Malindi Halwa ($10) is a dessert you and I may not have heard of, but it certainly piqued my interest.

Halwa, or Halva(h), is the general term for a dense, sweet confection found across different geographical locations and cultures, notably the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.

I believe Kafe Utu's interpretation is that of East African halwa, a gelatinous flour-based dessert typically prepared with tapioca starch and/or cornstarch. True to its roots, these oblong blocks of Swahili "mochi" are made with dragon fruit juice (hence the vibrancy), hazelnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia, pistachio, and Malindi spices.

The floral sweetness was a bit much for me, although it was slightly offset by the light coconut yogurt and dukkah filo. Nonetheless, its mochi-like texture would definitely appeal to fans of kueh lapis sagu (9-layer kueh), or any Nyonya kueh of the bouncy, gummy variety.

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