Ice Kacang, kuehIce Kacang, kueh

LIVE LIKE A LOCAL: THE 8 BEST DESSERTS IN SINGAPORE

Stay cool for the (eternal) summer in Singapore’s humidity with some of the island’s best local treats, many of which can be found within Marina Bay Sands.
Ice Kacang

Ice Kacang

A staple in most food courts and hawker centres, ‘ice kacang’ translates literally to ‘bean ice’. Traditionally, blocks of ice were manually shaved using cranks to build the base of this sweet dessert – although the process has become far more refined since. Today, the dessert comprises shaved ice topped with colourful sweet syrup, red beans, jelly, nuts, sweet corn and condensed milk. This varies from stall to stall, but for a good classic, try Rasapura Master’s take on it at Marina Bay Sands.


Rainbow kueh

Nyonya Kueh

‘Kueh’ – usually bite-sized – are primarily built using glutinous rice flour to give them their their sticky, chewy texture. But other key ingredients include coconut milk, ‘gula melaka’ (palm sugar), pandan and tapioca. Popular takes on kueh include nine-layer rainbow kueh , kueh lapis and ‘ondeh ondeh’, a chewy round snack filled with gula melaka and rolled in coconut shavings. For some excellent kueh, make for the Joo Chiat/Katong precinct – Singapore’s Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese) enclave brimming with history and traditional shophouses. 

 
Tau Suan

Tau Suan

A balmy afternoon’s not enough to stop most locals from ending their meals with a hot treat, and Rasapura Masters in Marina Bay Sands serves up a mean version of ‘tau suan’ – split mung beans cooked in a thick, sweet concoction flavoured with pandan leaves. The dessert’s typically topped with crispy ‘you tiao’ (fried dough fritters), essentially a Chinese take on churros.

 
Chendol

Chendol

Much like ice kacang, ‘chendol’ is a shaved ice dessert – except it’s served with coconut milk, gula melaka syrup, kidney beans or red beans and green worm-like jellies, the very characteristic that makes it so distinct and well-loved. It’s not just Singaporeans who love chendol; the dessert’s popularity extends to other parts of Southeast Asia, from Malaysia and Vietnam to Thailand and Indonesia. The dessert can easily be found in most hawker centres or food courts.


Ice cream sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich

If you’d rather stick to familiarity, try Singapore’s take on ice cream sandwiches for as little as $1. You’ll find ice cream vendors – their stalls characterised often by red or yellow sun umbrellas – along busier strips like Orchard Road (or Helix Bridge, if you’re close to Marina Bay Sands) hawking options such as vanilla, chocolate, red bean and peppermint. Choose to have yours sandwiched between thin wafer biscuits or lightly sweetened rainbow bread.

 

Pulut Hitam

Pulut Hitam

This sweet Indonesian dessert is essentially black glutinous rice porridge cooked with palm sugar and served with a swirl of coconut milk – and admittedly of an acquired taste, given its intense flavours. In fact, it’s so rich it’s sometimes taken as a meal in itself (although we reckon there’s always room for dessert). If you’re game, get acquainted with the dessert at Marina Bay Sands’ Rasapura Masters food court.

 

Tissue Prata

Tissue Prata

This crackly, paper-thin treat’s essentially sweet flatbread served in the shape of an inverted cone – and great fun to pick apart or hack on! Depending on the chef, it might be served with condiments like sugar, condensed milk, chocolate sauce or ice cream. Many Halal joints across the island are open 24/7, so locating one shouldn’t require much effort. 


Tau Huay

Tau Huay

What makes a good bowl of ‘tau huay’, or soy beancurd? Its silky texture, lent by the fragrance of boiled soy beans, sugar and coagulants. This dessert’s often left to set in cylindrical metal pots or before being served hot or cold. Alternatively, some hawker stalls serve a sturdier update on tau huay that resembles soy pudding more than beancurd.

Want more? Singapore’s just as much an island packed with excellent food – and our Guide to Local Food has all you need to get started. Then retreat to your home-away-from-home by booking a stay at Marina Bay Sands