Fun snacks to catch your fancy

MOLTEN Lava cafe has just the kind of items that will catch your fancy if you are into fun, light, crispy snacks that come with hot piping dips in different flavours.

Its core and most bankable item is the Churros, which is a stick form of doughnut, fried till it is golden and crispy and can be “dressed up” with sugar, or drizzled over with luscious chocolate caramel or other forms of “dressing”.

The cafe and its food were conceptualised by the outlet’s managing partner, Michelle Chong, who fell in love with Churros when she first tasted them in the United States 20 years ago.

“I’ve been craving for them since!” she said. “But, of course, I couldn’t find them here in Malaysia.”

So she opened her own outlet serving just that, as well as a host of other snacks that she likes but cannot seem to find here.

The Churros, made from flour and other ingredients, is said to have originated in Spain (the Spanish version of doughnut). Over time, it gained popularity in other Western countries, too.

“People in the US and Mexico like to have their Churros with cinnamon. It’s great for takeaway, too, as people could just snack on them at theme parks,” Chong said.

The outlet’s name “Molten Lava” refers to hot kaya.

Several varieties of Churros are available, like the Molten Chocolate Dip, Chocolate and Caramel Drizzle, Cinnamon Sugar, and even Chong’s very own creation of Sambal Ikan Bilis (churros with Malaysian’s own famous sambal).

The last turned out to be the real surprise of the day, as it tasted better than I had thought it would.

“Whenever I go overseas, I make it a point to try their Churros before coming back and perfecting my own recipe.

“Starting May, customers can also look forward to Churros with fillings,” Chong said, adding that she now had the time to experiment with more creations and manage her little parlour as her children were grown up and overseas.

Besides Churros, the menu also features Roti Paratha, which Chong has creatively “modified” by drizzling it over with molten lava (hot kaya).

My favourite was the Roti Paratha with Chilli Jam and Chicken Floss, in which the topping lent a unique twist to the base. I never knew Roti Paratha could taste this good!

Chong confessed to loving baking, and lucky family and friends have been “lavished” with her many creations.

There are seven types of lava (kaya) available currently, with durian and pandan being the most popular flavours. Other choices include sweet potato, pumpkin and banana, all of which are made fresh daily.

Chong then brought out the Funnel Cake, which turned my favourite among all the snacks I had tried. One of her creations was topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and slices of strawberries.

The cake is made from flour batter that is drizzled over hot oil, deep fried until it turns golden brown.

You could break off a chunk easily for a melt-in-the-mouth experience.

It is visually appealing, too, looking quite colourful, like a Christmas tree decoration.

“This is just one topping that I’ve created; the options are endless,” Chong said.

The Glutinous Rice in Lava is quite filling on its own, while Mini Chicken Pies make great teatime bites.

Occasionally, Chong also bakes cupcakes and Almond Pear Tart, and prepares her own homemade jams that are preservative-free.

The Lava dips are available for takeaway, and Chong gave an assurance that they were made from 100% real fruit and contained no colouring.

MOLTEN LAVA, Lot LG312b, Lower Ground Floor Oval, 1 Utama Shopping Centre, No. 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama, Bandar Utama. Business hours: 10am to 10pm (Sun to Thurs), 10am to 10.30pm (Fri and Sat).

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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