sibu famous jelly pisang

I was having pre-dinner drinks at Peppers Cafe earlier today before finally capitulating and ordered the Sibu Famous Jelly Pisang (RM 7). It is described as “Fresh banana slices with strawberry jelly in sugar syrup topped with shaved ice, finished with Ideal milk and laced with strawberry syrup”.

I’m from Sibu and I’ve never heard of such a concoction before, much less with a “famous” tag preceding it. *squints suspiciously

tanahmas

However, it seems that there really is such a dessert despite my initial skepticism and dark thoughts about fleecing unsuspecting tourists. Eddy told me that Jelly Pisang was a very big thing back when he was a teenager – all his Malay friends would eagerly go for a bowl on a particularly hot day.

I’m not sure if it’s a Sibu thing or more of a Sarawak thing but anecdotes seem to suggest the former. This is further confirmed by Arthur’s blog post about it and a mention of it being a specialty of Ban Chuan Coffee Shop way back in the days.

jelly pisang

Jelly Pisang (banana jelly) is delicious – there is no sweetener in the iced concoction, the shaved ice only has cordial (for color) and evaporated milk.

However, when you bite into the huge mass of jelly, you get an intense sugar rush. The jelly forms 1/3 of the entire dessert and sets at the bottom. You scoop up large chunks of it like ruby red sugar icebergs when you dip your spoon down. There’s no fine dicing (a sure indicator of mass production) here, which is a good thing.

peppers cafe

The Jelly Pisang is really quite nice, as the unsweetened shaved ice contrasts nicely with the saccharine sweet in-house made jelly. The banana slices are lovely too. However, it seems that time has not been kind to this particular dessert.

It has largely fallen out of favor and is now mostly available in cafes and restaurants under “Local Desserts” as a historical ode to days gone by, instead of stalls.

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8 Responses to “Sibu Famous Jelly Pisang”

  1. ooh i never heard of this dessert before. sounds interesting. banana soaked in evaporated milk and jelly…

    • Hello Michelle! :)

      Yeah, me too, I thought it was something made up but it really is a local Sibu dessert back in the days. I just missed it coz I wasn’t old enough.

      It’s delicious too, the trick is to make the jelly REALLY sweet with a citrus tang so it goes well with the shaved ice with evaporated milk. :D

  2. Peppers’ too sour – not to my liking. I prefer Payung’s even though it has ice cream – not quite like the original. Hey…I see familiar faces – Eddy…and Anthea! ;-)

    • I liked the sweet jelly with a slight sourish tang. It tastes like the jelly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream that KFC used to sell. Heh.

      I haven’t tried the original before. T_T

      Do you know where to get it?

      I should try Payung’s as well.

      Yeah, we went out for dinner and drinks last night. :)

  3. oh nice one! never heard of this until today. its sad that how some of this traditional dishes goes off unseen by time these days with so much competition domestically as well as incoming desert influence from other continents. =(

    • Same here bro!

      I’m from Sibu and I’ve never heard of a “jelly pisang” being hugely popular in Sibu back in the days.

      I’m with you on that but it’s inevitable – globalization allows food from all over the world appear in the dish in front of you and the local “old” desserts just gets thrown to the side of history’s path. :x

  4. HB, glad you share to everyone this special treat from Sibu. Is it like Taiwan shave ice? Hawaii is changing now with so many Taiwanese setting up shaved ice shops and people love there it so different from the Hawaii shave ice .They like Hawaii for it like their homeland of Taiwan.

    • Hello Vickie!

      Nope, it’s different from Taiwanese style shaved ice…there’s actually a lot of different shaved iced desserts locally…

      e.g. ABC, cendol, bubur cha cha, and now jelly pisang.

      They all taste different. :)

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