Saturday, November 20, 2010

Juicy (This week's Photo Hunt theme)

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. :)


Carver said...

I think this was an appetizing and attractive post, words and pictures. I like unusual mixes (at least unusual to me). Fun learning about dishes I'm not familiar with.

magiceye said...

mmm delicious

eastcoastlife said...

I miss the delicious food in Penang. Gotta go back for a quick fix. :P

Randi said...

Yes, of course this is worth sharing! A very interesting post and this sounds really delicious. I have never heard of shaved ice - can I use crushed ice instead? Do you use a machine to shave the ice??? Sounds like a perfect dish for hot summer days.

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

Glad you like the post -- and found my descriptions of ais kacang and rojak appetizing. I realize they, especially rojak, can be an acquired taste (and smell -- upon trying rojak, an American friend was moved to describe the paste on it as "skunk sauce" :D) but I actually love them a lot and know many others who do too. :)

Hi magiceye --

Mmmm good! :b

Hi EastCoastLife --

Quick fix? You mean you'll fly in one weekend and just gorge yourself? :D

Hi Randi --

I supposed you could use crushed ice but shaved ice is finer and thus a nicer texture. And yes, one uses a machine to shave the ice -- traditionally ones look like this:-

(And I forgot: many people like their ice kacang with condensed milk drizzled on top of the rose/sasparilla syrup but my mother and I prefer it minus the milk! :b )

Liz said...

Great photos for Juicy.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Liz @ MLC

Mar said...

It sounds delicious...everything!! it makes my mouth water! that was also the association with my posted picture ! Have a fun weekend

Unknown said...

the mixture sounds interesting. anything with shaved ice is perfect in our hot weather here. i usually binged on halo-halo--that's shaved ice with sweetened banana, red beans, jackfruit, mango and other fruits with milk and ice cream on top.:p recently, i tried halo-halo with ripe mango and kiwi. it was delicious!

Maya said...

Your posts reminds me of the wonderful icy treats that they used to have in Mexico when I was a child. I couldn't eat them because they were often made with contaminated water. But they always looked so yummy.

Marie said...

Delicious! Thanks for your comment.

Gattina said...

It looks delicious ! I am getting hungry !

YTSL said...

Hi Liz --

Thanks and hope you have a good weekend too. :)

Hi Mar --

Glad my descriptions make the food sound mouth-wateringly delicious. :)

Hi Luna Miranda --

Agree that shaved ice treats are wonderful when it's hot. :)

Hi Maya --

Oh dear re your icy treats being made with contaminated water. Re the Swatow Lane shaved ice: well, my family's eaten for generations. And so far, so good!

Hi Marie --

Ta and you're welcome. :)

Hi Gattina --

Think of the dish as a thirst quencher as well! ;b

julie said...

One order for me please :) Yum!!!

healingmagichands said...

I think you must have gotten across quite well how delicious these dishes are -- I'm salivating right now.

gengen said...

Hmm looks delicious one...Happy weekend..Mine is up also.

Susan Demeter said...

Sounds delicious! I especially love fruit with ice shavings :) This week's theme is certainly provided some mouth watering entries :)

Anonymous said...

Cool - lots of unusual (for us) and juicy fruits there.

Have a wonderful weekend.

YTSL said...

Hi Julie --

I take it that the ais kacang caught your fancy? ;b

Hi healingmagichands --

Thanks for the assurance that I got my points across! :)

Hi gengen --

Definitely delicious -- and happy weekend to you too. :)

Hi Sue --

Agree with your sentiments re this week's Photo Hunt entries. Seems like we have quite a lot of people who eat well among us! :)

Hi JDeQ --

Yeah, I've seen and eaten persimmons when in Philadelphia but have never seen custard apples outside of Southeast Asia.

Noel Morata said...

aloha, i loved visiting malayasia and eating all the vendor food, it was a great experience....all the fruits are wonderful.

yes we grow rambutans in hawaii along with many of the same tropical fruits, thanks for mentioning that.

Marta said...

Oh those look so great. My mouth waters just thinking about ABC. I knew how it was made but not about the different types and what the English equivalent was. The other fruit looks great also. I bought a couple of persimmons recently but never can find custard apples. I even looked for them in Hawaii but no luck.

YTSL said...

Hi Noel --

I'm glad you had street food in Malaysia as that's the best food in the country. Cheap but also good.

And interesting re the rambutans. You don't have durians too, do you? :)

Hi Marta --

ABC -- ais batu campur: so... were you in Kuala Lumpur or Singapore but not Penang? See, one of the funny linguistic quirks about Malaysia is how different dishes are differently named in different parts of the country. E.g., ais batu campur (KL)//ais kacang (Penang). And what is known as rojak in KL is actually pasembur in Penang. Etc, etc.! :)

CherryPie said...

That does look like an interesting dish :-)

jmb said...

Wonderful photos of delicious looking food, as well as juicy. As always I learn something new and interesting on my visits here.

YTSL said...

Hi CherryPie --

You mean the fruits? It's a simple dish but the shaved ice really DOES make it better! :)

Hi jmb --

I'm glad that you keep on getting something out of visiting. After all, you're one of my most long-term and regular Photo Hunt visitors. :)

Anonymous said...

chinese food is just delish anytime.

btw, i scrolled down some of your old posts and read them. i love your blog.

YTSL said...

Hi ewok1993 --

I like many types of Chinese food but have to say that Penang Hokkien food is my favorite! :b

And thanks for checking out some of my other posts and for telling me you love my blog. :)