When icy service chills the desire for old-school desserts.
Last year, we made it our mission to seek out lesser known dessert spots in NYC. From a store specializing in milky tres leches cake, to two focusing on tofu pudding, a cafe offering a small selection of Filipino desserts, another with an array of sweet baked baos, two Georgian dessert spots, to Japanese cheese tart and Portuguese custard tart spots, we recently ventured further afield to Elmhurst in the borough of Queens to seek out more desserts. Aside from sampling a wonderful variety of Thai desserts on offer at Khao Nom, we made a stop at Little House Cafe for Malaysian Nonya kuih.
Little House Cafe is located on a somewhat decrepit, gritty street, and the entrance is similarly, not particularly eye-catching. It’s a no frills-type of place, and the grouchy, somewhat money-pinching, service style doesn’t do the place any favours. We still become somewhat irate thinking about the rudeness of the cafe’s staff, but if you can overlook the latter, focus on the glass counter stacked with kuih and other Malaysian desserts for $6 a box. Of all the desserts we tried from Little House Cafe, we would certainly return for the “Pandan Chiffon Cake.” It was a perfect study of light, pillowy chiffon, with just the right balance of pandan flavour. We featured it in our round-up review of the best pandan desserts in NYC.
By contrast, Little House Cafe’s kuih was sadly, hit-and-miss. By comparison, the kuih from Kuih Cafe and certainly, Lady Wong, were more consistently-made, softer and bouncier. At Little House Cafe, the “Kuih Lapis,” “Kuih Pulut Tekan,” and “Kuih Sago” were all rainbow-hued vibrance, but lacked any real depth of flavour. Texture wise, these kuih were also somewhat “hard.” More memorable was the beautifully-pressed tortoise cake, “Ang Ku Kuih,” dyed green instead of the usual red. The kuih shell erred towards being a little thick, though we loved its toasted coconut filling.
As much as we wanted to love Little House Cafe, we struggle to overcome the rude service staff we encountered and the somewhat flavourless kuih we sampled. While we would consider a return visit for the pandan chiffon cake, our hunt for the best kuih in NYC continues!
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Little House Cafe, 90-19 Corona Ave, Elmhurst, Queens.
- ☑ Budget: $.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Malaysian desserts.
- ☑ Must-eat: Pandan chiffon cake.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: When icy service chills the desire for old-school desserts.