Every city has its special attractions, iconic landmarks, unique appeal and of course, its own delightful cuisine. Joining this rank of must-see, must-try is the amazingly wonderful desserts, cakes and sweetmeats that showcase the local culinary arts and the skills required to make these mouth-watering morsels.
Words & food styling: R.Rajendra Photography: Adam Lee
Every city has its special attractions, iconic landmarks, unique appeal and of course, its own delightful cuisine. Joining this rank of must-see, must-try is the amazingly wonderful desserts, cakes and sweetmeats that showcase the local culinary arts and the skills required to make these mouth-watering morsels. But let’s not kid ourselves. We love our desserts and these sinfully rich, gooey and sticky cakes and sweets simply make for a memorable holiday! We asked our AirAsia Allstars to tell us about the best dessert from their home cities and here’s what they had to say! So, the next time you visit their home cities, make sure you savour the sweets too!
A dense and fragrant cake that looks a little like the bibingka from Sri Lanka and Philippines, this is a very popular Malay cake that is best cooked over embers for that smoky aroma. Rich with eggs and coconut cream and fragrant with pandan (screwpine) leaf extract that also lends the cake its green colour, this is a perennial favourite enjoyed with a cup of tea. At times called Kuih Kemboja, the top and bottom of the cake is always left to brown a little more for contrasting texture and flavour. Traditionally, the cake is baked in a brass mould shaped like a large flower over charcoal but using any metal or heatproof glass mould in a modern oven will yield good results too. A little sprinkling of sesame on top of the cake adds a pretty touch and nutty crunch. It’s easily available and almost every Malay kuih (cakes) seller will sell this simple but rich cake. Try making it yourself with this recipe at http://liling2000.blogsot.com
“This is my favourite Malay kuih that’s delicious and fragrant with pandan leaf extract. It’s also very easy to make and you can change the flavours from pandan to cream of corn, sesame seed paste or muscovado sugar for a deeply rich sweet cake.”~ Shirene Moong, New Media Executive, AirAsia Berhad
Sticky Rice with Mango
This is a foolproof dessert with a clever play on taste, texture, flavour and aroma. Although Thailand has loads of delicious and intricate desserts, the simple sticky rice with mango reigns supreme as a simple but satisfying dessert. Called Khao Niaow Ma Muang, the steamed glutinous rice is mixed with a little sugar, salt and coconut cream before being served with generous helping of sliced mangoes, lashings of thickened coconut cream and a sprinkling of crushed mung beans. It’s best eaten when the rice warm and the mango cold. Try using mangoes that are fully ripe but firm and with a slight tartness to it. The coconut cream topping is optional as the rice is already rich.
“The Thai people are very adept at creating exquisite desserts and they always find ways to incorporate fresh fruits into their dishes. This dessert is very simple to make but the rich and fragrant rice is beautifully complemented by the tart mango slices, making it quite difficult to stop once you start eating it.”~Thanit Thanathanmanont, Revenue Manager, AirAsia Thailand