Before popcorn made its way to the masses in Malaysia, our parents and grandparents would have gone to the movie theater with a small white paper cone in hand. Inside, an assortment of fried chickpeas, nuts, crisps, crunchy flour snacks flavoured with curry powder or other spices, fish flavoured chips, and more. This, ladies and gents, was kacang puteh.
Although we don’t have it at the movies anymore, kacang puteh has solidified its status as a perennial Malaysian snack. Like the country itself, it’s difficult to pinpoint one particular ‘type’, because they come in all shapes, flavours, colours and sizes. And Kampong Kacang Puteh in Ipoh is supposedly where it all began.
Dating back at least four generations, the businesses were founded by Indian families who came to then British-ruled Malaya in the late 19th century. To supplement their income, they ran small shops selling snacks. Many of these items originate from southern India, such as Murukku, Pakkoda and Omapodi, but the shops today offer a wide assortment of locally inspired flavours as well, such as tapioca chips and ice gem biscuits.
Everytime we come back to Ipoh, we buy a buttload to bring home and/or give away to friends and colleagues. There are several shops in town, but we often go to this one called D.N.S. Food.
Signs in multiple languages. The stuff is halal too so Muslim customers can enjoy them.
In Malay we call it ‘rambang mata’ ie ‘cross eyed’ because there are just too many types to choose from! My favourites are the fish murukku and the wheel-shaped snack that has no name lol but every Malaysian kid growing up in the 90s should know of.
If you’re buying in bulk, get these giant sacks of kacang puteh and eat to your heart’s content.
A small corner selling Indian sweets. I like them in small amounts because their desserts are just wayyyyy too sweet.
Very reasonable prices.
Nicely packed and sealed.
They’re not too expensive; you can get a big packet for a reasonable price. The next time you’re in Ipoh, be sure to stop by this area for your kacang puteh fix! 🙂
DNS Kacang Putih
No.46 Laluan Sungai Pari 4 Kampong Kacang Putih 30100 Ipoh Perak, 30100