GEORGE TOWN: Chocolate, blueberry and salted caramel are the classic flavours that come to mind when cheesecake is mentioned.
Flavours such as durian, cempedak or sweet potato are exotic enough but what about cheesecake infused with salted egg yolk, black century egg and fried anchovies?
For nine years, the inconspicuous Moody Cow Café at Transfer Road has been the place for flavour junkies to indulge in the best and most adventurous cheesecakes in Penang and, perhaps, all of Asia.
“Moody Cow is known for its crazy cheesecake flavours. So, once you step in you have to be adventurous,” proclaims its 60-year-old owner Sunny Chang.
“You shouldn’t be scared, you have to give everything a try and you won’t regret it.”
The real test lies in Chang’s signature offering, Mystery Moon, which incorporates salted egg yolk, black century egg and fried anchovies.
“Back then it wasn’t a trend to use salted egg yolk as a flavour (for cheesecake),” Chang says, revealing that his love for salted egg mooncakes prompted him to add it into his cheesecake batter.
“I wanted to create something special, so I did something no one has ever done before,” he shares, adding that after his sweet and savoury cheesecake went viral on social media, others followed suit with salted egg yolk-themed snacks and desserts.
Moody Cow’s cheesecakes come in extra-large slices and each 500g slice (the entire cake weighs heavier than a newborn baby at 5kg to 6kg) can be easily shared by three or four persons.
“Normally, two to three people can finish one slice, but I had two female customers who ate three slices in one sitting,” Chang reveals.
Newbies who accidentally stumble upon Moody Cow are not only stunned by the extra-large slices but also the rather steep price range of between RM35 and RM58 per slice.
However, the prices are hardly deterring customers in other parts of Malaysia and Singapore craving for Moody Cow’s decadent cheesecakes, from sending in their orders.
According to Chang, his Singapore customers pay as much as RM90 for a slice, including shipping costs. The café also hopes to deliver its cheesecakes to its fans in Hong Kong in the near future.
Chang admits that he never expected much from his little café business as he opened Moody Cow with the intention of easing into retirement. He was then nearing the end of a fulfilling 30-year career as an interior designer and “back then it was a trend to open cafes”.
“When I opened the cafe, it was (meant to be) a retirement place for me to sit and invite friends over for a chat but now I’ve become so busy,” he says, adding that the cafe initially sold butter cakes until his friends voiced their craving for cheesecake.
Chang has created hundreds of different cheesecake recipes from his years of operating the café and each day, customers can choose from 30 different flavours.
Although Moody Cow’s signatures will always be its durian, cempedak and salted egg yolk cheesecakes, the owner has also been experimenting with creating cheesecakes laced with alcohol, with his latest treat being Hennessey High featuring layers of rich brownies with Ferrero Rocher chocolates nestled in between.
At RM58 a slice, Hennessey High is Moody Cow’s most expensive cheesecake to date and as Chang puts it, “a whole lot of love and alcohol went into it”.
“Others only put a teaspoon of alcohol but I pour half a bottle into one cake,” he laughs, adding that Hennessey High has been a hit with customers.
Chang says his cheesecakes have a texture that is different from others. “They don’t have that typical cheese smell and have the creamy texture of ice-cream,” he says, adding that the secret lies in his highly confidential cheese combinations.
Chang’s cheesecakes are so special that he has even turned non-cheesecake lovers into avid fans.
“I once had a customer who said his parents don’t eat cheesecake but I persuaded him to let them try some and now his parents keep asking for more,” he says with a laugh.
To find out more about Moody Cow Cafe, check out its Facebook or visit the café.
Moody Cow Cafe
170, Jalan Transfer
10050 George Town
Operating hours: 10 am to 10 pm (Daily)