Traditional Hainanese desserts are increasingly hard to find. Among them is the Hailam Ya Kueh, or Hainan Coconut Cake, which consists of boiled glutinous rice dough topped with crushed peanuts and grated fresh coconut in gula melaka.
The recipe is from Hainan, where there are abundant coconuts trees on the island. This and other traditional Hainanese desserts are prepared for customers on the spot by Madam Loong Choy Lan, of Jalan Pasar Baru, Melaka.
With Hainanese desserts maker
Loong Choy Lan, 56
14 Januari 2020
Ancestral Handmade Glutinous Rice Ball Tong Shui House 49 Jalan Pasar Baru
Operating Hours: 11am - 5pm (except Thursdays)
This business is about 50-60 years old, it’s from my father-in-law, Goh Twee Keng, who came here from Hainan after the war. I sell glutinous rice dumplings, Hainan coconut cake, red bean, black glutinous rice and white fungus jelly with gingko nut, all based on my father-in-law’s recipes. I used to come here when I was young, then when I got married I learned how to make them.
As far as I’m aware, and from conversations with my father-in-law, we’re the only ones in Melaka making this coconut cake. The dumplings [in a sweet ginger-flavoured syrup, also known as “Kuih Ee” by the Peranakan community] are more commonly available, used for festive occasions. We make ours with peanut filling.
I don’t know if my children will continue with this, if not, it ends with me.