Traditional Chinese and Nyonya kuih at local markets

When visiting the markets… be it the local markets or night markets (pasar malam), don’t forget to try out the different kuih sold. When I bring visitors from overseas, they really enjoy trying out various kinds of locally made kuih.

Referring to the labels in both the diagrams, here are the explaination of the kuih:

1. Red colour ang ku
Ang ku is shaped in a tortoise shell. Because my mom used to like this kuih, I always bought for her and is aware of some ‘color coding’ being used- different colour contains different flavour.

For the red ang ku, usually the filling inside consist of mung bean paste that are sweet.

2. Pink colour ang ku
Usually the filling for the pink ang ku consist of red bean.

3. Yellow colour ang ku/ green colour ang ku
The filling can be sweet coconut shreds (cooked with gula melaka) or mung bean with a slightly salted flavour. Sometimes grinded peanuts with sugar are also used.

Sometimes if they run out of colors to use, they may just put a red dot on one of the ang ku to denote a different flavour. If unsure, always ask the seller what is inside the paste.

Ang ku is a traditional Chinese kuih. Aside from being enjoyed as a dessert or for breakfast, the ang ku is used extensively in Chinese prayers, festivals and baby full moon. A traditional Hokkien family would do prayers on the night of the 8th day of Chinese New Year and would usually purchase the red ang ku in large amounts.

4. Nyonya kuih
There are nyonya kuih of different flavours and colours.

5 & 6. Kuih koci
Kuih with glutinous rice at the bottom and sweet shredded coconut on the top

7. Malay steamed cake (cantonese is called ‘Malai guo’)
It is one of my favourite kueh. The green one is pandan flavour and if you see the brown one it is in brown sugar flavour. I like the fluffy and simple taste- if I see it in the market I would usually buy a few to consume later.

8. Chinese pink steamed cake called hee pan 
This steamed rice cake is usually in pink colour and is plain (does not contain anything). I also enjoy eating this either as breakfast or as a dessert after my meal.

9. Steamed Chinese rice cake
If you see the brown one, it is made with brown sugar and the texture is usually softer than the white one.

Pasar malam kueh

Usually when you visit the markets, the price of each piece of kuih is between 80 sen to RM1.20- depending on the area that sells the kuih. At shopping complex and outlets such as Nyonya flavours, each piece would of course cost a few ringgit. These kuih usually cannot be kept for long- if you buy the kuih from the morning market, you need to put in the fridge if you still do not eat it by lunchtime. Even though you kept in the fridge, the kuih need to be consumed within the same day as coconut milk is being used and those from the market are made without preservatives.

I love the Malay steamed cake (item 7) a lot so usually I would get like 8 from the night market. I would put two in the fridge to be eaten the next day and the rest I would put in my freezer to freeze it. When I want to eat, I would take out the kuih and steam it till it is soft.

As mooncake festival approaches, you can also find mooncakes being sold in the market:

Below are Chinese bread style with bak kwa (dry meat that is being BBQ with oil and filled with flavours)

Kuih at pasar malam

At the night market, you would see patrons buying a kueh or two with a drink and just eating while walking and browsing through items. In Petaling Jaya, a very large night market would of course be the SS2 night market which is available on Monday nights.

Enjoy and keep exploring!

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