Hari Raya: 13 delicious festive kuih you have to try, one from each Malaysian state


A favourite among locals, this delectable kuih has gula Melaka (palm sugar) filling that bursts in your mouth as you bite it. Photos: Filepic

Festive seasons are often made sweeter by the “balik kampung” experience. After all, the best celebrations are the ones spent with family and friends.

With Hari Raya just around the corner, many are excited to return to their hometown. Aside from reuniting with loved ones, something that many of us look forward to is the delectable food.

After two years of pared down Hari Raya celebrations due to Covid-19, why not treat yourself by going on a local food trip with your family this holiday season?

If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of kuih and snacks that are unique to 13 Malaysian states.

Kelantan: Kuih lompat tikam

Popular in the east coast, kuih lompat tikam is one of Kelantan’s all-time favourite desserts.

Popular in the east coast, kuih lompat tikam is one of Kelantan’s all-time favourite desserts.Popular in the east coast, kuih lompat tikam is one of Kelantan’s all-time favourite desserts.

It comes in two layers – green and white. The green layer is a mixture of rice flour and pandan whereas the white layer is made from creamy coconut milk.

Served with coconut milk and brown sugar, this addicting dessert offers a burst of yummy flavours. Although there are many variations, Kelantan’s lompat tikam is distinct as it comes with red glutinous rice.

Melaka: Onde-onde

Most, if not all, Malaysians will be familiar with this signature treat from one of the country’s most historical states.

A favourite among locals, this delectable kuih has gula Melaka (palm sugar) filling that bursts in your mouth as you bite it. Photos: FilepicA favourite among locals, this delectable kuih has gula Melaka (palm sugar) filling that bursts in your mouth as you bite it. Photos: Filepic

A favourite among locals, this delectable kuih has gula Melaka (palm sugar) filling that bursts in your mouth as you bite it. Its pandan-flavoured exterior is coated with shredded coconut for an added freshness.

It is a snack that’s commonly served for breakfast and tea time.

Penang: Kuih halwa muskat

Halwa muskat, a Penang specialty, is a sweet treat that looks very similar to a jelly. It is made from a combination of sugar, flour and ghee.

While its ingredients are highly available, making it requires skill. The flour has to be kneaded into dough and soaked until the wheat milk can be extracted. This mixture is then left overnight to thicken.

Due to its long and tedious cooking process, this kuih can be quite rare to find on regular days. There’s a higher chance of enjoying this rare delicacy during the festive season.

Johor: Kuih kacau keledek

Kuih kacau keledek is a type of sweet potato pastry unique to Johor. It is always served during special events and festive seasons.

The main ingredients here are coconut milk and sweet potatoes. Eggs, salt, sugar, vanilla essence and pandan leaves are also incorporated to give the dish a refreshing aroma.

The name of this dish originates from the cooking process whereby the mixture is continuously stirred until it thickens.

Negri Sembilan: Kuih sopang

The word “sopang” references Pekan Sepang – whereby Sepang is pronounced “Sopang” in the Negri Sembilan dialect.

Made from glutinous rice flour, banana, palm sugar, and grated young coconut filling, this oval-shaped treat is rich, moist and savoury.

It can be steamed or fried. Tuck in this appetising snack with thick coconut gravy on the side for an added saltiness.

Although this dessert is associated with Hari Raya, you can enjoy it anytime these days as it’s sold all year round in Negri Sembilan.

Selangor: Bahulu kemboja

Despite having many variations, the bahulu kemboja is unique to Selangor as it captures the many essence of the state. As its name suggests, this snack is flower-shaped. Its nine petals are believed to represent the nine districts of Selangor.

Despite having many variations, the bahulu kemboja is unique to Selangor as it captures the many essence of the state. Despite having many variations, the bahulu kemboja is unique to Selangor as it captures the many essence of the state.

Pandan essence, wheat flour, rice flour, coconut milk and eggs are among the many ingredients needed to preserve the uniqueness and moisture of the food. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled for topping and extra flavour.

Terengganu: Kuih belimbing

The name of this kuih comes from its shape that’s similar to a starfruit. Native to Terengganu, this kuih – also known as kuih terembat – has been around for many years.

The traditional way of tucking in this treat is with sugar water, but topping it with any regular sugar will suffice too.

Primary ingredients used in this mouthwatering kuih include flour, egg, margarine, sugar, and vanilla essence. To give the snack its distinctive starfruit look, a star-shaped mould is used before deep frying.

Pahang: Kuih mahbob

If you’re not from Pahang, there’s a good chance you aren’t familiar with General Mahbob’s kuih. Available only in the Pekan area, coming across this snack is like finding a rare gem.

It is believed that the name of this dessert originates from the Western generals who loved eating this kuih whenever they were drunk – hence, the name “mahbob” which sounds similar to the word “mabuk”.

Made from fried rice flour, coconut milk and sugar, this succulent treat is a mix of sweet and savoury.

It is normally topped with pre-made oil dough made of concentrated fried coconut milk for an aromatic fragrance.

Kedah: Kuih bunga pudak

Named after the Pandanus plant, or “pokok pudak”, this delicacy is a traditional heritage for those living in Kedah.Named after the Pandanus plant, or “pokok pudak”, this delicacy is a traditional heritage for those living in Kedah.Named after the Pandanus plant, or “pokok pudak”, this delicacy is a traditional heritage for those living in Kedah.

It has a glutinous texture and comes in a range of pastel colours including pink, purple, green and many more. Its filling is crisp, consisting of grated coconut, sugar, rose-flavouring and food dye – all carefully wrapped inside by a thin layer of flour.

Although this cake is served during special occasions, it can be rare to find on regular days as making it requires skill.

Perlis: Kuih dangai

Another popular traditional snack from northern Malaysia is kuih dangai. Revered by locals in Perlis, this fried snack is a scrumptious delicacy.

Another popular traditional snack from northern Malaysia is kuih dangai. Another popular traditional snack from northern Malaysia is kuih dangai.

Preparing it is simple. All you need is glutinous rice flour, grated coconut, sugar and salt. Mix everything carefully and grill it till it’s nicely brown on the outside.

This flavourful snack tastes best when it’s hot off the pan.

Perak: Kuih tepung pelita

You might have seen this at your local bazaar Ramadan but this kuih actually hails from Perak. The traditional double-layer cake made of santan and custard is served in banana leaf in the shape of an oil lamp – hence, the name “tepung pelita” which directly translates to flour and oil lamp.

The traditional double-layer cake made of santan and custard is served in banana leaf in the shape of an oil lamp – hence, the name “tepung pelita” which directly translates to flour and oil lamp.The traditional double-layer cake made of santan and custard is served in banana leaf in the shape of an oil lamp – hence, the name “tepung pelita” which directly translates to flour and oil lamp.

Its sweetness is balanced with a tinge of saltiness from a coconut milk custard layer above.

This mouthwatering kuih is usually served when breaking fast during Ramadan. It has a soft and creamy texture and is best consumed chilled.

Sabah: Kuih cincin

Kuih cincin is a traditional “cookie” originating from Sabah. As its name suggests, this snack looks like a bunch of rings glued together to kind of create the shape of a flower.

Kuih cincin is a traditional “cookie” originating from Sabah. As its name suggests, this snack looks like a bunch of rings glued together to kind of create the shape of a flower.Kuih cincin is a traditional “cookie” originating from Sabah. As its name suggests, this snack looks like a bunch of rings glued together to kind of create the shape of a flower.

Its base flavours are red palm sugar and gula Melaka.

There are two different variations to this cookie – hard and soft.

If you have a sweet tooth, then try the soft variation as it highlights the sweetness of the palm sugar.

On the other hand, the hard variation is best for those who love crunchiness.

Kuih cincin is a common afternoon and tea time snack for many Sabahans, and is also a popular souvenir for visitors to bring home.

Sarawak: Kuih selorot

Native to Malays in Sarawak, kuih selorot is a traditional sweet snack with soft rice flour and coconut milk as its base.

Native to Malays in Sarawak, kuih selorot is a traditional sweet snack with soft rice flour and coconut milk as its base.Native to Malays in Sarawak, kuih selorot is a traditional sweet snack with soft rice flour and coconut milk as its base.

Its sweetness comes from the combination of palm sugar, pandan leaf, salt and coconut milk. This liquid is then poured onto the rice flour and sago or tapioca flour, and mixed evenly to form a thick batter.

Young coconut leaves are used to wrap this batter into a cone shape before being steamed.

Deliciously sweet and chewy, this dessert is a fine representation of Sarawak’s many unique cakes.

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