Cendol Malaysia is an iced dessert made of coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, and green rice flour jelly droplets. It is popular in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, East Timor, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, etc. Additional toppings, such as durian, sweetened red azuki beans, and diced jackfruit, can be placed on top of the green jelly.
Where did the word “cendol” come from?
According to the Malay Concordance Project, which gathers Malay texts, the term “chendol” was first used in Malaya in 1932 to describe one of the dishes offered in Kuala Lumpur.
The name “cendol” is thought to be derived from the word “jendol,” which refers to a swollen green worm-like rice flour jelly; jendol meaning “bump,” “bulge,” or “swollen” in Javanese, Sundanese, Indonesian, and Malay.
Cendol refers to the green rice flour jelly in most regions of Indonesia, while es cendol (in West Java) or dawet refers to the mixture of green rice flour jellies, coconut milk, shaved ice, areca palm sugar, and occasionally diced jackfruit (in Central and East Java).
Cendol is a dessert made from rice flour and other components that are filtered and then blended with palm sugar and coconut milk (for beverage), according to the Indonesian dictionary Kamus Besar. Whereas according to the Malay dictionary Kamus Dewan, it is a porridge-like drink containing long strands of rice flour in coconut milk and sugar syrup.
The History of Cendol
The origin of cendol is uncertain, but it is a popular sweet drink throughout Southeast Asia. However, it has been suggested that cendol originated as dawet in Java, Indonesia. The Javanese name “dawet” was first mentioned in a manuscript by Serat Centhini, written between 1814 and 1823 in Surakarta, Central Java, in the early nineteenth century. According to an Indonesian academic, a dawet sweet drink might be recorded in the Kresnayana manuscript, which dates from the Kediri Kingdom in Java around the 12th century. Dawet refers to the entire mixture of cendol green jellies formed from weren sagoo or rice flour, coconut milk, and liquid gula jawa in Java (palm sugar syrup).
Cendol, on the other hand, has evolved in different ways in many countries. In Indonesia, cendol exclusively refers to the green “pandan jelly served in coconut milk,” which may or may not include pandanus leaves or jackfruit bits. Unlike Singapore and Malaysia cendol and Singapore, where other ingredients like sweetened red beans and sweet corn may be combined in like an es campur, this is not the case here. The dessert is frequently served with ice, which may have evolved as ice became more widely available. It might have started in Malayan port cities like Malacca and Penang, where British refrigerated ships could provide the necessary ice.
Dawet, also known as cendol in Javanese culture, is an element of the traditional Javanese wedding ritual. The dodol dawet (Javanese for “selling dawet”) is conducted the day before the wedding during the Midodareni ritual. The parents would sell dawet to the guests and relatives who attended the siraman bridal shower. The dawet was paid for by the guests with terracotta coins that would be delivered to the bride as a symbol of the family’s earnings. The symbolic meaning was the parents’ wish for a large number of guests to attend the wedding tomorrow, “as many as the cendol jellies that are being sold.” Dawet street hawkers carrying pikulan (baskets with balance rod) are widespread in Javanese cities, as seen in this antique shot from approximately 1935.
The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture has designated five cendol-making traditions as intangible cultural heritage in Indonesia. In 2010 and 2018, three dawet (Javanese form of cendol) traditions were recognised, all of which were registered in Yogyakarta province. Dawet, dawet camcau, and dawet sambel are the three species. Es cendol was first recognised in 2016 under the West Java province, and cendol was first recognised in 2020 under the Riau Islands province. The Malaysian Department of National Historical has designated Cendol as a Malaysian heritage cuisine.
Best Cendol in KL and Selangor
Kwong Wah is well-known in Petaling Jaya and the surrounding areas. It’s a fan favourite on Cendol, ABC, and many more shows. For years, Kwong Wah was housed in Happy Mansion. They have, however, lately relocated to a new location, which is only a short distance away. What location are we talking about? Tujoh Cafe and Wild Sheep Home are nearby. Between both the Cendol and the ABC, the Cendol is the big favorite.
Address: 627, Jalan 17/8, Seksyen 17, 46400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening Hours: 11am-6pm (Tuesday to Sunday)
The Cendol here has become a top competitor for the dish, having gained the pride and attention of many local residents. When Malaysia’s hot weather calls, there’s always Cendol Klang, where you can stop for a quick bowl, or two, of a thirst-quenching divinity.
Address: 41, Jalan Nanas, Kawasan 18, 41400 Klang, Selangor
Opening Hours: 11:15am-7:30pm (Monday to Sunday)
Nyonya Cendol Café’s main dish is painstakingly crafted utilising ingredients created by hand every day, earning it a reputation as one of the best cendols in town. Every day, thirsty people flock to their doors for creamy coconut milk and particularly thick and juicy pandan worms. Since the café is in a mall, it’s a lot easier to find than roadside kiosks, and they have several branches as well!
Address: LGX25, Lower Ground Floor, The Summit Subang USJ, Persiaran Kewajipan, Usj 1, 47600 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Address: LG-08, Lower Ground Floor, Main Place Mall, Usj 21, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Address: CC-32, Concourse Floor, Tropicana Gardens Mall No, 2A, Persiaran Surian, Tropicana Indah, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Address: LG-48, Lower Ground Floor, Paradigm Mall, Jalan SS 7/26a, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm (Monday to Sunday)
What are the cendol ingredients?
The dessert contains green, pandan-flavoured worm-like shaped starch jelly (made with either rice flour or green bean flour), coconut milk, sugar syrup (gula melaka or palm sugar), shaved ice.
If you are ever interested in making cendol at home, here are the simple steps!
- Gula Melaka (also known as Palm Sugar)
- Coconut Milk
- Rice Flour
- Corn Flour
- Tapioca Flour
- Mung Bean Flour (also known as Green Bean Flour)
- Pandan Extract
- Pandan Leaves
- Kidney Beans (optional)
- Creamed Corn (optional)
How to make cendol:
- Palm sugar and water should be dissolved in a small pot over low heat. For added aroma, tie a pandan leaf and place it in the saucepan. Set it aside once it has simmered. Your palm sugar syrup is ready to use.
- To make pandan extract, cut and mix pandan leaves with water.
- Combine green bean flour, rice flour, corn flour, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix in the pandan extract thoroughly.
- Pour the ingredients into a pot or saucepan and heat on low until it thickens and becomes glossy. To keep the mixture from sticking to the pan, whisk it regularly.
- Remove the mixture from the pan and place it in a plastic bag.
- Fill a bowl with water and ice cubes.
- Snip the tip of the plastic bag and push the mixture to one side.
- Squeeze the mixture slowly into the bowl of cold water. Allow for 15 minutes of resting time or until firm. Your strands of green cendol are now ready to use.
- Add a pinch of salt to the coconut milk in a separate bowl and dilute it with water to taste.
- To serve, top with crushed ice, cendol strands, cream corn, and kidney beans, as desired. Finish with a dollop of palm sugar syrup and a dollop of coconut milk. After that, serve right away.