One of the great things about being in a diverse city like Toronto is that tastes for certain things - be they music or movies or fashions or food - move beyond their cultural origins. At The Mercantile we see this every single day in the number of people who come in to stock up on their harissa paste or Okazu or gojuchang or preserved lemons or pasilla peppers or Mado's sauce who aren't north African or Asian or Latin American or Caribbean. All of these flavours have become part of a common repertoire.
A week or so ago, the folks from a local producer called Bunny Hug came into the store with a product we'd never heard of called Kaya. Its roots are in the colonial era of Singapore/Malaysia when local cooks ventured to approximate the jams and morning toast spreads of British officers using local ingredients.
So think of something like lemon curd in terms of consistency but remove the tartness and replace it with the soft, round, creaminess of coconut and you've got Kaya. It. Is. DELICIOUS!
Now, we can totally see this being overlooked because it's an unfamiliar product and you're not looking for it in the first place and wouldn't know what to do with it if you just stumbled upon it. But we're pretty confident that if you try it you're going to want to keep a jar in the fridge for when you want that sweet comforting piece of toast - or even dolloped on a cracker. We tried it on a salty potato chip and it was fantastic! For now, we're keeping it with the jams and jellies in the cabinet just to your right as you enter the store.
If you're in the neighbourhood tomorrow at 4:00pm, Bunny Hug will be at the Mercantile offering samples so you can see whether you might like to make this taste part of your culinary repertoire.