Beyond anything else, Penang is known to be a food paradise with some of the best street food in Southeast Asia (we may be biased). Even tourists would have heard of the famous Hokkien Mee, Penang Char Koay Teow and Curry Mee.
So much has been said and written about Penang’s amazing street food but what most people may not be aware of, are the different local desserts they can find in Penang as well. Aside from the well-known Cendol, there is still an array of sweet treats to try when you are there.
For all you sweet tooths out there who are visiting Penang soon, here are 9 Local Desserts In Penang You Must Try.
#1 AIS TINGKAP
Yes, this will probably remind you of our Bandung—a drink made with rose cordial syrup. The Ais Tingkap bears a similar resemblance with its rose-coloured syrup and it carries hints of flavours from various herbs and spices. One would normally find coconut flesh and basil seeds in this beverage.
Ais Tingkap, or known as Window Sherbet, derived its name in the 1930s when it was first sold through a window.
#2 AIYU JELLY
Aiyu jelly can be found in many roadside or hawker centre dessert stalls. When you re perspiring in the hot weather, nothing much beats a bowl of this icy treat to cool you off. the dessert boasts both sweet and sour tones from the sugar syrup and squeezed lemon drops. Slurp up the silky smooth transparent jelly and shaved ice.
#3 APOM BALIK
Apom Balik is a nostalgic snack for many locals who grew up eating this delightful treat sold at roadside mobile stalls. Only simple ingredients are used to make this fluffy pancake—flour, sugar, eggs, butter and tasty toppings such as peanut butter, ham and corn. Many people love to sink their teen into the pancake’s pillowy surface.
#4 APOM MANIS
Not to be confused with Apom Balik, Apom Manis is a paper-thin pancake that is comparable to the French crepes. The flour batter is poured into flat pans to form its shape and the end result is a soft middle with crispy edges surrounding it. Most people have it plain, without the addition of toppings!
If there is a dessert on this list that needs no further introduction, that would be the Cendol. In fact, Cendol is so iconic that most people would not dream of leaving Penang without trying it first! Comprising shaved ice, coconut milk, gula melaka and stripes of green jelly, this flavourful dessert has won the hearts of locals and travellers.
Those who are in Penang have to make a trip to Lebuh Keng Kwee, as that stretch of road is home to two street Cendol stalls with over 60 years of history and are touted as the best in Penang.
#6 ICE KACHANG WITH ICE CREAM
It is not surprising that Singaporeans and Malaysians share a common love for ice kachang. For something that is not that ordinary, you have to visit Penang’s most famous ice kachang stall at Swatow Lane.
Originally from a stall at New World Park food court, Lee Brothers’ Ais Kacang now has its own shopfront and loyal customers are more than happy to patronise their new outlet. What you can expect from their ice kachang is a mountain of shaved ice filled with copious amounts of toppings in the likes of red bean, corn, jelly, evaporated milk and the best part—ice cream!
#7 NYONYA KUEH
Nyonya Kuehs are bite-sized delights that are great for snacking. What makes Nyonya Kueh so appealing is their multitude of bright colours which captures your attention immediately.
There are so many different types of Nyonya Kuehs including Kueh Talam, Kuih Bengka-Ubi and Pulut Tai-Tai. Those who are more adventurous can try something unique such as Rempah Udang (glutinous rice dumplings with shrimp filling) and Abuk Abuk (made of sago pearls, gula melaka and grated coconut)
#8 PUTU MAYONG
Similar to Putu Mayam in Singapore, Putu Mayong is essentially Indian-style steamed rice vermicelli cake. Try this delectable snack at Joe’s Putu Mayong and Putu Piring food truck in Penang. Every day, the vendors pipe moist pandan rice vermicelli on woven rattan baskets and leave them to dry.
Every day, the vendors pipe moist pandan rice vermicelli on woven rattan baskets and leave them to dry. Pair the Putu Mayong with brown sugar and grated coconut to enhance the taste!
#9 TONG SUI
Another favourite among Chinese in Malaysia, Tong Sui is loosely translated to as “sugar water” in English. There is an unbeatable range of choices when it comes to this Cantonese-style dessert that can be served either hot or cold.
A warm bowl of tau suan or sweet papaya and white fungus is great for curing hangovers while those who are looking for something to beat the heat can consider cheng tng (a type of sweet clear soup) instead.