One of the perks of working from home is having a hot breakfast. This morning, AB was boiling some eggs so that he could have them later with rice noodles. I immediately thought of making half-boiled eggs. Ooh! Growing up in Singapore, one of my all-time favorite breakfast foods is half-boiled eggs with kaya toast. During the weekends, we’d have breakfast at a kopi-tiam (“coffee shop” in Hokkien) or hawker centre near home. Someone would bring my parents their kopi (“coffee” in Hokkien) and a Milo drink for me, as well as some toast with butter and kaya (“coconut jam” in Malay) and a few eggs immersed in hot water. We’d have to wait for some minutes before we could crack open the eggs. Those minutes always seemed like a long time to me. Once it’s time, we’d take out the hot eggs – sometimes tossing them gingerly between our hands – and crack them with a few raps on the side of a saucer. And out flows the much-anticipated eggy goodness. The perfect half-boiled egg should be runny with just-set, opaque white and a bright yolk that spills open with a tap of a spoon. Add a dash of soya sauce and some pepper, and then mix it all up. I prefer dark over light soya sauce and black instead of white pepper with my eggs. Some people slurp up the mixture. I rather dip toast into it and let the bread soak up the eggy mixture. Mmmm. Half-boiled eggs are typically eaten for breakfast in Singapore and you can order them at any kopi-tiam or hawker centre. Just order them from the stall that is selling coffee, tea and other drinks. While I don’t have a favourite place for half-boiled eggs in Singapore, there are a few kopi-tiams that I’d recommend to friends from out of town. For instance, Chin Mee Chin 真美珍茶室 @ 204 East Coast Road has been around since the 1902s and retains an old-school interior with Peranakan tiles. Nanyang Old Coffee 南洋老咖啡 @ 268 South Bridge Road is a reliable option if you’re in the Chinatown area. There are two family-run kopi and kaya toast “empires” in Singapore: Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Killiney Kopitiam. You can easily find them across the island. However, the quality can be a hit-and miss and many of these stalls are franchises. To be on the safe side, go to the original stalls – Killiney Kopitiam @ 67 Killiney Road and Ya Kun Kaya Toast 亚坤 @ 18 China Street. +++ What about you – what is one of your favourite breakfast foods? It could be from your childhood days or something that you enjoy today. P.S. You might have noticed that the eggs were a tad overcooked in the top-most picture. I have yet to find the perfect method for making soft-boiled eggs at home. If you have one that works for you, please share it with me.
May 2015 update: Just came across this article “Singapore’s Everyman Breakfast” on Roads & Kings. Guess what, it’s soft-boiled eggs + kaya toast!