A nascent business of kuih.
**June 2022 update: Lady Wong has opened up a brick-and-mortar storefront. Review of the new Lady Wong may be read here.
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NYC is finally back to life it seems. The trains are full of sweaty people, restaurant reservations are getting difficult to snag, offices are reopening. You may remember the various dessert care packages we had delivered while working from home during the past year — a galore of pastries from Supermoon, a pie sampler from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, pretty afternoon tea treats from Kitsby, boxes of cookies from Bien Cuit, all the ice cream from Dre’s Dessert and Sundae Service, and elegant chocolates from Borough Chocolates. This summer, one of the best things to look out for is not the dessert deliveries of yesteryear, but rather, dessert pop-ups. Lady Wong popped up on our Instagram feed one day, enticing us with nostalgic photos of Malaysia, Singapore and colourful kuih. A few weeks later, we visited its pop-up in the East Village on one of those NYC summer days where it feels like the entire Hudson River empties from the skies.
For $20, our tasting box came with six kuih, and two additional frozen desserts. Similar to Kuih Cafe in Chinatown, the flavour profile of Lady Wong’s kuih could have been more pronounced. Our favouite kuih of the box was the “Serimuka” — an ultra-smooth pandan custard layer, creamy yet with a light mouthfeel, sitting on a base of very fragrant sticky rice. A close second favourite would have to be the “Kuih Bingka,” with its caramelized tones and addictive chewy texture. As for Lady Wong’s “Kuih Lapis,” it was textbook perfect in terms of translucency, but each layer was not peel-able (a trait we consider the best kuih lapis to possess). The banana leaf-wrapped “Kuih Koci” had an intoxicating coconut aroma, but a slightly odd sourness in taste.
Of the two frozen desserts, the “Mango Mousse” was a lovely reminder of all the tropical travels that awaits once this pandemic is truly over. And the ondeh-ondeh inspired “Tiramisu” with its layers of pandan custard and palm sugar was rather memorable for its intense sweetness.
A month or two ago, we noted the emergence of what seems to be a new dessert trend in NYC – specifically, that of the growing prominence of South East Asian desserts. Although Lady Wong is still in the testing phase, there’s a lot of promise in its kuih. Be sure to look out for it in the future once full operations launch and the full range of kuih is made available for your dessert feasting.