A new era for a traditional dessert.
One of our favourite dessert discoveries from the last two years of the pandemic was Lady Wong, a small wife-husband business specializing in Malaysian/Singaporean kuih. We previously reviewed Lady Wong’s kuih delicacies on this dessert blog (see here), and recommended that you keep an eye out for its upcoming brick-and-mortar store. Well, that store has now opened in the East Village! It’s an attractive store, all gleaming mirrors and glass counters showcasing a veritable rainbow of desserts.
Over the course of many visits, we have sampled most of the current selection of kuih on offer at Lady Wong. Each slice of kuih is priced at around USD $3-4, and in the view of your Dessert Correspondents, would certainly make for a beautiful afternoon tea dessert platter idea. 😛
- Kuih Serimuka – we previously rated this kuih as Lady Wong’s particular forte (see here), and it remains a show-stopper. Whether crafted of a durian custard or a pandan custard, it’s all silky glory on top of a dense mouthfeel of glutinous rice.
- Kuih Talam – this would be our second favourite kuih by Lady Wong. There are two versions available; one featuring pandan and the other with gula melaka. The first has a beautifully-pronounced pandan flavour, counter-balanced with creamy coconut. The second is a little sweeter, and the coconut base has a saltier edge.
- Rose Cake – delicately fragranced with rose, this is a lovely morsel too.
- An Gu Kuih – traditionally imprinted, the shell of this kuih was desirably thin and chewy. Although our personal preference is where the centre is filled with ground peanuts or roasted coconut (see e.g., Little House Cafe’s version here), Lady Wong’s traditional version with mung bean is also excellent.
- Ondeh Ondeh – rolled in the freshest desiccated coconut we have had on this side of the world, each ondeh ondeh was bursting with gula melaka syrup.
- Kuih Lapis – during the early pop-up days of Lady Wong, the past iteration of this kuih was sadly, not peel-able, a trait we consider the best kuih to possess (see here). Fast forward a year, and each layer of this extremely photogenic rainbow-hued cake can be gleefully peeled apart. Similar to the Banh Da Lonh (Vietnamese pandan layer cake) however, the pandan flavour in the Kuih Lapis could be much stronger.
Aside from traditional kuih, Lady Wong also offers French patisserie-style cakes (USD $8-9 each), albeit infused with the flavours of South-East Asia. Of the assortment on offer, we have sampled the following:
- Pandan Panna Cotta – a simple, yet stunning sweet and salty creation where pandan, coconut and gula melaka were layered and melded together in a verrine. We featured this dessert on our round-up review of the best pandan desserts in NYC (see here).
- Sponge Cakes – the brown-toned Gula Melaka Cake was a little sweet even for us. By contrast, the Kalamansi Passionfruit Cake – constructed of coconut and vanilla cake sandwiching a twangy artery of kalamansi-passionfruit curd – this was our favourite sponge cake from Lady Wong.
- Mousse Cakes – there were a few different versions on offer, of which we have tried the vibrantly-coloured red lychee, sunflower-yellow pineapple, and pandan matcha. The first two were hard-shelled, and the mousse had a heavy cheesecake-like texture that tended not to keep well past a day or so, becoming slightly, oddly sour. By contrast, we have no hesitation in recommending the swirly pandan matcha — it is featured in our round-up review of the best pandan desserts in NYC (see here).
As we have said many times before (see here), South-East Asian cuisine (and certainly desserts) is rather under-represented in NYC. It has been wonderful indeed, though, to see it rising in popularity across NYC, and together with Kuih Cafe (the first kuih-focused purveyor in Manhattan), Lady Wong offers some of the best kuih in the city (along with friendlier service). Lady Wong’s weekly specials tempt frequent re-visits, and we certainly look forward to revisiting soon to order an extravagant kuih platter, or a large lapis legit cake for an upcoming dessert afternoon tea party! 😛
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Lady Wong’s Kuih, 332 East 9th Street, East Village, Manhattan.
- ☑ Budget: $-$$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Malaysian/Singaporean kuih and cakes.
- ☑ Must-eat: The “Serimuka” kuih and “Kalamansi Passionfruit” cake.
- ☑ The short and sweet story: A new era for a traditional dessert.