Cover Kuih Cara Pandan (Photo: Aufa Che Ibrahim)

Kuih, an umbrella term for sweet and savoury bite-sized treats served in Southeast Asia, are so diverse that less common varieties may have escaped your attention. Learn about these kuih with unusual names, which remind us of Malaysia's rich culinary heritage.

1 / 5

Kuih Ulat Bulu (Caterpillar)

A close relative of the more common Kuih Buah Melaka, Kuih Ulat Bulu is also made from glutinous rice flour and rolled in grated coconut, the only appreciable distinction being the red bean filling and oblong shape that gives it its name. Popular around the west coast, there is nothing to fear about this tasty albeit dubiously named snack—save for the calories!

See also: 5 Famous Nasi Lemak Vendors In KL & PJ

2 / 5

Kuih Lompat Tikam (Hop & Stab)

The gorgeous traditional aesthetic of this kuih with its four-way colour combination makes us wonder why it sounds like a sadistic Olympic sport. Reminiscent of Ramadan bazaars, Kuih Lompat Tikam boasts textural complexity as the glutinous rice mingles with soft pandan pudding and silky smooth coconut milk in your mouth.

See also: 8 Adorable Desserts By Dominique Ansel That Asians Can Relate To

3 / 5

Kuih Puteri Mandi (Bathing Princess)

Sleek, shiny, and covered in sweet, sticky coconut shavings, this kuih will slide down your throat effortlessly and leave you wanting more. The aromatic pandan pellets doused in sweet, earthy Gula Melaka truly caters to the Malaysian palate, making this a tea-time favourite—once you finally stop pondering how it got its name.

See also: Why You'll Love This Halcyon Days-Inspired British Afternoon Tea

4 / 5

Kuih Badak Berendam (Soaking Hippo)

The refined look of this pearl-like kuih is unfortunately not reflected in its less-than-elegant name. Essentially chewy glutinous rice balls with a coconut surprise in the centre, the kuih is proof of the current trend of using coconut shavings in desserts—a beautiful utilitarian detail as coconut trees are abundant in our tropical country. Rest assured that no endangered animals are harmed in the making of this kuih.

See also: 5 Recipes For Avocado Afficionados

5 / 5

Kuih Tahi Itik (Duck Droppings)

A prime example of the importance of cooking methods, Kuih Tahi Itik shares the same ingredients as meringue—simply remove the condensed milk and stove-top stirring to produce the latter. Less commercial and more ceremonial, Kuih Tahi Itik is not easily found on any trip to the night market, so grab some when you do stumble upon any!