The one dessert you hear about over and over again in Ipoh, Malaysia, is the ais kepal, or iceball. These are softball-sized spheres of ice doused in sugary syrup. One of the more Instagram-friendly versions is made at Bits & Bobs in Kong Heng Square. But it was in that same square that we met Mr. OJ, a charismatic juice vendor who tipped us off to another Malaysian treat: ais buah-buahan/ais krim. This two-in-one dessert has a foundational layer of shaved ice with syrup (in this case, rosewater), but is less tooth-achingly sweet than traditional ais kepal. It’s also loaded with fresh fruit (mango, lychee, watermelon, jackfruit, etc.) and topped with peanuts, neon green tapioca pearls, and a scoop of creamy ube ice cream. This version is from stall No. 41 at Tong Sui Kai market off Jalan Sultan Idris Shah. It costs 6.50 ringgit ($1.50 USD) and feeds two to three people. Service can be a little gruff to start, but offer a thumbs up and an idiot’s smile and you’ll melt the workers like an iceball in summer.
Jln. Sultan Ekram, Taman Jubilee, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia; no phone.