The most popular Southeast Asian deep-fried desserts
Fried desserts are a common treat around the world. No matter how you make it or what you top it with, it seems like nearly every culture has a take on these sweet treats. Take a peek at these exotic treats that millions of people in Southeast Asia enjoy every day.
Kluai Thot, Thailand
Kluai thot, or deep-fried bananas, is a sweet street food item commonly found throughout Thailand. This Thai treat is traditionally prepared with peeled and sliced burro bananas, known locally as kluay nam wa, which are entirely immersed in a thin rice flour mixture, and then fried in hot oil until they form a crispy crust.
Kuih Keria, Malaysia
Kuih keria are Malaysian deep-fried doughnuts that are made from sweet potatoes. After they are steamed and mashed, the potatoes are combined with flour to form a pliable dough that is then shaped into doughnut rings. Unlike other types of doughnuts, this version is not leavened, resulting in somewhat denser texture. After they have been fried, the doughnuts are usually sugar-glazed or generously coated in white or palm sugar (gula melaka).
Pisang Goreng, Indonesia
Fried bananas or plantains are a common everyday snack eaten throughout Indonesia. They come in numerous versions in which the fruit is simply fried in shallow oil, but more often sliced banana pieces are coated in batter before they are fried until golden. Apart from numerous varieties, fried bananas also appear under different names such as godoh biu on Bali or gedhang gorèng on Java. They are traditionally sold at street stalls and carts and belong to a group of gorengan dishes—Indonesian deep-fried snacks. The more elaborate version of pisang goreng are served dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon, drizzled with chocolate, or accompanied by jams or ice cream. Similar banana-based dishes are found in other Southeast Asian regions and countries such as Singapore, the Philippines (maruya) and Malaysia (kuih kodok).
Falling in the group of popular lumpia snacks, turon is the famous Filipino treat made with saba plantains and jackfruit. The fruit is sliced lengthwise, dusted in brown sugar, enclosed in thin wheat wrappers, then fried until golden and crispy. Like other lumpia varieties, turon was also developed from the Chinese spring rolls and represents one of the most common sweet versions of the dish. Before it is served, it is commonly drizzled with caramel or sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. It is usually sold by Filipino street vendors and enjoyed as a sweet snack or a satisfying dessert.
Maruya are the famous Filipino banana fritters which consist of sliced or mashed bananas that are dusted with flour, battered, then fried until crispy. The fritters are usually made with Filipino saba bananas and can come in various forms which are often served lightly dusted with sugar. They are most commonly eaten as a light snack, sweet breakfast, or a filling afternoon dessert. These fritters are a favorite among children and can often be found at street stalls throughout the country.
Banana Cue, Philippines
One of the most popular sweet snacks in the Philipines is banana cue, made by deep-frying saba bananas which are generously coated in a thick layer of caramelized sugar. Because they are usually enjoyed as street food, the sweet bananas are often served on bamboo skewers. The unusual name stems from the term barbecue since caramelized bananas resemble pieces of golden-brown grilled meat. This Filipino classic is usually sold at street stands and enjoyed as a satisfying dessert or a quick afternoon snack.
Round, sweet, and chewy cascaron is a deep-fried Filipino delicacy usually served doused in sugary syrups. Often referred to as bitsu bitsu, this traditional treat is made with sweet glutinous rice flour, shredded coconut, and coconut milk. The dough is shaped into small round balls and deep-fried until golden and crispy on the outside. Although they can be served plain, these luscious balls are often smothered in various sweet syrups, such as the simple sticky caramel sauce or the traditional Filipino latik, the creamy glaze made with coconut milk and sugar. The incredible variety of textures and the mild flavor of coconut make cascaron one of the most popular Filipino desserts. Even though they are commonly prepared at home as a quick after-dinner treat, they are often sold as street food by numerous vendors who traditionally serve them skewered on bamboo sticks.