Penang’s Swatow Lane Ais Kacang is not just an icy treat, it is part of the island’s heritage.
Penang — or nicknamed as Pearl of the Orient — boasts a wide diversity of culture, blend of historical heritage, and modern urban life. But above all, it is well-known for its gastronomic offers, some of which have been there for many years and are now part of the state’s history. One of them is none other than the legendary Swatow Lane Ais Kacang.
Affectionately known as Ang Tau Sng (Hokkien for iced red bean) Swatow Lane, the sweet dessert’s story began in 1923 when a Chinese immigrant by the name of Lee Kar Tee started selling this local delicacy from a pushcart at Swatow Lane outside the The New World open-air entertainment centre. Later in 1950, Lee Soo Khan took over the business from his late father Kar Tee.
Over the years, the business had to move out to a food court nearby when the centre was closed down for an upgrade. At that time, Lee Eng Lai (3rd generation) had in turn taken over from his late father, Soo Khan. It was not an easy job but Eng Lai was grateful to have both of his sons, Wah Onn and Wah Chai (4th generation) lending him a helping hand.
Well, like the English proverb says, every cloud has a silver lining. After operating for almost 15 years within the food court, the family-run business was moved to a permanent premise at the newly-refurbished New World Park. Boasting its huge signboard that reads Swatow Lane Ais Kacang, the shop is now hard to miss.
Ais kacang (literally means “ice bean”) also best known as Air Batu Campur (ABC). The original ais kacang in the old days was made of only shaved ice and red beans. As time passes, the variety of its ingredients have since evolved, making ais kacang a popular local dessert with various twists to it.
What sets Ang Tau Sng Swatow Lane apart from the rest is definitely its additional fruity punch. Ruling the ais kacang game for almost a century now, Ang Tau Sng Swatow Lane wows with its own magic by adding slivers of mangos, bananas, watermelons, papayas, and ciku, along with the typical ingredients like palm seeds, red beans, cincau grass jelly and a scoop of peanut ice cream perching atop the bed of flavours. Completing this wickedly delicious, iconic dessert is their special syrup which has been the talk of the town for decades.
A bowl of this legendary icy treat varies reasonably between RM3.50 and RM5.50, depending on size of the bowl and extras. It is indeed worthy of trying as the medley of ingredient gives different levels of textures and flavours by each sip.
Now, don’t you wish you can have a bowl for yourself?
102-E-1, New World Park, Jalan Burma,
10050 Georgetown, Penang.
9:00 am – 10:00 pm daily.