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10 weirdly-named traditional Malaysian kuih-muih


Since it is almost mid-Ramadhan, we are compelled to write a Raya-related article to get you all excited about the festival!

So this time, we would like to introduce you guys some traditional kuih-muih found in Malaysia!

Kuih (pronounced as kway) are bite-sized snacks or desserts which can be found not only in Malaysia, but also in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Also, the term kuih is a fairly broad term which is used to describe everything from cakes, to cookies, pudding and more.

In Malaysia, there are plenty of weirdly-named traditional snacks which make us wonder how they actually came to be.

Though not all of them have sensible explanations of their names, some are just randomly given based on their looks. But despite their weird names, some of these kuih-muih are really delicious!

Also, they are known as traditional kuih for a reason – they are named by old folks!

Anyway, here are our top 10 picks of the weirdest names of traditional Malaysian kuih!

1. Kuih Tahi Itik 
(Photo source: rakan1klik.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Duck droppings snack

Don’t get the wrong idea! The snack is one hundred percent not made out of duck dung!  Instead, it is made out of egg whites and sugar syrup. The name just came by due to its appearance and the powdery white colour makes the kuih look like duck droppings.

Also, the snack is usually made together with kuih jala emas (golden net snack) because one of them uses only the egg whites while the other uses the egg yolk, which is another reason why kuih tahi itik is equated with dung because it is made from the leftovers of another kuih.

2. Kuih Batang Buruk 
(Photo source: disini.my)
Translated as: Ugly stick snack

You might think that the name doesn’t sound that weird, but “batang” can be an innuendo to a certain male anatomy in Malay, which is why it automatically gets on board our list! The delicious kuih is made out of wheat flour, rice flour, grated coconut, sugar and ground nuts or green nuts.

The snack is also named based on its appearance as it looks like badly-shaped tree trunks covered with dust – which is actually just nut powder – making it look like old and ugly.

3. Kuih Ulat Bulu 
(Photo source: akushatra.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Caterpillar snack

This one is pretty obvious as the snack looks like fat and short caterpillars! Made from sticky rice flour, grated coconut, palm sugar, salt, sugar, and green nuts, the kuih is a famous traditional snack from Kelantan.

It is usually green in colour and covered in grated coconut, thus forms the very appropriate name.

4. Kuih Telinga Keling 
(Photo source: dedaunsyurgadariputeri.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Indian’s ear snack

Now this is just rude. Just because the colour of the snack is dark and shaped like a ear, it is named that. However recently, this name is no longer widely used as to avoid racial dispute, so the name kuih denderam is used more formally instead.

Made from wheat flour, rice flour and sugar, the kuih is actually shaped like a smaller donut too.

5. Kuih Lompat Tikam 
(Photo source: chefgunawanmalaysia.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Jump and stab snack

This kuih is very violent as it will jump and stab you as you eat it – just kidding! This snack is one of the mysterious cases where you have no idea how the name came to be. Well, hopefully the process of making it doesn’t involve any stabbing!

The snack originates from Kelantan and is made out of rice flour and coconut milk. It has two layers where one layer is usually green, while the other is in white, and the snack is normally consumed with palm sugar.

6. Kuih Badak Berendam
(Photo source: zaralovebaking.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Soaking hippopotamus  snack

Despite the name, there is no hippopotamus  meat in this snack. The name is assumed to come from the way the kuih looks like, which is like a group of rhinoceros soaking together.

The kuih itself is made out of glutinous rice flour with coconut filling, and it is usually eaten together with coconut milk.

7. Kuih Gelembung Buaya 
(Photo source: kamithemedia.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Crocodile bubbles snack

Again, this kuih too doesn’t consist of any exotic meats. It is another mysterious kuih where no one knows how the name came about, there may be story behind it, but who really knows?

The kuih is basically dodol’s twin, and if you don’t know what the latter is, it’s another famous kuih often eaten during Raya and is made from coconut milk, jaggery and rice flour, and is sticky, thick and sweet, similar to gelembung buaya, except, gelembung buaya has two layers of colours, but the taste is basically the same.

Anyway, if you’re wondering why dodol is not on this list, that’s because we had already put it on another food list which you should definitely check out!

8. Kuih Serabai 
(Photo source: cahayahidupku2569.blogspot.com)
Translated as: Messy snack

Though the name will make you think that the kuih is messy and dirty, it is actually not. The snack is sort of like the Malaysian version of pancakes. It is made out of rice flour and is eaten with durian sauce or any other sweet sauce.

Apparently, the kuih is also called the kuih mayat (corpse snack) in certain states like Penang, which is kind of creepy, but it is actually named so because the snack is usually served during funerals.

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