Archive for the 'Singaporean' Category

Brunch at The Spice Table – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Brunch at The Spice Table - Downtown

A most enticing Instagram snapped and expertly filtered by The Spice Table‘s Bryant Ng sent my friend Nastassia and me into a doughnut-induced tizzy. Constantly on the search for the very best deep-fried rings around, we made immediate plans for weekend brunch, the only meal where this coconut- and pandan-glazed beauty is served.

Brunch at The Spice Table - Downtown

Nastassia, her boyfriend Reade, and I arrived at right about noon to a humming dining room last Saturday. The restaurant has been quietly serving brunch since December, but didn’t advertise it to the public until just a few weeks ago. It’s clear that word has gotten out about this midday feast.

Brunch at The Spice Table - Downtown

“The Kaya Doughnut” ($3) arrived at the table before our slew of savories, as requested. After we snapped more photos than we’d like to admit, Nastassia went in for the first bite. The huge smile that crept across her face and the sigh that followed signaled to me that this doughnut was gonna be great!

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Kaya Toast

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

I cannot stand to throw away food. Whether it’s a half bunch of parsley or or a half-eaten slice of pizza, having perfectly good food tossed in the trash pains me in a very real way. I attribute this compulsion to my mother and grandmother, who forced me to eat every last grain of rice while growing up.

After making a warm coconut rice pudding the other week, I was left with a half can of coconut milk that seemed to stare at me every time I opened the fridge, threatening to go bad at any minute. I could’ve made a Thai curry or soup, but a few measly ounces was not enough, and I wanted to avoid opening up another can of worms, if you know what I mean.

After racking my brain and the Internet for ideas, I found the solution to my coconut milk predicament: Kaya Toast.

Kaya Toast is a popular snack in Singapore and Malaysia comprised of coconut jam sandwiches served with sunny eggs drizzled with soy sauce. I’ve eaten this fabulous sweet and savory creation at a number of restaurants including Susan Feniger’s Street, The Spice Table, and Jitlada, but never considered making it at home until I found this super-easy coconut jam recipe from my friend Sarah.

Sarah’s original recipe calls for a full can of coconut milk, but I scaled down the proportions using simple ratios. After the jam came together, I toasted up some buttered bread, spread on a thick layer of sweetness, and sandwiched everything up nicely. A fried egg with a dash of white pepper and a slick of soy sauce was all that was needed to complete the package.

When life gives you a half can of coconut milk, make Kaya Toast.

  • 13.5 ounces coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Turbinado, granulated, or brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Good quality white bread
  • Eggs
  • White pepper
  • Soy sauce

Prepare coconut jam

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a large saucepan. The jam will bubble and boil intensely as it cooks, so make sure to choose a vessel that is much larger than its contents.

Boil the mixture over medium to medium-high heat until the jam reduces by about half and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.

Kaya Toast | Coconut Jam

Transfer the jam to a bowl and set aside to cool. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.

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Dinner at The Spice Table – Los Angeles (Downtown)

The Spice Table - Los Angeles

My first visit to The Spice Table wasn’t a great one. I came to the restaurant with high expectations and left feeling mostly underwhelmed after a lunch of wings, coleslaw, and Vietnamese sandwiches. Although The Spice Table’s dinner menu is a completely different beast, I didn’t have any desire to try it after my initial introduction.

The Spice Table - Los Angeles

Sometime last December, I received a $50 voucher from the Malaysia Kitchen Los Angeles campaign* to dine at one of their partner restaurants. I selected to return to The Spice Table after skimming the list of eateries participating in the program.

While the voucher wasn’t enough to cover the entire cost of dinner there, it provided me with the incentive that I needed to give the restaurant another try. I was hoping for an altogether better experience this time around.

The Spice Table - Los Angeles

The Astronomer and I bypassed the official Malaysia Restaurant Week menu and chose a suite of dishes that sounded delightful to us. The beef tripe ($10) from the “Satays” portion of the menu was the first to arrive.

Marinated in soy, garlic, and palm sugar, the tripe was impressively tender and surprisingly sweet. While I’ve always had a thing for a tripe, The Astronomer has been more hesitant to open his heart. He declared these skewers to be the best preparation of tripe he’s come across.

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Lunch at The Spice Table – Los Angeles (Downtown)

The Spice Table - Downtown

A glowing review of The Spice Table on Midtown Lunch brought my friend Bill and me to Little Tokyo for a weekday meetup. Vietnamese sandwiches are my passion, and Zach promised “as perfect a banh mi as you would expect to find in, say, Westminster.” High praise from the high priest of midday grubbing, I’d say.

The Spice Table - Downtown

The Spice Table, which opened for business this past March and began serving lunch soon after, is owned by Chef Bryant Ng and his wife Kim. Chef Ng most notably served as the opening chef of Pizzeria Mozza.

The lunchtime menu features Southeast Asian-inspired sandwiches served in a casual atmosphere, while dinner is a full-service affair showcasing the traditional cuisines of Singapore and Vietnam.

The Spice Table - Downtown

After ordering and paying for our food at the counter, Bill and I grabbed a table in the main dining room and sipped our beverages while we waited. He indulged in a glass of red wine ($16), while I chose a bubbly mug of Prosecco ($13). Both pours were stingy as hell, much to our dismay.

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