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Nyonya Kueh

Nyonya Kueh are traditional Straits Chinese delicacies which are bite-sized desserts or cakes. The Straits Chinese ladies (or Nyonya) have long been famed for their culinary prowess which harmoniously blends Chinese, Malay, Indian and Thai cooking influences which also extended to their dessert repertoire which relies heavily on coconut cream, pandan (screwpine) leaves and brown palm sugar.

There is a colorful array of kueh that is sold in Penang, each unique delicacy of its own. Here are some of the more popular selections of kueh that can be purchased from street vendors. See if you can match them to the image:

  • Kueh Lapis – a nine layered cake which is painstakingly made layer upon layer, each  layer alternating between white and pink and topped with an orange layer.
  • Kueh Bengka – the purple version is made from yam while the light yellow version is made from tapioca. These are baked to form its brown crusty edges.
  • Kueh Talam – this is a bi-colored green and white coloured cake. The green custard-like layer is made with green pea flour and fragrant pandan juice extracts while the creamy white layer is made with coconut milk.
  • Kueh Serimuka – This green and white kueh looks similar to Kueh Talam but is white layer is made primarily of glutinous rice.
  • Pulut Tekan – this marbleized white and blue confection is made with “pulut” (glutinuous rice), which lovely blue colouring is from the natural extract of the Bunga Kacang Telang or Blue Pea flower (Clitoria Ternatea). It is best eaten with kaya, a rich flavorful coconut jam.
  • Ondeh-ondeh – a green ball-like kueh made with rice flour and extract of pandan leaves which is covered with desiccated coconut. It is filled with palm sugar which gives an explosion of sweetness in your mouth!
  • Kueh Rempah Udang – a harmonious marriage of sweet, savoury and spicy in a little kueh. This delicacy is made from glutinous rice and is topped with a mixture of grated coconut, diced shallots and finely chopped prawns, all wrapped in a banana leaf.

Expect to pay under RM 1 per piece of kueh.

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