WHILE today’s younger generation may have been exposed to fanciful dessert offerings like frozen yogurt, gelato, soft serves and whatnot , there will always be a place in the heart for good old local desserts. One such offering is our local favourite Cendol — a sweet sensation consisting finely-shaved ice that’s loaded with gooey Gula Melaka syrup, coconut milk, red beans and the soft and chewy green cendol strands. Here are some of the best cendol offerings we have for you.
Sulaiman’s Famous Cendol & Rojak
In the midst of a crowded Pudu market sits a plain-looking Indian Muslim stall that sells awesome cendol. It might look deceptively simple, but you’ll be amazed with the tasty result, even if you go for their normal serving. Not only the ingredients are plentiful, the well-balanced combination of Gula Melaka syrup and fragrant coconut milk mixes well with the soft kidney beans and slurpy cendol strands. It’s sweet but not overwhelming, and it’s refreshing enough to tempt you for a second serving.
Tips: Don’t worry if your Malay language is rusty since Sulaiman, the owner, speaks fluent Cantonese.
Things to expect: Apart from dessert, a good deal of food items like Mee Rojak Sotong.
Best recommended (with): Cendol Pulut, Cendol Jagung and Ais Batu Campur
Restoran Wahab (halal)
Calling it ‘the best cendol in town’ would be an overstatement but Restoran Wahab does provide a wide variety of colourful cendols to choose from. It’s not every day that we get to see a bowl of ice cold cendol with jackfruit topping. If you want something that challenges your tastebuds, try their Cendol Special — a rich concoction of ABC-like ingredients such as ice cream, banana, sweet corns, tapai ubi (fermented tapioca), pulut (glutinous rice) and barley. Yes, that’s a lot of ingredients and is not meant for those with weak stomachs, especially if you plan to wipe clean the bowl on your own.
Tips: Cendol durian is also available, but only during durian season.
Things to expect: A combination of classic and contemporary cendol.
Best recommended (with): Cendol Pulut and Cendol Jagung.
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul @ Cheras Leisure Mall
If you’ve been to Penang, any local will tell you to not leave the state till you’ve tried their cendol at Lebuh Keng Kwee. The cendol stall there, however, has expanded into a successful business empire throughout Peninsular Malaysia. So what makes Penang Teochew Cendol so popular? For one thing, it all lies in the subtle level of sweetness derived from the combination of cendol strands, red beans, coconut milk and the aromatic Gula Melaka syrup mixed altogether.
Tips: If you’re adventurous enough, there’s even a unique blend of Teochew cendol with white coffee or cempedak filling.
Things to expect: Authentic Penang-styled desserts and main course.
Best recommended (with): Penang Curry Mee and Rojak.
Grandmama’s @ Pavilion Kuala Lumpur (pork-free)
Most of the best cendols come from humble roadside stalls but the Grandmama’s air-conditioned restaurant in Pavilion KL is no slouch either with their authentic cendol offering. Price may be relatively steep but the cendol here is really something to try. It’s sweet, creamy and has a bountiful of cendol and sweet corn over the finely-shaved ice. The portion too, is big enough to be shared.
Tips: You can control the sweetness ratio of your cendol since the Gula Melaka syrup is given separately.
Things to expect: Delicious local food in a comfy environment.
Best recommended (with): Grandmama’s Nasi Lemak, Nasi Ayam Istimewa and Chilled Mango & Pomelo Cream.
Nothing cools us better than a nice bowl of cendol say after a visit to Zoo Negara or a hike up Bukit Tabur on a hot day. If you are in that vicinity, do stop by Khan’s Cendol at Taman Melawati. Their best-seller is the one with scrumptious pulut filling. A combination of different fillings is possible as the ultimate cendol has red bean, pulut, sweet corn and durian or tapai. Now that sounds like a heaven.
Tips: Don’t be shy about requesting higher (or lower) level of sweetness
Things to expect: More than 10 cendol varieties to choose from
Best recommended (with): Try the rojak sotong from the next stall.
Straits Food Company (pork-free)
It’s strange that this Nyonya restaurant only offers one type of dessert in their menu. Lucky for us, that dessert is cendol. The Straits Food Company’s version of cendol is a nice complement to your meal. The mountaintop of shaved ice almost resembles an ice kacang presentation but it is a delightful blessing of creamy coconut milk, sweet kidney beans and flavourful Gula Melaka.
Tips: Relive your childhood memory by purchasing their old-fashioned biscuit varieties from the black-squared container (RM2 per pack) located nearby the counter.
Things to expect: Local Nyonya delights in an old-school setting.
Best recommended (with): Pai Tee, a traditional Peranakan snack filled with chopped vegetables, egg strips and fried shallots wrapped inside the crispy “Top Hat” pocket.
Check in at Checkers Damansara Height for a bowl of cendol that comes with a generous amount of grass jelly strips, canned longan, sweet corns, cashew nuts and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Instead of the usual Gula Melaka syrup, Checkers’ Cendol is drizzled with rum
Tips: Reservations are advisable.
Things to expect: A cozy establishment located at a quiet part of Damansara Heights.
Best recommended (with): LOTR (no, not Lord of the Rings but Lord of the Ribs).
Ahroy Thai Cuisine (pork-free)
Malaysia may be renowned for its cendol assortments but our neighbour Thailand too has come a long way with their cendol inventions. Available with or without durian ice cream, the Thai Cendol is a refreshing paradise of shaved ice and thick Gula Melaka syrup and rich coconut milk. If you need a dessert to calm your senses after a hot and spicy Thai Meal, this one definitely hits the spot.
Tips: Come early or make a reservation, especially during weekends.
Things to expect: Large dinner crowd. This Thai restaurant also offers catering, which includes Pattaya Menu (RM29.90 per pax); Phuket Menu (RM38.80 per pax); Krabi Menu (RM39.90 per pax) and Koh Samui Menu (RM41.80 per pax).
Best recommended (with): Water Chestnut with Coconut Milk (Red Ruby).
*This article was originally published at foodadvisor.my. It is republished here with permission.