Hitting The Sweet Spot
You’ve seen colourful kuih everywhere, but do you know what they are?
There’s never a bad time to have a piece of kuih (or two, or three). you can have kuih at any time from breakfast to supper, find them everywhere from hawker stalls to silver buffet trays, and eat them while sipping kopi o (black coffee, no milk) or teh tarik (pulled tea). They come savoury and sweet, steamed and fried, filled and plain; there are so many types that there’s bound to be a kuih for everyone. Alternative spellings for the Malay word kuih include kue (Indonesia) and kueh in the Hokkien dialect, most often used in Singapore. It’s also synonymous with the Chinese character糕 ( gao). So many variations for a word that basically means ‘cake’; over the years, however, kuih has grown to encompass most types of desserts including cookies, dumplings, biscuits, pastries and more. Every culture in Malaysia has some type of dessert that falls under the kuih category, and the intermingling of traditions sometimes means that the origins of a particular type of kuih gets quite murky as people adopt and adapt traditional recipes. One thing’s for sure; as long as everyone’s happy to share the deliciousness, then we won’t chi kui (lose out in Mandarin).