Holiday Breakfast Diary – Penang

Coffee Tiam
Originally uploaded by mirvettium.

Most of you have probably heard that I wandered off to Kuala Lumpur for a friend’s wedding, but you probably haven’t heard about our little side trip to Penang on a food extravaganza and being stuck in the airport for 8 hours.

I’ll skip the 8 hours of going nuts in Kuala Lumpur’s LCC waiting for Air Asia to show up and move on to a much happier highlight of (a very late) breakfast.

On arriving in Penang I begged Iz to go to have Kaya toast, even if it was 4pm in the afternoon and we had just eaten the best Char Kway Teow around.

So off we went to a little Kopi Tiam (roadside cafe), literally in an alleyway between two buildings with rickety tables and plastic stools somewhere on Campbell Street. The moment we were seated, orders were placed and it wasn’t long before we started devouring the toast and drinking the dark, sweet coffee.

Kaya toast served with coffee is a Malaysian and Singaporean institute, although the jam can be found in Indonesia it is not consumed with the same religious zeal as it is by Malaysians and Singaporeans. This delicacy is usually eaten for breakfast, though a lot of places sells it in until the afternoon, making it a perfect afternoon tea treat.

The Kaya jam is made from coconut milk and egg with pandan for the taste and sweetened by sugar. It’s spread on charcoal toasted bread with butter and eaten with another generous heart attack inducing amount of salty butter. I guess you can describe it as the Asian version of French toast, except what makes it special is the jam itself. The taste is difficult to describe, it’s creamy with a touch of pandan but not like any fruit jam you have ever tasted. The butter brings out the subtle sweetness and when washed down with strong, sweet coffee the combination is simply sublime.

As a side order you can have soft boiled egg to dip the crusty toast into. If neither of these appeal, there is always the other local breakfast alternative Nasi Lemak (rice cooked using coconut milk with sambal, egg and fried fish wrapped up in banana leaves).

Kaya toast with butter

Nasi Lemak

4 thoughts on “Holiday Breakfast Diary – Penang

  1. The nasi lemak looks really yummy, but that kaya toast is positively scary.. “I can’t believe that’s butter!”


    1. In my defense I did protest at first when handed this butter sandwich by the local, but it tasted so good with a slice of butter that I ended up eating it like that! My health conscious inner self was positively screaming, but I wasn’t paying attention to her anyhow.

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