Coconut jam (Filipino: matamís sa báo, matamís na báo; Indonesian: seri kaya, srikaya; Malaysian: kaya) is a jam made from a base of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. It is popular in Southeast Asia, mainly in Brunei, Indonesia (especially in Palembang), Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Legend has it kaya is the creation of Hainanese galley hands who worked on British ships in Singapore. They used coconut, eggs and pandan leaves as a substitute when ingredients for fruit jam weren’t available, and the custard-like kaya was such a hit that that it eventually made its way to the Hainanese-run kopitiams (coffee houses).
Coconut jam is in integral part of kaya toast, a well-known snack in Singapore and Malaysia. Kaya toast is prepared with coconut jam, a topping of sugar, coconut milk and eggs, pandan, and sometimes margarine or butter. Kaya is generally served on toast, and also sometimes on crackers. It is considered a breakfast staple, and remains popular in Singapore.
Breakfast quest in Singapore: Looking for history on toast