Whether it is shredded, turned to custard or jelly, whipped into ice cream or sprinkled onto a cookie, coconut holds a reserved status in the realm of dessert. Here is the list of the best coconut desserts worth trying as you travel the world.
ALFAJORES FROM ARGENTINA, CHILE, URUGUAY, COLOMBIA, PERU, BOLIVIA
These butter cookies are popular throughout South America, especially Argentina, Peru and Uruguay. Two cookies sandwich a layer of creamy filling which is then topped with powdered sugar and rolled in coconut or dipped in dark chocolate. Rumour has it that the name for this cookie probably comes from the Arabic word al-hasú, which means “filled”. This dessert is both made at home and sold in supermarkets or convenience stores around South American countries.
ES TELER FROM INDONESIA
Originated in Jakarta, where the idea for the drink came to its creator in a dream, this fruit cocktail could also be considered Indonesia’s national beverage. The refreshing concoction combines coconut flesh, chopped jackfruit and avocado in a dish filled with shaved ice, coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. Today, many sellers modify this drink with other ingredients such as cincau, cocopandan syrup and kolang-kaling. You can also easily find this drink anywhere on the street, especially in Java or in any food court.
ONDEH-ONDEH FROM MALAYSIA
Ondeh-ondeh is one of the traditional dishes in Malaysia. This mouth-watering dessert in Malaysia is bright green glutinous rice balls wrapped in a furry coat of grated coconut. Each bite into the small dessert brings the sensation of liquid palm sugar bursting in your mouth. Variations are also made in Brunei and Singapore. In Indonesia, these sweet balls are called klepon.
BUKO PANDAN FROM THE PHILIPPINES
A popular summer treat, buko pandan is a Filipino cold dessert that features vibrant green cubes of pandan-flavoured jelly, young coconut meat and sweetened condensed milk. Buko pandan is typically served during a Filippino salu-salo, a dinner party or gathering amongst friends and is especially popular around Christmas. Buko panda is a version of samalamig, which are sweet beverages featuring jelly ingredients.
ITIM KATI FROM THAILAND
For all ice cream lovers alike, this Thai-style ice cream will blow your mind. Itim kati is made with rich young coconut cream and is served in a coconut shell. It can be customised with many types of toppings such as peanuts, sliced mango, condensed milk, red beans, corn and sticky rice. Aside from itim kati, Thailand also serves coconut ice cream in sliced bread buns as a treat, called itim khanom pang. This dish is widely sold by roving street vendors throughout the country.
QUEIJADINHA FROM BRAZIL
Originated in Portugal, but queijadinhas are now very popular in Brazil, especially in the Northern region. Known as one of the most delicious Brazilian sweets, queijadinhas look like a firm coconut custard. The inside of the queijadinha has a looser, pudding-like texture from the parmesan cheese, coconut and condensed milk filling. If you want to get an insight into traditional Brazilian desserts, make sure to try this sweet favourite as you are in Brazil.
COCONUT BURFI FROM INDIA
A popular dessert in India, these bite-sized coconut rectangles have a texture similar to fudge. Instead of chocolate, coconut burfi is often made with milk and sugar, then flavoured with cardamom. Coconut burfi is a popular treat to serve at celebrations like Diwali. On such special occasions, burfi is often topped with edible silver leaf. The name for this dessert might derive from the Persian word barf, which means “snow”, due to the fact that the primary ingredient is shredded coconut.