The best desserts in Penang are prepared as refreshing treats to be enjoyed on a scorching afternoon in Malaysia’s food capital. The island's main claim to fame is their distinctive Nyonya flavoring in the local Chinese cuisine, where visitors flock to quaint heritage cafes and humble roadside eateries to enjoy a vast range of mouth-watering Penang-style delicacies and hawker fare. Penang is also famous for its diverse range of dessert offerings, all of which are made with local ingredients such as coconut milk, palm sugar (gula Melaka), red beans, bananas, sweet corn, and grass jelly.
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Cendol or chendul is well-regarded as one of Penang’s signature desserts and is sold almost everywhere on the island, from humble roadside stalls and food courts to air-conditioned restaurants and cafes. Priced from RM2.60 onwards, it is a bowl of shaved ice topped with coconut milk, palm sugar, kidney beans and pandan-flavoured starch jelly. The cendol’s smooth and creamy consistency makes for a refreshing treat during a hot day in Penang. For the best cendol in Penang, we highly recommend the iconic Penang Road’s Famous Teochew Chendul, situated along a narrow alleyway in Lebuh Kweng Kee. This family-owned stall has also been consistently serving delicious refreshments since the 1950s.
Ais kacang is another must-try dessert in Penang that’s very similar to cendol, which comes with an assortment of condiments. A bowl ice kacang comes with a serving of kidney beans, sweet corn, Attap seeds, grass jelly, and creamed corn topped with huge scoop of shaved-ice mixed with evaporated milk, rose-flavoured syrup and palm sugar. Great for ending a meal on a sweet note, the most popular ais kacang in Penang can be found at the Kafe Kek Seng in Jalan Penang. Accessible within a 10-minute walk from KOMTAR Penang, this coffee shop is well-frequented for its signature ais kacang (RM4.80) which comes with two scoops of homemade ice-cream.