Feast your eyes on the first photo in this week's Photo Hunt entry -- for sometimes, a picture can indeed say a thousand words! Alternatively put: I may have excluded mention of it from my most recent post on Penang eats but if truth be told, no food pilgrimage to, and around, my home state would be complete without a visit to the Swatow Lane ais kacang stall that now plies its trade indoors in the New World Park hawker complex on the former site of the same-named amusement park (which, at times, featured attractions such as a floor show by Rose Chan).
Although ais kacang literally translates from Bahasa Malaysia into English as "ice bean(s)", the dish is actually composed of far more than just shaved ice and (sweet red) bean(s). For starters, a sweet syrup (usually rose-flavored, but you can also opt for that which is sarsi (AKA sasparilla) flavored) is poured onto the shaved ice. And underneath the shaved ice, you'll usually find creamed corn, textured atapchi (aka pine-nut) and smooth strips of black grass jelly mixed with the red beans.
(Hmmm, upon reading the above description, I think a lot of people who have never tasted ais kacang might think it all sounds like quite an unpleasant mix -- but if you're ever in Penang, give it a go, and you might just like it! Oh, and for the record, I also like this cool concoction with an extra topping of bananas!! :D)
Additionally, although it's popularly known as the Swatow Lane ais kacang stall, that particular establishment also offers other eats -- including rojak (a fruit salad that sometimes also has cuttlefish in the mix and is always slathered with a thick concoction composed mainly of prawn paste) and a selection of fresh fruits for a bargain price (i.e., look at the prices and bear in mind that 1 Malaysian ringgit is about 32 American cents or 23 Euro cents!).
On my most recent visit there, I had a bowl of their ais kacang (but of course!) but also a plate of fruits served with ice shavings on top to nicely chill them. And yes, I grant that persimmons and nona (aka custard apple) may not have been the most juicy of the available fruity options -- so, yes, I may be stretching things a little this week -- but I am trusting that you'll agree that they make for an interesting as well as appetizing picture that's worth sharing. :)