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Ice Kacang/ABC (Malaysian Shaved Ice)

Ice Kacang/ABC (Malaysian Shaved Ice)
Ice Kacang/ABC (Malaysian Shaved Ice) pictures (1 of 3)

Other than BBQ, my summer favorite has got to be shaved ice—a thirst quencher and lovely dessert for the hot summer days. Shaved ice is very popular in Malaysia; called Ice Kacang (in Penang) or simply ABC elsewhere in Malaysia, it’s a popular dessert commonly sold by street vendors. In a hot and humid country like Malaysia, nothing beats the icy cold and pleasant dessert that soothes the throat and cools down the body. Plus, everyone loves the sweet-tasting shaved ice, with numerous toppings such as red beans, creamy sweet corn, grass jelly, attap chee (palm nuts), etc. You can also add ice cream, fruits, peanuts, and/or raisins…

The version I made this afternoon is the most common ones found in Penang. I would have used some palm sugar or gula melaka to flavor the ice kacang but I ran out of it. As a result, I used dark brown sugar instead, and added a little red coloring as ice kacang is always red in color.

Shaved ice has certainly become more popular in the United States now, with Chinese (Taiwanese) dessert shops sprouting all over Chinatown or Asian suburbs. It’s a great alternative to the likes of frozen yogurt, ice cream, or sorbet. Try it out!

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42 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. 99 Ranch has a small ice shaver (about $18) that works with normal ice cubes and the ice is quite fine, though not as fine as we get from the ice kacang seller back home.

  2. Yum! Miss Ice Kachang so much!

    Wasn’t brave enough to order it on my visit to M’sia last year. Kept being reminded not to eat uncooked stuff, so there was no chendol nor rojak either :(

      • Amelia

        I think it’s fascinating that in Asia we have variations of what is essentially the same thing. The Taiwanese shaved ice actually is pretty good because you really get the flavour of the dessert (especially the shaved solid dessert ice blocks versus just normal ice).

        I’ve always been told that M’sia’s water is not safe for drinking right out the tap. Singapore buys the water, purifies it and sells it right back so maybe I need to reconsider what I’ve been told.

  3. tom

    When I was growing up in Johor, it was called ice kachang. I only heard it was called ABC back in 2006 while holidaying in Malaysia.My cousin who is staying in Johor, told me and other cousins who are living overseas ABC stood for Air Batu Campur. Looks like the ‘older’ generation calls it ice kachang while the ‘younger’ generation calls it ABC

  4. Very soothing, thanks! Shaved ice seems to be eaten over Asia, and I love the lighter and watery texture than that of ice cream during high hot summer. That’s the great icy dessert Asian climate gave birth :)

  5. I must say I’ve always preferred cendol to ice kacang (not really sure why, I suspect it’s the coconut milk haha!), but your ice kacang looks so amazing that I would happily eat it. Lovely photos as always. :)

  6. I did not know it is also known as ABC…I thought ABC means that savory soup with corn and carrot. :P I like my ice-kacang with lots of attap seeds. Hey, I just bought my Ninja blender ( I remembered you recommended it in one of your posts some time back). Good buy for me as I have been making a lot of fruit/veg smoothie. Thanks.

      • I just depended on the pictorial instructions on the box. :) …can’t be bothered to read the manual. Hhahaha! I find myself using that same medium-size pod over and over again, for shakes/smoothies. The bigger pod for shakes/smoothies is too big and the other smaller pod (chopper) I have not used it since I still use a knife to chop most of my veggies. Heh heh…But I know all will be useful some day. :D

  7. This is so interesting! I’ve never seen anything like it, but somehow I want a bite (smile). I’m going to click on that grass jelly link…

  8. This has got to be the most adventurous ( in terms of toppings) shaved ice ever. Wow I am only used to shaved ices being drenched in syrups. A condensed milk topping is as adventurous as I get.

  9. Ice kaakng is my fav summer treat–I like it more than ice cream (Shh…)..sometimes when we can get the stuff from the Asian market…we add jack fruit, purple yam and flan to it and it’s perfect!

  10. L.A. Daze

    Now I have a craving for this! I can just taste it…sigh…i’ll have to wait until December to be able to eat such things :(

  11. Ice Kacang is just a simple mix of shaved ice, kacang, jagung, lengkong, milk and syrup just like in Ais Kacang lyric(Malaysia kid song)

    ‘Ais kacang, ais ais kacang
    Bila cuaca panas dan rasa dahaga
    Singgah di gerai, ais kacang dipinta
    Susu dan jagung
    Kacang dan lengkong
    Air gula berwarna…

    Campur semua
    Enak rasanya
    Kegemaran kita semua’

    But when people start to mix it with other ingredients such as, laici, longan, ais cream and many more, then it become ABC(Air Batu Campur-Mixed Ice)which suit it best…However, for older generations, this will always be a Ice Kacang.

    • AJ – thanks for the lyrics of the wonderful song. I am sure it’s a sweet song. Thanks for your explanation, I never understand the difference between the two, and now I know. :)

  12. simply delicious! and this is very similar with Filipino dessert, we call, Halo-halo. Its just that we put usually put the toppings first on a glass and topped with shaved ice, leche-flan and ice cream.

  13. betty

    For a shortcut version of durian ice cream…we only have frozen durian here so I mash the pulp and just add it to the best vanilla ice cream in the grocery store…voila…instant durian ice cream without the fuss! But since the durian is sweet enough, I add it to the light vanilla ice cream…less sugar added!

  14. eokg

    The best ice kacang in Penang is at Hot & Spicy Cafe, Jalan Air Itam (main road), in front of the old Choon Nam cinema, opposite Public Bank Air Itam branch, just a few doors away from Shell petrol station.
    RM2.80 per plate with ice-cream.

  15. Jahnavi

    Just wanted to say that I love this dessert. I had a couple of times at malaysian restaurants and its yummy. I like how they blend different flavors into one. We have a similar dessert in Indian cuisine which is called Kulfi Falooda whichalso has different ingredients mixed into one.

  16. didie

    i came from johor. over there they serve chocolate syrup and ice cream over ice kacang. and salted toasted peanuts to top it off. u might wanna try it, it’s yummy!
    ps: looking at ur food blog makes me wish im back home! but thanks for the wonderful recipes! great job! :)

  17. Michelle

    Ahhh new discovery, I was wondering how Ice Kacang can be made without the ice shaving machine. The idea of using a blender is genius!!!

    P.S. I love your blog

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