Coco gotta a lot of iron, makes you strong like a lion!" sings Harry Belafonte. Ewe Paik Leong, taking his advice, hunts out coconut desserts in the Klang Valley
1. FATTY LOONG AIS KACANG, JALAN ANTOI KIRI, KEPONG BARU, KL
This popular ais kacang stall can whip up a delight with extra nata de coco at your request. The other standard ingredients are soft sweet red beans, grass jelly, corn, cendo. longan and crunchy roasted nuts. Palm sugar syrup is slathered over a mound of shaved ice blanketing the ensemble. Wow! Sweet flavours and textures swirl in my mouth!
2. ABSOLUTE THAI, ATRIA SHOPPING GALLERY, PJ
This is a full-fledged restaurant offering popular Thai dishes. Its desserts include Thai ice-cream, sago honey dew in coconut milk, and red ruby in coconut milk. The four scoops of ice-cream come in half a coconut shell and the toppings — roasted nuts, corn flakes, coconut flakes and chocolate — are separately served. The smoothness of the ice-cream contrasts with the crispy toppings.
3. HUI LAU SHAN, LEVEL 6, PAVILION-KL
Having outposts in several of Klang Valley's shopping malls, Hui Lau Shan is a snacks and dessert store. Two types of coconut desserts are offered: heavenly brew coconut bird's nest and ice snowy brew coconut jelly with bird's nest and coconut smoothie.
The former is pleasant but not great, and the bits of bird's nest are enjoyable but not fantastic.
4. SWEET HUT, JALAN USJ 10/1E, SUBANG JAYA, PJ
Sweet Hut is a dessert parlour which also has rice dishes, noodles, light bites, waffles and cakes on its menu. Its signature "coconut king series" is sold out so I settle for aloe vera coconut sago soup.
The trio deliver a multidimensional taste — sweetish and soothing. The grainy and runny texture of the soup works fairly well with the layers of flavours.
5. MANMARU ROBATAYAKI & BAR, ATRIA SHOPPING MALL, PJ
This is an up-market spot that serves sushi, sashimi, donburi, rice dishes, skewers of grills and many kinds of wine, sake and shochu. The coconut ice-cream merely looks luscious. It is underpowered in terms of flavour though its smoothness passes muster, and the coconut meat isnot tender.
6. COCONUT GROOVE DESSERT CORNER, OASIS BUSINESS CENTRE, LEBUH BANDAR UTAMA, PJ
The décor here is mostly glass and metal, giving the place a clinical ambience. Its specialties are coconut jelly and coconut shakes.
The coconut jelly can be topped up with nata de coco, aloe vera, red beans and cendol. Coconut fiesta is the latest addition to its menu. But, oh dear, something's not right here. The toppings are not on nodding terms with the coconut ice-cream which has a subdued flavour. The fresh, sweetish coconut water manages to save this dessert from being a flop.
7. JINJANG COCONUT SHAKE, JALAN JINJANG DAMAI 5, JINJANG UTARA, KL
Operating from the front porch of a doublestorey house, this stall sells coconut shakes of various flavours, fruit juices, snacks and noodles. It is popular with residents and students in the vicinity because of its economical prices. The coconut shake is served in a plastic cup, and is topped with vanilla icecream. Containing little or no milk, this blend refreshes the senses, and the ice-cream is smooth on the palate.
8. OWL ESPRESSO, MENARA RAJAWALI, JALAN SS15/8, SUBANG JAYA
A variety of Korean bingsu is offered here. There're also fried snacks, toast, coffee, tea and milkshakes. The coconut bingsu looks like a snowman sticking his head out of a coconut shell, and the coconut water comes in a cup. The coconut flavoured bingsu doesn't make an impression on my taste buds. Only the coconut water and coconut flesh deliver what is promised.
RATING: 2 half/5
9. BUKIT DINDING COCONUT CAFÈ, JALAN WANGSA DELIMA 5, WANGSA MAJU, KL
This cheery cafe is the king of coconut shakes. Its range of flavours include strawberry, mango, passion fruit, lime, yogurt, pandan, durian, kiwi, rosebuds, honey coco, Hershey's chocolate and the banana-andpineapple mix.
I sample the last option. The tart pineapple cuts through the subtle taste of the coconut. Add to the equation the smooth distinct banana flavour, and the blend quenches my thirst delightfully.
RATING: 4 half/5
10. COCONUT SHAKE GOMBAK, LORONG ANGGERIK 1, KG. SRI GOMBAK INDAH, BATU CAVES
This takeaway roadside stall sells original coconut shake, oreo coconut shake, coconut shake ice-cream and coconut water. Prices are competitive.
The first sip of my original coconut shake pleasantly jolts me with a vanilla flavour tempered with milk, which results in a rich taste. Midpoint between soupy and thick, it is texturally perfect.