Sandakan's most famous dessert - a tart shaped like a flying saucer - has arrived in Kuala Lumpur.
The "UFO tarts" were first introduced at Charlie's Cafe by Sabahan chef Desonny Tuzan, 43, and his wife Debra Leong, 37, when they hosted the venue for the launch of a travelogue series created by singer Juwita Suwito and writer Gina Yap.
"They launched 'Warisan Sandakan' at my restaurant and we wanted to serve a snack to fit the launch," Tuzan said.
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The tarts, also known as "Cow Dung tarts" due to their shape, were "born" over 50 years ago when Hainanese baker Fu Ah On accidentally "overbaked" his tarts.
They then became a popular traditional dessert.
According to Tuzan, his version differs slightly from the Sandakan version as he has reduced the sweetness of the dessert by 30 per cent and uses pure butter compared with the Sandakan version, which is much sweeter and uses margarine.
"People in KL are more health conscious, and our customers do not want margarine," he said, adding that he uses high quality ingredients such as pure butter and organic eggs.
Tuzan said expensive ingredients are used to make his UFO tarts, which retail at RM3(S$0.90) a piece.
"The butter used gives an aromatic buttery flavour, while the firmness of the meringue gives off a different texture in the mouth.
"The custard which is contained in the meringue offers a burst of flavour from the rich butter when bitten into," he said.
Tuzan said the tarts, which are very popular with customers, are only available in limited quantities to ensure consistency and quality.
"In West Malaysia, people don't have the privilege and honour to know this wonderful delicacy, and the original owner who created it actually did not share the recipe with anyone and died with it. It was never passed down.
"KL deserves to have a good dessert," he said.
Tuzan also disclosed that come March 1, a new savoury version would be launched, named "Ultra UFO".
Besides its tarts, Charlie's Cafe in Taman Bukit Desa is also famous for its durian cheesecake, D24 durian ice cream, chicken chop and most significantly, its "Pay It Forward" campaign, where diners can contribute RM5 for a free meal for the less fortunate.