Thick, luscious and coconutty, Fong Yit Kaya is Singapore’s breakfast must-have since 1945.
In our ‘Taste of Singapore’ series, we look at iconic Singaporean brands that we’ve all grown up with. In Part 1 and 2, we looked at Long Beach Seafood and Chee Seng Sesame Oil. In Part 3, we examine our nation’s favourite breakfast spread and Fong Yit Kaya’s 72-year-old recipe.
Kaya is something Singaporeans have learnt to love from a tender age. Made with eggs, sugar and coconut milk, the jam seems easy to make, but the flavours are hard to get just right. Singapore brand Fong Yit developed a winning formula back in 1945 and has never looked back.
In 1945, Fong Yit’s founders Mr Goh Hong Chit and Mdm Ng Ah Lan started making kaya as a husband and wife team in their home. It was there that they discovered that cooking the fresh ingredients over a low heat for an extended period of time would result in a depth of flavour now distinct to Fong Yit.
With this homemade recipe, Mdm Ng went door to door, selling to bakeries and households in their neighbourhood. It was tiring, but the couple believed strongly in their product. They felt that the flavour they had created was unparalleled. Their hard work paid off immensely as Fong Yit kaya gained popularity rapidly. Eventually, demand was so great that production could no longer be done from home. The couple’s eldest children also started helping with the cooking and bottling, expanding the Fong Yit team.
But it wasn’t until 1974 that Fong Yit really gained a footing in Singapore. This was the year they began mass producing their product from a shophouse in Eng Kong Gardens. By then, the reins had been passed to second son, Mr Goh Teng Huat, who improved the production process by introducing automated stirring and cooking. The automation kept conditions constant during production, resulting in a product with improved consistency and quality.
Since then, Fong Yit has also introduced new lines of kaya—XO kaya, Kayamila and super premium—each with a different focus. The XO kaya brand offers products with less sugar, targeting the health conscious, while the Kayamila brand introduces bold flavours—sea salt caramel, vanilla pandan and calamansi citrus—without compromising the natural, additive-free and low glycemic index aspects of the original kaya.
Through the years, Fong Yit has gone through several changes to its production and packaging, but ultimately, it stays true to founder Hong Chit’s philosophy and commitment to product quality and customer satisfaction. Three generations on, Fong Yit continues providing high quality kaya, using the original recipe from 1945, cementing its place in the hearts of its customers.
This post is brought to you in partnership with Fong Yit Kaya. For more information, please visit Fong Yit’s website.
Cover: Fong Yit kaya is best enjoyed with fresh ingredients for maximum flavour
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s July 2017 issue – ‘Singapore Brands’.