From icy bingsu to Japanese soufflé cheesecake and authentic Malaysian kuih variety boxes, the unique combinations of the Asian dessert and snack scene in Perth brings a rich culinary heritage to Western Australia.

Japanese soufflé cheesecake

Cakespresso in Nedlands opened at the end of 2023 to much fanfare for its eight-inch Japanese cheesecakes, which are one of its signature specialities. Also referred to as soufflé-style, they are often described as cloudy or cotton-like, yet it’s all about the wobble. This unique texture comes from the combination of meringue mix and cream cheesecake batter, which is then cooked in a water bath. You can also find an equally good version at Bee Fluffy in Joondalup.

Kuih

Missing the food of Malaysia, self-taught cook Connie Thame began making kuih for friends and parties while still a student. In 2021, along with Burmese-born, Singapore-raised husband Sithu, she opened The Layer Australia in East Perth, creating authentic Malaysian kuih variety boxes that change weekly inspired by her former home in Langkawi, with a recent pop-up selling out in two hours. These assortments of small snacks, also known as kuey, are a staple of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia using recipes passed down by Peranakan and Malay home cooks. Ingredients typically include glutinous rice, coconut, palm sugar, pandan, and bright colourings, with traditional red kuih still playing a vital role in celebrations and religious offerings. Around town, try your luck early at Enak Kopitiam in Willetton, Fugu8 in West Leederville, Malaysian food stalls at Spencer Village in Thornlie and Coventry Village in Morley.

 

The Layers Australia

Mochi

Initially favoured by the Japanese aristocracy to signify good fortune, mochi is often eaten during celebrations and served with green tea. These small, round, bite-sized pieces are named after mochigome, a sweet glutinous rice made into a thin, elastic dough that can be coloured and flavoured, so expect some bright versions. Mama Mochi in East Vic Park specialises in ice cream wrapped in homemade mochi with fresh Albany strawberries. Delicioso in Vic Park also offers mochi with its housemade gelato.

Leche flan

Similar in taste and appearance to crème caramel, leche flan originated from the Spanish colonisation of the Philippines. It is known for its rich mix of egg yolks, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk steamed to create a syrupy caramel sauce. Traditionally eaten at celebrations, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion. Lola’s Filipino Diner in Vic Park serves leche flan by the slice, while Pala 5 in Osborne Park includes cream cheese in its recipe. Kain Tayo in Midland is also worth a visit.

 

Leche flan

Pandan chiffon cake

This airy sponge is flavoured and coloured with the juices of Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves, which infuse the cake with light notes of vanilla and coconut. At Singapore’s Changi Airport, Bengawan Solo is famed for theirs, but closer to home, a local go-to is Esther’s in Northbridge, Ellenbrook, and Vic Park. Elizabeth Tan behind Made With Love Elizabeth bakes pandan chiffon cakes to order, and her ondeh pandan roll is a seasonal speciality. The former flight attendant started baking in 2007 while living in New Zealand, bringing her love for Asian baked goods to her new hometown of Perth.

Taiyaki

A Japanese fish-shaped waffle, Taiyaki is associated with prosperity and is traditionally filled with sweetened red bean paste and sold as street food. Batter Up Taiyaki at the Farmers Market on Manning offers vanilla custard cream, matcha custard cream, adzuki red bean, and a fortnightly special filling. At Whisk Creamery in Northbridge and Subiaco, you can fill your Taiyaki cone with gelato or sorbet – the matcha green tea and caramel Biscoff, two best-sellers. The Japanese Hinata Café in Fremantle also creates an authentic version south of the river.

Read more: The WAGFG Guide to Japanese Dining

 

 

Batter Up Taiyaki

Bingsu

Sometimes described as tasting like powdered snow, the bingsu at Perth’s first Korean dessert café, Hanabing in Northbridge, Korean Toast and Dessert, and Brown Spoon in Vic Park and Willetton all offer a classic version of this milk-based ice dessert that is often piled high with toppings, from red beans to diced fruit, whipped cream and ice cream.  Dessert Garden in Northbridge offers the Taiwanese version, which adds a layer of condensed milk to the crushed ice. The Malaysian style with beans, corn, and jelly is the go-to at Jom Kopitiam in Northbridge and D’Big Mama in Morley.

Hong Kong egg tarts

Arguably the optimum way to end a yum cha meal, the Hong Kong version of egg tart doesn’t have the scorched top of a Portuguese variety; instead, the creamy centre is wrapped in a flaky, puff-style pastry. Best eaten while warm, find them on the dim sum menus at Fortune Five in Northbridge, Canton Bay in Belmont, Dragon Palace in Cockburn, and Master Chang’s Bakery in Morley, Vic Park, and Thornlie, the latter for take-home packs.

Read more: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Perth in the Most Delicious Way

Images © Sue Yeap

Back to News & Articles