plastic tables. Although it was still early in the day, the air was heavy from the heath. We made our way to the back of the restaurant where most of the action seemed to be happening. People where running from table to table, serving customers drinks and food while talking rapidly to each other and yelling orders. Although chaotic it was efficient and we were helped straight away. On the bench were big tins with spreads and piles of toast and there was a big pot filled with hot water and eggs. It was easy to see this place specialised in Kaya Toast. We had already tried this coconut jam with margarine but the waitress beckoned us to try it with peanut butter.
A strong tea with sweetened condensed milk from a can was put in front of me, the cup bathing in the spilled drink on the saucer. Then white slices of toast with thick layers of kaya and peanut butter and also ones with kaya and margarine were put on the table. The waitress cracked two eggs into a bowl, two very runny, very soft eggs. The white still translucent in parts. I took a bite of the Kaya Toast. The salty peanut butter and sweet kaya spread melted in my mouth while I chewed. Soft and creamy and delicious and I understood straight away why this place was so busy and bustling. This kaya was a whole new level of kaya. Home made by the owners of the food stall. And even the eggs seemed wonderful to me, runny as they were served, with a squirt of soy sauce and a sprinkle of white pepper. We lapped it all up with the remainder of our toast and it was perfect, washed down with the strong tea and coffee we were drinking.
Because of the enthusiasm we ate our food with, the waitress brought us a typical “Nyonya cuisine” treat after. Sticky rice and pork meat cooked while folded neatly in leaves in a pyramid shape. She unwrapped it for us and watched as we tried bites of this specialty. And she was right again. The pork meat was soft and spiced in a way that made it slightly sweet and the sticky rice made a perfect chewy layer around the meat.
When we had finished it all we were almost disappointed to leave this place. The constant chatter around us in languages we do not understand, the warm blanket of heat, the smells of all these different foods, the friendly people. Everything was right at that moment in that place and we took one last look around before we walked out onto the busy road again.
The restaurant where we tried this amazing Kaya Toast is called Siang Chiang Kopitiam. It’s located in Melaka, Malaysia.