“Stressed is desserts spelt backwards.”
Now it makes perfect sense when some people say that there is not a problem a proper dessert couldn’t fix. So, if you are not quite in a good mood or feeling demotivated, fret not as today is National Dessert Day. National Dessert Day is celebrated every October 14 annually.
Everyone has his or her secret indulgent food and for someone who has an incredible sweet tooth for dessert, today is your cheat day! Before we indulge in the wide selection of delectable desserts, let us take a moment to learn the reason and history behind this food holiday.
History of National Desert Day
It is uncertain when and why National dessert Day began in the United States, but there is no reason for us not to celebrate this sweetest holiday. One thing for sure, we all know how dessert came into existence.
The word dessert comes from the French word, desservir, which means “to clear the table”. It is a meal that was served after all the other dishes had been collected from the table. Around the 15th century, it was common for chefs to add a lot of sugar to their savoury dishes, which explains why dessert is closely associated with sweet treats.
Dating back to the ancient Mesopotamia and India civilisation, sweets were made as offerings to the gods. At that time, dried fruits and honey were among the earliest natural sweeteners used, but the spread of sugarcane has contributed significantly to the development of dessert, as we see it today.
During the Middle Ages, the Europeans started to manufacture sugar, making more sweet desserts became available. However, sugar was considered luxury at that time and desserts could only be indulged by the wealthy and aristocrats. Today, however, dessert is a dish for the masses and can be enjoyed by many, regardless of social standing.
In Malaysia, no matter what the conversation is, you will eventually end up talking about food at some point. Being the melting pot of food and cultures, Malaysia is well known for our sheer variety of dishes, beverages and desserts.
Malaysian cuisine consists of different cooking tradition and practices that reflect our multiracial population. Malaysian confectionery desserts include cakes, biscuits, custards and puddings, jellied desserts, sweet soups – the list goes on and on.
Today, let us focus on some of the desserts that will satisfy your craving and sweet tooth. Brace yourself as there will be plenty of coconut milk and sugar mentions in this list. We Malaysians and our sugar are inseparable!
This dessert requires no further introduction and often considered the official dessert of Malaysia. The green pandan flavoured cendol jellies are the main ingredient of this dessert, and it is usually prepared using coconut milk, melted gula Melaka, kidney beans and a mountain of shaved ice.
This thirst-quenching dessert is a delight to indulge in, especially during a hot summer afternoon. In some stalls, you can find an elevated version of cendol that comes with glutinous rice, jackfruit or durian. Cendol jellies, glutinous rice and durian, all in one bowl, you can’t get any more Malaysian than that.
2. Ais Kacang or ABC (Air Batu Campur)
Ais kacang is another icy dessert that is great for you to indulge in at any time of the day. Ais kacang, or known as ABC, means mixed ice and usually comes with kidney beans, sweet corn, an assortment of jellies, evaporated milk, rose syrup, melted gula Melaka, roasted peanuts and topped with shaved ice.
Ais kacang is commonly available in most hawker centres, street vendors and food courts. With ais kacang, you are free to choose any toppings according to your likings.
3. Nyonya Kuih
Nyonya kuih is undoubtedly the best types of kuih in Malaysia. Kuih is a Malay word that used to describe traditional cakes. The Nyonya kuih has a wide variety of selections, and they vary according to the locality and family recipes. The Nyonyas in Melaka and Penang have their variations of some of the kuih, but we can all agree that they all taste delicious.
Some of the most popular Nyonya kuih are kuih serimuka (a layer of coconut pandan jelly over sticky glutinous rice), pulut tekan (glutinous rice served with kaya), kuih bingka and kuih angku. These kuih are usually eaten as tea time snack and go perfectly well with your Earl Grey tea.
4. Kek Lapis Sarawak
This dessert brings us across the South China Sea to Sarawak. Kek Lapis Sarawak or Sarawak Layer Cake is prepared by grilling one layer at a time, building up to a complete cake. Among the famous Kek Lapis are Kek Sisik Ikan (Fish Scale Cake), Kek Lumut, Kek Belacan (fret not, it’s not shrimp paste) and many other variations that include almond, chocolate, oreo, green tea, cheese and berries.
5. Apam Balik
Apam Balik is a type of pancake, and there are two types of Apam Balik; the thick and the thin Apam Balik. You can easily find Apam Balik in many night markets in Malaysia with various fillings and sizes.
The thick Apam Balik is Malay in origin and has a soft texture and stuffed with fillings of crushed peanuts honey and sweet corn, while the thin Apam Balik has a Chinese root and filled with crushed peanuts, bananas, chocolate, etc. They make a great dessert or high tea snack to compliment your cup of tea or coffee.
On this National Dessert Day, go out with your friends and family and try some of the best Malaysian desserts or any other options to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can always log on to foodpanda and browse through our selection of bakeries and eateries that serve desserts and have the sweetness delivered straight to your doorstep.