Malaysia Food Exploration: Penang Dessert Houses

For some reason I experienced an incredible sweet tooth while in Penang, which led to my trawling the internet for good places to get desserts. I narrowed things down to a couple of cafés we could walk to from our hotel, and we managed to make it to both of them (the nearer one twice) during our stay.

Both offered desserts of Chinese origin rather than the well-known Malaysian culprits of cendol and ais kacang, and we had some interesting and delicious experiences.

sweet potato tong yuan

The above dish is called sweet potato tong yuan, and came from Sugar Dynasty (29 Jalan Nagor, George Town). Tong or tang yuan are glutinous rice flour dumplings. In this instance, one can only presume some sweet potato was added. The balls themselves were fairly tasteless, with a gnocchi-like texture. They were livened up considerably by the chopped nuts and large crystals of sugar heaped on top though.

double boiled papaya with almond

H had the much soupier doubled boiled papaya with almond. This was milky and bland. Papaya is quite a mild fruit anyway, and heating it did not improve the flavour. However it certainly wasn’t offensive.

We steered clear of anything containing fungus, and on a second visit tried a couple of other desserts that I managed to fail to make any note of, take any picture of, and in fact am not even sure what they were. H is fairly sure he had an almond jelly in coconut milk, and I have a memory of a thin peanut soup, but I can’t be certain so it will have to remain a mystery, and I’ll chalk up another blogging fail against myself.

The second place we tried was called All About Sugar and Gift (11 Lorong Susu). I’m not sure what the gift bit referred to – perhaps the gift of a steadily increasing waistline if one ate at these places on a regular basis.

We bought 3 desserts to share (they are quite small, honest!) and started with the sweet peanut cream (shown below). It was like very sweet, hot, diluted peanut butter. That may sell it to some people and not others, but we both liked it.

sweet peanut cream

Next was a cooling lychee and sago iced dessert (below), with colourful tang yuan containing a hint of ginger. The sago and ice were unexciting, but the lychees brought sweetness and the dish was refreshing after our hot walk here.

lychee and sago

Our final dish was brown sugar tang yuan (below). The bouncy tang yuan were covered in a gooey brown sugar sauce. It wasn’t like a sticky toffee pudding sauce containing butter or cream, but was  more focused on the sugar and had a slightly gelatinous cornflour-thickened quality. An accompanying dry dip of sugar and chopped nuts made for a very moreish dessert.

brown sugar tang yuan



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