Kaya, Gula Melaka, and More: A Beginner’s Guide to Unique Local and Asian Flavours in Singapore

22 June 2016
<p>Breakfast staple!</p>

Breakfast staple!

Living in Singapore now means brand new flavours await your taste buds. 


You might have seen these words in menus and recipes or you might have even tried them but if you’re not entirely sure what they are, we bring you the low-down on these special flavours. 



pandan cake

You’ve probably heard of the famous pandan cake (also known as the pandan chiffon) — the delicious fluffy green sponge cake that makes a great afternoon snack. It’s made of the extract of pandan (screw-pine plant) leaves, which explains the green in those cakes. Nowadays you can also find pandan-flavoured cheesecakes, gelato, ice cream, madeleines, Swiss roll, truffles, hot cross buns, cocktails… the possibilities are endless!

P/S: There is even an area in the west of Singapore named after this plant.


Gula Melaka 

gula melaka

Also known as palm sugar, the flavour is obtained from the sap from the date, coconut, nipa or sago palm. It’s commonly found in putu piring (a local snack) and its sweet taste also makes it a great ingredient for pancakes, ice cream, cakes, granola, Macarons and yes, cocktails. Gula Melaka syrup, with its rich flavour, also complements certain desserts.




A favourite staple for breakfast in Singapore, this coconut egg jam is the main feature in kaya toast. With its creamy and custard-like texture, kaya is actually made from coconut milk and pandan-flavoured eggs sweetened with sugar or honey. Guess that explains the why it’s green in colour. 

If you want to take your kaya game to a new level, you can even try flavoured kaya spreads from Fong Yit Kaya — we’re talking about vanilla pandan, calamasi citrus, and even seasalt caramel!


Salted egg 

salted eggs

Ah yes, it seems like the food trend of the season is to make a salted egg-flavoured anything — fries, chips, ice cream, cookies, croissant, donuts, buns, chicken and waffles, we mean anything! 

Made from a curing method, salted eggs are (usually duck) eggs soaked in brine and boiled or steamed before being served in dishes, and during the Mid-Autumn Festival, you’ll find many mookcakes filled with salted egg yolk in the middle.  


Red beans


Red bean paste makes yummy fillings in buns and confectionery such as mooncakes and daifuku, ang ku kueh, and even croissant

As the name suggests, the paste is made from boiled red beans, also known as azuki beans (which are also used in pillows and beanbags).




These days, matcha  is sometimes interchangeably used to describe green tea. Known for its health benefits, the green tea plants that produce matcha are grown in the shade — one of the unique aspects of its farming process.

It’s a popular flavour used in desserts and such but if you prefer to have it as a drink, Inner Matcha can deliver some for you straight from Japan.


By Muneerah Bee, June 2016 

Photos: 123rf.com


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