Photo by Banej
Tantalising and rejuvenating
Some felt that Malaysia should have been credited instead, given the dessert’s long heritage in the country, while others thought that CNN’s listing was justified, especially since they had rationalised their choice by explaining that the “addition of a scoop of sweetened red beans” enhanced the delicacy. It was even pointed out that chendol had some history in Indonesia.
Well, we’ll leave the argument to the anthropologists, historians, politicians and the food connoisseurs and delve into what made the dessert a fan-favourite.
Chendol is popular throughout South-East Asia, hence, there is some degree of difficulty in tying down the exact origins of the dessert, though many believe it had heavy influences from the Indonesian dawet drink. Sometime in the 20th century, Malacca’s and Penang’s iterations of the treat shot to regional recognition, and were (and still are) largely considered the best in the area.
Shaved iced form the base of this dessert, with the flavour enhanced by pandan leaf flavoured jelly, coconut milk, palm sugar (or gula melaka). Singaporean editions, and many Malaysian versions, also come with sweetened red beans, and/or durian toppings.
Where to get the best chendol in Singapore
Old Amoy Chendol
#02-008 Chinatown Food Complex, S050335
Four Seasons Chendol
210 Lor 8 Toa Payoh, #01-07, S310210
Kim Keat Palm Market and Food Centre, 22 Lorong 7 Toa Payoh
Soy Eu Tua Coffee Shop, 15 Upper East Coast Rd, S455207
1 Changi Village Rd #01-2046, S500001
Ren Ren Desserts
Katong Shopping Centre, 865 Mountbatten Road
If you are travelling to Malaysia
Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol
Lebuh Keng Kwee / Penang Road, Penang Island, Malaysia
Kwang Wah Ice Kacang
No. 5, Block C, Happy Mansion, Jalan 17/13, Section 17, Petaling Jaya
Aunty Koh Chendol
No. 5113, Jalan Batang Tiga, Kampung Bukit Rambai, 75250, Melaka.
No. 88, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200, Melaka 75200
Penang Road Famous Chendul
Jalan Penang, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang