50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should Know

Know what’s sweet about Malaysia’s desserts, teatime treats and snacks? Here are 50 you should know!

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

1. AIS KACANG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During warm weather
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

Ais kacang is a beloved Malaysian dessert traditionally made from shaved ice with colored syrup and toppings such as red beans, peanuts, agar agar and atap chee. Sold along the streets, food courts and even restaurants, you can even find variations with ice cream, chocolate, local fruits or jelly!

2. PISANG GORENG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Hot, for tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, pisang goreng or deep-fried banana fritters is a popular snack you can find in street stalls across Malaysia.

3. CENDOL

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During warm weather
Usually made by: Indians

Cendol is a sweet and icy dessert consisting of pandan and coconut jelly noodles, red beans, coconut milk and palm sugar.

Declared a Malaysian heritage food by the Malaysian Department of National Heritage, this refreshing tea time snack is super effective against the country’s hot climate!

Book a Heritage Food and Tea Trail in Penang.

4. APAM BALIK

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For breakfast or tea
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

This light and sweet pancake is traditionally filled with peanuts, sweetcorn and sugar. Now and then, you may find modern versions with chocolate sprinkles and cheese.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

5. PUTU MAYAM

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For breakfast or tea
Usually made by: Indians

Putu Mayam is a common street food made by micxing flour with coconut milk or water, then pushed through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. It is then steamed, then served with gula Melaka (palm sugar).

6. LENG CHEE KANG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a refreshing drink
Usually made by: Chinese

Simple yet satisfying on a hot day, Leng Chee Kang or Lotus Seed Soup contains lotus seed, longan, lily bulbs and ginkgo nuts in a soup sweetened by rock sugar.

7. BUBUR CHA CHA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Hot or cold
Usually made by: Peranakan

Bubur Cha Cha is a popular Nyonya dessert with taro, sweet potatoes, yam and bananas in a coconut based soup. These ingredients provide natural coloring that makes the dessert vibrant and visually appetizing. Sometimes other tropical fruits may be used.

8. ANG KU KUEH

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During CNY and auspicious celebrations
Usually made by: Chinese and Peranakan

Literally translated to “Red Tortoise Cake” in Hokkien, this mini pastry commonly makes an appearance during Chinese New Year or auspicious celebrations. Its tortoise-like shape is a symbol of longevity and prosperity. While its traditionally in red, this cake can come in other colors.

9. ONDEH ONDEH

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea
Usually made by: Malays and Peranakan

Pop this little Malaysia kuih into your mouth and you’ll enjoy the “pop” of syrupy sweetness! The pandan-infused glutinous rice batter is filled with gula melaka, then rolled into balls and rolled onto freshly grated coconut.

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10. KUIH BANGKIT

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Chinese New Year or Hari Raya
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

Festive seasons would not be the same without that light, milky and melt-in-your-mouth magic of Kuih Bangkit, or tapioca cookies.

11. KUIH LAPIS

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

Literally meaning “layered cake” in Malay, this multi-layered pudding is made from rice flour, sago and coconut milk.

12. KUIH TALAM

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays and Peranakan

This two-layer Nyonya kuih consists of a white coconut milk layer and a pandan bottom layer.

13. KUIH ROS

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Chinese New Year or Hari Raya
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

This delicate rose-shaped cookie is made using a special mould, whereby batter is poured into it and dipped into oil. These cookies usually make a blooming appearance during festive seasons.

14. KUIH SERI MUKA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Not to be confused with Kuih Talam, the two-layered Kuih Seri Muka comprises coconut milk with glutinous rice on one side, and luscious pandan custard layer on the other. It is usually steamed in a huge pan, then sliced into dainty, bite-sized pieces.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

15. EGG TARTS

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Warm and freshly baked
Usually made by: Chinese

While egg tarts are more famous in Hong Kong and Portugal, these traditional egg custard pastries are a hit in Malaysia. You can find egg tarts in many dim sum stalls.

Book an experience at Melaka’s traditional hidden gems and have handmade dim sum. 

16. TANG YUAN

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Winter Solstice Festival or reunions
Usually made by: Chinese

Tang Yuan is a warm dessert with glutinous rice balls in sweet ginger syrup. Although they are traditionally eaten during Winter Solstice Festival, Tang Yuan are also made to celebrate reunions, as the name is a homophone for “union”. It is said that you should eat the number of balls according to your age each time, although we can’t imagine eating that much even in your 20s!

17. PEANUT PUFFS

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Chinese New Year
Usually made by: Chinese

Peanut puffs resemble curry puffs, only stuffed with sweet peanuts within the crunchy pastry. As peanuts are a symbol of abundance and wealth, these mini delights are sold during Chinese New Year.

18. PINEAPPLE TARTS

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Chinese New Year
Usually made by: Chinese

The mere sight of these sweet pineapple tarts are a sign that Chinese New Year is around the corner. Fresh pineapple is grated and slowly caramelised before being wrapped in a rich, buttery pastry.

19. Huat Kueh

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a snack or after ceremonies
Usually made by: Chinese

Huat Kueh or Fatt Gao is often placed in temples as offerings due to their ability to last longer than other cakes. It also stands for “Prosperity Cakes” in Chinese. Made with rice flour and leavener, it has a slightly fermented taste and sticky texture. Modern ones are infused with brown sugar for an extra kick, like the bakery in Sungai Lima.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

20. KUIH BINGKA UBI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays and Peranakan

Chewy and aromatic, Kuih Bingka Ubi is rich with tapioca and coconut milk. And the best part? The crispy brown edges!

21. KUIH KOCI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays and Peranakan

A combination of black glutinous rice flour, stuffed with grated coconut and palm sugar, this cone-shaped dessert is wrapped in banana leaf and steamed to perfection.

22. KUIH KETAYAP

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Another one for sweet tooths! Kuih Ketayap has the classic Asian blend of pandan, rice flour, grated coconut and palm sugar. Only it is cooked pancake style, then rolled up like a popiah or tortilla.

23. TONG SUI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a refreshing drink or dessert
Usually made by: Chinese

Tong Sui or “sugar water” can collectively mean any sweet soup served as a dessert at the end of a meal. In Malaysia, you can order them as a drink, or anytime you fancy!

24. PULUT INTI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Peranakan

Unwrap this little kuih and you will see a petite scoop of steamed glutinous rice, topped with sweet coconut filling.

25. TAU FU FAR

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Warm or cold
Usually made by: Chinese

Silky soft soybean pudding – perfect when you crave for something light and refreshing. In Malaysia, you can have it with a scoop of sweet syrup or gula melaka, as well as have it served hot or cold. If you are in Bentong, do have a bowl of this as the town is famed for its homemade soybean products. Read about Bentong, Malaysia’s hidden food gem. 

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

26. SAGO GULA MELAKA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Peranakan

It’s surprisingly simple to make Sago Gula Melaka – sago pearls drenched in coconut milk and palm sugar. And it tastes delightful in spite of that!

27. DODOL

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Hari Raya
Usually made by: Malays

This toffee-like candy is sweet, sticky and has a texture similar to jelly. These days, dodol can come in different flavours including durian, apple and jackfruit.

28. KUIH BAKAR

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Fragrant, dense and sweet, blended pandan and coconut milk is baked into the creamy kuih bakar, then sprinkled with sesame seeds.

29. PULUT HITAM

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Warm, as a snack or dessert
Usually made by: Malays and Peranakan

Pulut Hitam is common in many Nyonya households. This creamy glutinous rice porridge in coconut milk can be time-consuming to make (as it requires soaking the rice overnight and watching it cook continuously) but the outcome is satisfying!

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

30. BAHULU

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For breakfast, during festive seasons
Usually made by: Malays and Chinese

There’s nothing like dipping a kuih bahulu in a cup of coffee for breakfast! The light, crispy and sweet bahulu is a staple during Hari Raya and Chinese New Year, and can come in various adorable shapes and sizes.

31. PULUT TAI TAI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or dessert
Usually made by: Peranakan

Enticing blue color and a dollop of kaya on the side – no points for guessing why Pulut Tai Tai is a popular Peranakan kuih. The blue hue is achieved by steaming butterfly pea flowers with glutinous rice, giving it an elegant look!

32. MOONCAKE

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Mooncake Festival
Usually made by: Chinese

This is one of the few traditional cakes that has evolved with the times. Classic mooncake is round like a moon and filled with lotus paste and egg yolk. Nowadays, you can find mooncakes with non-baked snow skin, nuts or modern fillings like chocolate and ice cream! Mooncakes are seasonal so don’t expect to find them anytime other than around August to September.

33. CEMPEDAK GORENG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Hot, for tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

If you’ve had enough of pisang goreng, give the equally sweet cempedak goreng a try. Cempedak is a tropical fruit similar to jackfruit or breadfruit, with a fibrous and smooth texture.

34. KEK LAPIS SARAWAK

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

There is no leaving Sarawak without getting your hands into kek lapis. This intensely rich cake is baked layer by layer, which explains the high pricing, but it makes a satisfying teatime snack. Specialised bakeries in Sarawak sell them in all sorts of colors and patterns.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

35. RED BEAN SOUP

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a snack or dessert
Usually made by: Chinese

Red Bean Soup is a childhood dessert for most Chinese families. The star of this sweet soup is obviously red beans, while other recipes might call for additional ingredients like barley and gingko nuts.

36. SWEET POTATO & GINGER SOUP

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Hot, as a dessert
Usually made by: Chinese

This simple dessert soup is exactly what it says it is – sweet potato chunks in a ginger and pandan leaf broth, sweetened to taste. It’s a great comfort food that warms the stomach.

37. PAYASAM

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Hot or cold
Usually made by: Indians

Payasam is a rice pudding made by boiling rice, vermicelli or tapioca with milk, sugar and additional ingredients such as nuts, raisins and cardamoms. It is also popular during Muslim festivals and weddings.

Book a seat on the Royal Klang Walking Tour to visit Little India and try Indian snacks.

38. GULAB JAMUN

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a dessert
Usually made by: Indians

The ever popular Gulab Jamun is prepared by heating milk into milk solids, shaping them into balls and dousing them in a sugary syrup. Most Indian restaurants would have this on their menu.

39. JHANGIRI

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During Deepavali, or auspicious celebrations
Usually made by: Indians

Tasting as sweet as it looks, Jhangiri is a flower-shaped dessert with a small ring in the middle, like a doughnut. After the batter is fried, it is drizzled with sugary syrup, and served during joyous occasions.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

40. LADDU

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: During festive or religious celebrations
Usually made by: Indians

In Indian culture, Laddu is a traditional delicacy you can find at weddings, parties and other occasions worth celebrating. It is typically made from flour, minced dough and sugar

41. HALWA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a snack or dessert
Usually made by: Indians

Halwa is a range of rice and sweet confections, which are either flour-based or nut butter-based. Visit any traditional Indian bakery and you can see the many different kind of halwa displayed in the glass boxes.

Book a seat on the Royal Klang Walking Tour to visit Little India and try Indian snacks.

42. AKOK

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Akok is a traditional cake popular in states along the East Coast, like Kelantan and Terengganu. The round pastry is baked in a special copper pan, surrounded by charcoal for a smoky fragrance.

43. CEKEDOK

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Cekedok, or jemput-jemput, essentially refers to deep-fried bananas, prawns, onions or corn.

44. TEPUNG PELITA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Commonly found in Kelantan, Tepung Pelita has a custard-like top made from coconut milk and sugar, and a firmer base of rice flour, wrapped in banana leaf.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

45. KUIH SAGU

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

The soft, chewy Kuih Sagu is a simple snack made from tapioca pearls and coated with coconut gratings.

46. BUBUR KACANG DURIAN

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: As a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Durian lovers would probably enjoy this dessert. The pungent tropical fruit is added into green bean porridge, and can be taken cold or hot.

Book a durian tour in Bentong, Pahang. 

47. CEK MEK MOLEK

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

In Kelantan, Cek Mek Molek means “beautiful lady”. Most of the time, this sweet potato dessert is added with sugar, although you can also find savoury versions with serunding fillings.

48. KUIH KERIA

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: For tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

Resembling a doughnut, this sweet potato pastry is typically coated with sugar or sugary syrup.

49. LEMPENG PISANG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Warm, for breakfast or tea
Usually made by: Malays

Believe it or not, Malaysia has its own version of banana pancake! The difference? Lempeng Pisang is cooked in banana leaf, allowing that subtle, sweet aroma to seep through.

50. LEPAT PISANG

50 Desserts in Malaysia You Should KnowBest taken: Warm, tea or as a snack
Usually made by: Malays

If you can’t get enough for bananas, then try lepat pisang, or the steamed banana packet. Mashed bananas are mixed with sugar, then wrapped in banana leaf and steamed.

Discover Malaysian food experiences with LokaLocal.

Images compiled by Azfar Rosehaizat
Words by Rachael Lum

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Kuih ros is a type of muruku that’s made by the Indians during Deepavali. It’s origin traces back to India centuries ago.

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