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Ais Kacang

10 Malaysian Sweets & Desserts You Should Try

Sugar, spice and everything nice!

The sweetmeats and desserts of Malaysia, also known as kuih-muih or manisan locally, cater to the craziest taste buds in Asia, hence they are absolutely unique. Malaysians are extremely thrifty, yet have high expectations of their desserts. Through this almost impossible-to-meet criteria, we have seen a unique craftsmanship that has resulted in affordable and tasty treats. Here’s an eclectic list of kuih-muih and manisan from the melting pot of ethnicities that is Malaysia.

Ais Kacang, literally meaning “ice beans”, also commonly known as ABC (Air Batu Campur, meaning “mixed ice”), incorporates a variety of ingredients over shaved ice and drenched in copious amounts of evaporated milk and a traditional sweetener called Gula Melaka or coconut sugar. Traditionally the dish is served with roasted peanuts, other local legumes, buttered or creamed corn and grass jelly (cincau).

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-18-59-pmAis Batu Campur

However, some local vendors have upped the ante by throwing in nata de coco cubes, adzuki beans, fresh fruit bites, pickled mango slices and even a dollop of ice cream. ABC is a godsend to those who can’t bear the boiling Malaysian weather. If you fancy this mouth-watering dish, check out Uncle Weng Kee’s 55-year-old beverage stall in Petaling Jaya for one of the best servings in Malaysia.

Malaysia is truly a sweet tooth’s paradise. We have some of the most sinfully sweet and colourful desserts. Kuih Lapis is probably one of the most iconic desserts in Malaysia as is impossible to dislike. This rice flour pudding comes in so many tantalising colours, shapes and sizes. The pudding comprises of stacks of sweet multi-coloured layers that have a gooey texture that melts in the mouth. This dessert is so popular that almost any vendor will give you high quality servings across Malaysia.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-20-36-pmKuih Lapis

Pisang Goreng is a traditional banana fritter that is to die for. Best served piping hot, the fried banana dessert is deceptively unappealing in appearance but is bursting with flavour. Made from fresh bananas coated in flour batter, it is fried for a couple of minutes and ready to serve. The sweet and savoury taste with a crunchy exterior and soft mushy interior can bring on unstoppable cases of the munchies. You can’t stop at just one, so be sure to order a couple on the go. Pisang Goreng is really popular all over Malaysia and can be found in any of the night markets and bazaars in any local township.

pisang-gorengPisang Goreng

Ondeh Ondeh is a quintessential local Malay delight that takes the cake (no pun intended) for being the funkiest looking pastry around. Made from either glutinous rice flour or sweet potatoes, the balls are coated with coconut kernel (santan) and hide a sugary brown Gula Melaka surprise right in the middle. Take a bite into one of these and expect the delightful juices inside to squirt out all over the place. Wearing fancy clothes while eating this is not recommended.

ondeh-ondehOndeh Ondeh

The hearts of Malaysians are not easy to win over when it comes to food. But mention Cendol and everyone will melt instantaneously. Cendol is made out of a frenzied mix of shaved ice, palm sugar, Gula Melaka, coconut milk and kidney beans that is sweet and blends mushy and crunchy textures in a heavenly balance. This sweet dessert is a close cousin of Air Batu Campur and can sometimes be found at vendors who sell desserts under the Ais Kacang (shaved ice) family. The best Cendol (highly contested among all vendors) is probably at Penang Road Teochew Chendul, which has been in operation since 1936.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-22-46-pmCendol

Apam Balik is a folded pancake with creamed corn and chopped peanuts. In between is anything thin and crunchy or thick and fluffy. These snacks are the perfect dessert if you need something filling and tasty. Imagine a crisper version of a crumpet with a crunchy interior.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-24-28-pmApam Balik

Putu Mayam is a rice flour dessert served with palm sugar and coconut milk. The best vendors usually cycle around residential areas in makeshift mobile food stalls. This is one traditional South Indian dessert that has been “Malaysianised” and is best had with a spot of chai.

putu-mayamPutu Mayam

Leng Chee Kang will melt away your worries. This traditional dish is served with longan fruits, lotus seeds, dried persimmons, malva nuts and sometimes quail eggs submerged in a beautiful boiled rock sugar broth. The dish can be served hot or chilled with ice cubes and is especially refreshing on a scorching hot day.

leng-chee-kangLeng Chee Kang

Bubur Cha Cha is like Cha Cha Mambo in your mouth … explosive! It is a Malaccan Nyonya sago porridge served with sweet potato chunks and coconut milk. The clever mix of local ingredients transports you to the simple lifestyles of the local Nyonya people in their traditional kampung abodes.

babur-cha-chaBubur Cha Cha

Last, but not least on our list is Ang Ku Kueh. It is the gooiest of gooey desserts that melts in your mouth to reveal a beautifully compacted sweet mung bean and peanut. The glutinous rice flour casing usually comes with intricate traditional Chinese designs that are amazingly detailed.

screen-shot-2016-09-23-at-12-27-18-pmAng Ku Kueh

 

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Hunting Street Food in Teluk Intan

If you’re thinking of visiting Teluk Intan, we recommend adding a gastro adventure to your agenda. Delicious food is not hard to come by and you might just make a friend or two in the process of finding your way to one, or all, of these eateries.

Abdullah Mastan Ghani Mee Rebus Rojak

Mastan Ghani 1

On the outside, this eatery looks like your average Mamak (Indian Muslim) restaurant. But, don’t be fooled! This restaurant serves what is probably the best Mee Rebus (blanched noodles) you will come by. Foodies, we recommend you pop by for a taste of a local favourite that is sure to delight.

Mee Rebus translates to blanched noodles. Yellow noodles, more commonly known as egg noodles, are blanched in hot boiling water and served up with delicious spicy and slightly sweet curry-like sauce. The sauce is made from a variety of ingredients including potatoes, soybeans, shrimps, peanuts, curry powder and vegetables that are puréed together creating an enticing mixture of colours and flavours. The dish is then served with hard boiled eggs, limes, green chilies and fried tofu.

The Mastan Ghani Mamak is well-known to locals for its unique Mee Rebus recipe. Taking advantage of the fact that they are situated by the riverside, they are generous with the seafood served up with each order. The sauce bears a strong prawn flavour and has a thick consistency that will tantalise the taste buds of any seafood lover.

Mastan Ghani 2

This restaurant also boasts other delectable dishes. A personal favourite, the Rojak, a dish that is a mixture of different meats, vegetables and fruits covered in a tangy sauce. For dessert or anyone with a sweet tooth, an order of Ais Kacang that consists of shaved ice with beans, syrup and evaporated milk, is the best compliment to the Mee Rebus or is great on its own on a hot day.

Hawaii Desserts Restaurant

Hawaii 1

This little eatery boasts delicious iced desserts, serving up local Malaysian favourites including the famous Cendol. Made up of rice flour, coconut milk, shaved ice, red beans, grass jelly, palm sugar and a myriad of other ingredients that are added to your preference, this dessert has become an intricate part of Malaysian cuisine. It is quintessential to Malaysia so much so that it has been declared a Malaysian heritage food by the Malaysian Department of National Heritage.

Hawaii 2

Just outside this eatery, a food truck serves up the much-loved Loh Hon Kor; a traditional Chinese herbal dessert that is said to be able to rejuvenate the body and reduces illnesses such as throat inflammation and heat stroke. Made primarily out of crushed Buddha Fruit, Chinese honey dates, dried Longan and water, this drink is a delicious alternative to the bitter traditional remedies that are usually offered at Chinese medicine halls. It can be consumed either hot or cold depending on the individual. The servers here are quick, friendly and are more than happy to chat with patrons about the history of the town.

M.Gulam Rasul

Gulam Rasul 1

M.Gulam Rasul is a little Indian Muslim eatery, famous for its Nasi Kandar. A popular northern Malaysian dish that has roots in Penang, Nasi Kandar is a dish made up of white rice or biryani rice, served with a variety of different meats, vegetables and curries. These dishes generally have a powerful and distinctive aroma and taste. The best way to have it is with a flood of mixed curry poured onto the entire plate of rice. This gives the food a taste so diverse and so flavourful, you will keep coming back for more.

Although the restaurant is self-service, there is always an employee around that can explain the dishes to patrons and give some expert advise on the best combinations to try. They are also quick to point out the spicy dishes to patrons so those with sensitive palates won’t be left in tears.

Gulam Rasul 2

A must try is the Ayam Goreng Berempah (spiced fried chicken) with its flavourful and crispy layer of spice covered skin, it’s a twist on fried chicken that locals love. The restaurant itself offers a huge variety of dishes, encompassing a wide range of flavours. Patrons can choose to mix and match their favourites or try dishes that are new to them. Even though the eatery has ample space, the restaurant does get crowded around lunch hour, emphasizing its popularity with both the locals and visitors.

Malindo Apom Balik

Malindo 1

Apam Balik is a traditional Malaysian dessert which translates to turnover pancakes or griddle pancakes. This dish is made up of a mixture of flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, coconut milk and water to create a pancake consistency. It is then topped with many other ingredients such as sweet corn, peanut granules, cheese, chocolate or other ingredient making this dessert a dynamic masterpiece.

The Malindo Apom Balik stall is located right beside The Leaning Tower of Teluk Intan and is popular with both locals and tourists. Unsurprisingly you will find a queue of people by the stall waiting to get a taste this sweet treat.

Malindo 2

Malindo’s Apom Balik is available in two forms; thick and soft or thin and crispy. This thick Apam is large and usually cut into 4 bite size pieces. The slightly sweet taste from the pancake batter, the crunchiness of peanuts and the sweetness of the corn and sugar makes for a tasty treat. Unlike the thick Apam Balik which is soft and doughy throughout, the thin and crispy variety is smaller in size and provides a lighter more diet friendly portion.

If you’re out exploring the city, a quick stop at any of these eateries will provide you with a delectable meal and ample energy to take in as much of the sights as possible.

To see just how tantalising Teluk Intan’s food is, check out this video:

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