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Is Cendol's Malaysian Cendol Better Than Ice Cream?

By Aug 15, 2019 Dining

TELL EVERYONE

Hot out there, isn't it. Just a lethargic slog from one oasis of cool to another. Here's a new one: a brightly colored dessert spot on Ruijin Er Lu, opened by a RAC chef and his wife. It's selling Malaysia's single best answer to beating the heat: cendol. It's also called Cendol. Benefits of being among the first to market, I guess, you can just call yourself the thing you sell. Devious! Is it better than ice cream? It's a complex––yes, yes it is.

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Okay, not actually the first to market, Food Fusion was here long ago, but this is the only place we know that just does cendol. It's a popular dessert across Southeast Asia, basically a bowl of shaved ice with palm sugar, coconut milk and pandan-flavored rice flour noodles. That's the actual "cendol," green, with a jelly-like consistency. You can add other stuff, red bean, corn or if you must, tapioca pearls and durian ice cream, but that's the basic formula. Otherwise you're just eating ais kacang, or kakigori, or some other regional variant on shaved ice in a bowl.

This is what cendol looks like.

Cendol Shanghai

Sorry, I meant that's what Cendol, capital C, looks like. Cendol looks like this.

Cendol Shanghai

Haha! We have fun here. But seriously, they've cornered the SEO on this with a chair and a bullwhip.

This is actually what cendol looks like.

Cendol Shanghai

They've got varieties based on provincial favorites, like the Melaka (sweet corn, red bean, tapioca pearls), the Penang (sweet corn, red bean, grass jelly) and the Ipoh (sweet corn, red bean, taro ball and basil seed), all of which cost about 30rmb. If you're not into those combinations (sweet corn is divisive), just make your own. Add-ons cost 2-3rmb. A dollop of durian ice cream will cost you 8rmb.

You've got the option of getting it as a tall coconut milk drink in a glass instead, for convenience.

Cendol Shanghai

We didn't get the one with durian.


It's all great. The squiggly green noodles are freshly made in-house and the imported palm syrup is good enough to eat with a spoon. Dentistry be damned. Ice cream be damned too, actually! Screw ice cream! Congealed cow urine, basically. Gross. Yuck. Cendol's cendol is a sweet, refreshing miniwonder that'll hydrate the gunk right out your system at the same time.

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Cendol, 39 Ruijin Er Lu, near Nanchang Lu. Full listing here.

TELL EVERYONE

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