Penang Local Desserts & Sweet Broths

Penang local Desserts and Sweet Broths encompass a wide range of sweet broths. These were concocted by the Peranakan Chinese not only in Penang, but also in the Strait Settlements of Malacca and Singapore, with some variations in between.

local Sweet Broths used to be a popular item taken especially on weekend afternoons, when both the men and children are at home, and the local womenfolk have a chance to display their culinary skills. This has been relegated to the pages of history, as many modern housewives do not inherit the skills or recipes. Nonetheless, with greater awareness of local culinary heritage, many people are today relearning the skills for created these tasty sweet dessert.

The main ingredients in many local sweet broths are coconut milk and glutinous rice. A variety of tubers are also included, among them taro, sweet potato and so on. Generous use of sugar makes most local sweet dessert, as the name suggests, sweet.

On this page, I am celebrating the various Penang local sweet broths by showing you what they are, and where possible, offering you the recipes to make them. I am fortunate that both my wife and mother-in-law are quite capable at making these broths and enjoy making them regularly.

Bee1 Koh3 Moy2

Black glutinous rice porridge taken as afternoon dessert.

Bubur Cha Cha

Cubes of sweet potatoes, taros and sago pearls in sweet coconut milk

Cendol / Cen1doi1

Dessert of green starch-noodle in coconut milk and palm sugar.


local sweet wheat porridge often taken during afternoon tea.

Ice kacang / Ang3 Tau3 Sng1

Sweet dessert of shaved ice, red beans and other ingredients.

Lek3 Tau3 Thng1

local sweet broth made from green beans


local sweet broth often taken during Chap Goh Meh

Other Local Desserts

Bee1 Thai3 Bark1 : Coloured rice strands in syrup. This is also often stir-fried as a savoury dish.

Huan3cu3 Thng1 : Sweet potatotes in syrup.

Koay1 Ene2 : Coloured rice balls traditionally eaten during the winter solstice festival.

Koay1 Leng3 Ko1 : Herbal jelly traditionally made from powdered bottom shell of the golden coin turtle (Cuora trifasciata).

Leng3 Chee1 Kang1 / See1 Ko1 Thng1 : Combo dessert of lotus seeds, dried longan, preserved winter melon, agar-agar cubes, phong tai hai, white cloud ear fungus. The name see1 ko1 thng1 translates as "four-fruit soup".

Leong3 Fun2 : Black-colour jelly often made into iced drinks.

Oh1 Gio2 : Golden jelly made of gelatine.

Tnee3nya1 Kuih4 : Cold yellow rice cakes in palm sugar.

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To join in the discussion on Penang sweet broth, go to the Masa Masak Facebook Group!

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