We're going to go out on a limb (with non-Malaysian, southeast Asian readers) and assert that when it comes to sweets, Malaysia rules in the region. Kuih (a generic word for sweet 'cakes', though there are savory kuih as well) are thick on the streets here; it's difficult to drive (does anyone walk, in Kuala Lumpur?) more than a couple of blocks without running into a sugary something or other.
That said, all kuih are not created equal (nor are kuih vendors). There are two kuih that we simply cannot pass by without stopping to make a purchase: putu piring and kuih ketayap (also known as kuih tayap and kuih dadar).
We think we've found an exceptional version of the latter - a sort of pancake tinted green with pandan leaf and rolled around a filling of grated coconut and palm sugar - in Brickfields. The Malay sweet is sold, ironically, from an Indian vegetarian stall. Look past the mounds of curry puffs and various other deep-fried whatchamajiggers to the green, individually wrapped logs.
What places these ketayap a notch or two above the average version is their heavy-duty toastiness.
Usually the palm sugar and grated coconut that stuff a ketayap are fried together, with a knotted pandan leaf, until the sugar starts to melt and the ingredients meld into one. This vendor, by contrast, toasts the coconut on its own, bringing it to a golden brown before adding palm sugar. The only thing more wonderful than grated coconut is toasted grated coconut. These ketayap evince a heady toasted coconut fragrance (you can almost smell the coconut before you taste it) that plays up the natural smokiness of the gula Melaka.
For hardcore fans of these two ingredients (that would be us), it doesn't get much better.
Khui ketayap stall, southern end of Jalan Tun Sambanthan on a corner across from Vidaya Curry House, Brickfields. Daily from about 3pm.