Which kaya should I get?

All of them!
OK, that’s a lot of kaya to eat, so here’s some help in trying to decide. Whichever you decide to go for, you can rest assured that you’ll get the same quality and attention to detail in all my kaya!

Pandan Kaya: 3 Star Award-Winning

This is the original recipe pandan kaya, with its distinctive green hue and pandan flavour. Pandan has often been described as the Asian vanilla, but with a fresher, slightly grassier flavour. This kaya was awarded a coveted 3 stars at the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Awards 2021.

Get this one if: You like pandan, or you’ve never tried pandan before. Or if you want to taste the original recipe, or see why this has won the award – so many reasons to go for this one!
Don’t get this one if: You’re not a fan of pandan – some people don’t enjoy the grassy flavour.

Pandan Zero Kaya: The Sugar-Free Option

Exactly the same as the original Pandan Kaya, except that it’s sugar free (the sugar has been replaced with xylitol). The original pandan kaya uses golden caster sugar, which does give the original a slightly buttery finish, and folks with a very sensitive palate might detect a hint of an aftertaste from the xylitol, but this is barely noticeable.

Get this one if: You are calorie-counting (xylitol has 40% fewer calories than sugar, alongside benefits for dental health), or you just prefer xylitol for any reason.
Don’t get this one if: You have an incredibly sensitive palate or are not a fan of xylitol. Or if you are going to eat the entire jar in one sitting – excessive consumption of xylitol can have laxative effects.

Gula Melaka Kaya: Fine Food Digest Editors’ Choice

Named after the state of Malacca in Malaysia, gula melaka is sugar made from the nectar of the coconut flower, and is a form of palm sugar used widely throughout Malaysia. It has a rich, intense flavour of coconut and a deep brown caramel colour which it lends to this particular variety of kaya.

Get this one if: You really like coconut, or want something more intensely flavoured than pandan.
Don’t get this one if: You prefer something more subtly flavoured – the pandan or ube may be more to your liking.

Ube Kaya: The Vegan Option

Ube (not to be confused with taro) is Filipino purple yam, and lends its vibrant purple hue and mildly earthy flavour to this variety of kaya. I’ve made this kaya using aquafaba instead of eggs and you will find that this is a kaya that is fantastic in its own right, and not on the menu just because I wanted to jump on the vegan bandwagon – it wouldn’t actually work with eggs.

Get this one if: You are vegan, or you want a more subtly flavoured kaya. This one has the lowest percentage of sugar and has a sweet-savoury flavour profile. Or if you really like purple.
Don’t get this one if: You’re allergic to chickpeas, or the colour purple.

Rum Kaya: For Special Occasions

This was a flavour developed togetther with my friend Ping Coombes, MasterChef Champion 2014. It’s a Malaysian childhood all grown up, sipping cocktails by the beach, watching people go by. It’s made by blending kaya with award-winning Aluna Coconut Rum, and is a flavour marriage made in heaven.

Get this one if: You are after something with a bit of wow factor, a celebratory kaya.
Don’t get this one if: You don’t consume alcohol.

Durian Kaya – Musang King

Durian is notorious for its pungent aroma, and is incredibly divisive – you will either love it or hate it. Despite this, it is known as the King of Fruit across South-East Asia.

If you have never tried durian before, durian kaya is a nice, gentle way of experiencing the fruit.

I chose to make single-variety durian kaya because each variety has its own flavour profile – and I wanted to help drive that conversation that it is more than just “the smelly fruit” – good durians can be incredibly complex in flavour and have been known to fetch thousands of pounds at auction.

The range of durian kaya is best enjoyed as a trio – so you can compare the different flavour profiles and decide which one you enjoy most. But if you are only going to get one durian kaya, this is probably the one to go for, and is an excellent baseline representation.

Get this one if: You have never tried durian before, or can’t decide on which durian kaya to get
Don’t get this one if: You know you don’t like durian (but give it a chance, this might change your mind!)

Durian Kaya – Blackthorn

Blackthorn is a relative newcomer to the durian scene, but is fast rising in popularity, and for good reason. Compared to Musang King, this has a more complex flavour that will keep developing on your palate long after you’ve finished the mouthful. This one’s actually my favourite of the three durian kayas but shh – don’t tell the others!

Get this one if: You’re a fan of complex flavours, or you want to try something new.
Don’t get this one if: You know you don’t like durian (but give it a chance, this might change your mind!)

Durian Kaya – Red Prawn

The red prawn durian has a sweeter, almost caramel-like finish when compared with both the Musang King and the Blackthorn. This may be a better durian kaya for absolute beginners to durian – from feedback I’ve received, children seem to enjoy this one best of the three!

Get this one if: You prefer your durian to be on the sweet side, rather than to have the bittersweet balance
Don’t get this one if: You know you don’t like durian (but give it a chance, this might change your mind!)

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