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Why Do Malaysian Kuih-Muih Have Such Odd Names?!



You’re not Malaysian if you don’t have a favourite kuih! You’re also not Malaysian if ever at one point you didn’t question the odd names these kuihs have and which smarty pants came up with them. Let’s have a look, shall we?

#1 Kuih Tahi Itik

Translated as: Duck droppings snack

Let’s get one thing straight. This kuih is not made from duck faeces. Instead, they are made from egg whites and sugar syrup. The name comes from its texture and colour that resemble duck droppings. But really, though? The person couldn’t come up with anything better?!

#2 Kuih Ulat Bulu

Translated as: Caterpillar snack

This one is pretty obvious as the snack looks like fat and short caterpillars. LOL. Made from rice flour, grated coconut, palm sugar and green nuts, this kuih hails from Kelantan. It actually really does look like caterpillars, no?

#3 Kuih Lompat Tikam

Translated as: Jump and stab snack

Beware of this kuih! It might just jump and stab you when you eat it. Just kidding. We really have no clue how this name came to be. Let’s just hope no actual stabbing was involved 😱

This snack also comes from Kelantan, and is made out of rice flour and coconut milk. It has two layers: one green, and the other white, and it’s eaten with palm sugar.

#4 Kuih Badak Berendam

Translated as: Soaking hippopotamus snack

Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the creation of this kuih (Or so we hope?). The name is assumed to come from the way the kuih looks like, which is like a group of hippos soaking together.

It’s made from glutinous rice flour with coconut filling, ‘swimming’ in a bath of coconut milk.

#5 Kuih Serabai

Translated as: Messy snack

Contrary to its name, this kuih is not messy. Equivalent to the Malaysian version of pancakes, it’s made of rice flour and is eaten with durian sauce or any sweet sauce. Yum.

Apparently, the kuih is also called kuih mayat (corpse snack) in certain states like Penang. Creepy isn’t it? It’s because the snack is usually served during funerals.

#6 Kuih Puteri Ayu

Translated as: Gracious princess snack

What an elegant name for a kuih! The name is thought to have been derived from the touch of coconut on its head that looks like a tiara. Made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar, pandan flavouring, flour, shredded coconut and corn flour, this kuih is definitely fit for a queen, but enjoyed by the masses!

Oddly named or not, these kuihs are scrumptious! Which one is your favourite?

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