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The Toast of Kaya
Recently, a rumor infected Facebook like Snooki strutting into La Scala: Chin Mee Chin—a 98-year-old confectionery in Singapore's most laid-back neighborhood, one that shrugs off skylines with acronyms and nestles on its own terms in Straits Chinese architectural splendor—was closing. A rare moment of panic and stress rattled every Peranakan tile in Katong: This is where our grandparents gossiped, where our parents had their first dates, where we read on weekends before being shooed out for lingering.
The rumor was as vicious as C.M.C.'s kaya is legendarily viscous, as a rich, stick-to-your-guts coconut jam perfected by Hainanese cook Mr. Tang when he opened it in 1925. It was also dispelled as quickly as the custard puffs and eclairs sell out straight from the oven. A sigh of relief fluttered down East Coast Road, emanating from C.M.C.'s old-world ceiling fans.
That a humble homemade bun, toasted over charcoal before gobs of kaya are slathered on, could find itself at the center of a diabolical urban legend means it's time for it to go global epic. I'll get lynched in my village for breaking the omerta of our oral pleasures and inviting the world over for the best kaya on earth, but I'll be your Paul Revere of palate patriotism. Just leave things as you find them. As the third generation of aunties who run C.M.C. have. Because on an island where Michelin'd bakers have docked, C.M.C. kaya buns will have their croissants and kouign ammans for breakfast any day.