Singapore Cuisine – Ice Kachang

Singaporean cuisine is indicative of the ethnic diversity of the culture of Singapore. With its rich multicultural heritage, the city serves up a true melting pot of flavours and foods.  Singapore’s cultural diversity can be seen reflected in the array of local cuisines on the menu – Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan among others.

The Singaporean  cuisine is a gastronomical journey of mouth-watering dishes. Watch out this space where we will bring out the most loved and a not to be missed dish from this city state. And we start with the Dessert….what is one must have dessert in Singapore..

Singapore’s beloved dessert – the ice kachang has evolved into many versions over the years, from the ice balls coated with coloured sugar coated syrups in the 1950s and 1960s to the modern ice kachang that comes with red bean (kachang), attap chee (palm seed), sweet corn, cubes of jelly and other novelty toppings such as durian and mango.

Mounds of ice cold goodness. In Singapore’s wretched heat and humidity, this sweet dessert is the answer to Singaporeans’ prayers. The origin of this popular dessert can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s, it had a modest start – finely grated ice was packed into a ball and drizzled with copious amounts of colored coated sugar syrup, and it was typically eaten with one’s fingers or hand. These ice balls were sold on street corners by drink vendors with pushcarts. Although having these ice balls often meant having sticky, messy hands, it provided a cool respite to the hot and thirsty worker.

Today the ice kachang is a more elaborate and a modern version of the ice ball. Jelly, red beans, (hence the name; kachang is Malay for beans), sweet corn and attap chee (palm seeds) forms its base, and it is covered with shaved ice, psychedelically colored sugar syrups and a generous serving of condensed milk, typically served in a bowl. To satisfy the palate of the food-loving Singaporean crowd, local hawkers have experimented with different ingredients and toppings such as aloe vera  jelly, fruit cocktail, yam, peanuts, chocolate, durian (an exotic fruit, not for the faint of heart) and many more. This colorful dessert can be found at food centres all over the island.

Like with everything in life, there are always the good and the bad. This rule of life applies to ice kachang as well – certain vendors use only use fresh ingredients, have a wide variety and are very particular about the size of their shaved ice, these are the good ones. The best way to have ice kachang is to slowly dig your way to the ‘good stuff’ and enjoy its ice cold sweet sensations swirling around in your mouth. Life doesn’t get any better than that.


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