Ais Kacang is also known as Air Batu Campur (ABC). It is one of the most famous desserts in Malaysia. It is a cheap, sweet and refreshing dessert that is best consumed during hot, sunny days.
The dish is called by different names overseas and is available in countries such as Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan.
What is Ais Kacang (ABC)?
Ais Kacang literally means ice beans, “Air Batu” means ice while “campur” means mixed. Ais Kacang consists of a mound of finely shaved ice sweetened with sweet flavoured syrups such as concentrated brown sugar syrup (“Gula Melaka”), rose syrup, and evaporated milk.
It is mixed with various ingredients to enhance the flavours namely, roasted peanuts, red beans, “cendol” (worm-like jelly strands made from a combination of green pea flour and glutinous rice flour), basil seeds, grass jelly, and creamed corns.
Certain stalls also add coconut flesh, coconut milk, fresh fruit slices, and Nata de Coco to give it a unique and flavourful taste. Sometimes, some vendors add their own twist by putting on a scoop of ice cream as a finishing touch which makes it absolutely sinful and perfect on a hot, humid day in Malaysia.
History of Ais Kacang
This dessert was based on the shaved ice dessert in Japan. Traditionally, it was only made with shaved ice and red beans, though throughout the years the dessert has evolved and modern recipes use various ingredients. Today, Ais Kacang generally comes in bright colours with different ingredients and dressings based on one’s preference.
It has come a long way since it was first introduced in the country. The shaved ice was made by a hand-cranked ice machine which was operated manually by the vendor. Now, most stalls use a convenient, motorised machine to shave ice.
Is Ais Kacang Popular in Asia?
Readers are able to find Ais Kacang overseas in countries sush as Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Japan. In Singapore and Brunei, it is referred by the same name, Ais Kacang. In the Philippines, it is called “halo-halo”.
It is a concoction of crushed ice, evaporated milk, and various ingredients such as sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago, fruit slices, and topped with a scoop of ice cream. Then, the Red Ruby dessert in Thailand is another variation of the dessert, which has cubes of sweet red chestnuts smothered with creamy coconut milk and topped with shaved ice.
For Indonesia, they have “es kacang” which has similar ingredients as that of Malaysian ABC but with some additions ranging from tapioca pearls, avocado, coconut flesh, and depending on the season, durian.
Last but not least, the Japanese had long established their version of a green tea, ice-blended mix they called kakigori, which also comes in other flavours. So indeed, ABC is more popularised than one would think.
Where to find Ais Kacang in Malaysia?
This mixed ice dessert is can be found at a roadside stall and even in high-class restaurants.
The majority of restaurants in Malaysia serve Ais Kacang. Jalan Dewa Ice Kacang No 30 (Sungai Petani) serves original Ais Kacang, or you can order a variety of Ais Kacang at Rojak N Cendol Padang (Ipoh). Find more local desserts on foodpanda!