Today you’ll still find lots of places offering western-like cakes, cupcakes and cookies but it is the places that serve authentic Malaysian sweets that have stolen our hearts. Here are ten of our favourites – ranging from kuihs (desserts usually made from glutinous rice) and fried desserts to specialty pancakes and shaved ice – as well as some of the best places to find them.
A sweet, baked dessert of grated tapioca, coconut milk, palm sugar and pandan-flavoured (screw pine leaves) custard, this sunshine-yellow kuih has a gelatinous texture and a light brown crust of grated coconut. Also called Casanova cake, it is a simple dish that is chewy and not too sweet: we recommend you get a slice from Nyonya Colors, a pop-up restaurant on the lower ground floor of The Gardens, Mid Valley mall.
For something a little bit chewy, try out dodol. Some regard making dodol as a family affair, as it requires a painstaking process of stirring its ingredients (coconut milk, jaggery and rice flour) in a big wok for nine hours non-stop. The end result is a non-stick, thick, deep golden brown delicacy that is usually cut into smaller pieces and wrapped in plastic, and further packed into boxes for easier transportation. Look out for these sweets at the giant local produce Tan Kim Hock if you are ever in Malacca (where you can find weird varieties like durian-flavoured dodol), but if you can’t make your way there, stalls in Pasar Seni will also have boxed-up, homemade dodol.
Kuih ketayap, or kuih dadar, is another local favourite for teatime. A soft, tube-shaped pandan crepe rolled up like a spring roll with sweet grated, dark brown coconut filling in its centre. This snack has Nyonya origins and is usually judged by the amount of its filling – the fatter it is the better! The texture of the crepe varies from stall to stall – some are smooth and flawlessly green due to the use of a non-stick pan when ‘grilling’ the crepe, while others are spotted with groves – either way, this snack is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. We recommend you make your way to La Cucur in Suria KLCC (they also have a branch in KL Sentral) to grab one of these authentic Malay snacks.
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