Plop down on a hard seat in a street side restaurant or hawker centre and when you spot the vibrant cendols floating by to the other tables, it’s so hard to resist the temptation to order this creamy treat for yourself immediately! Cendol in its purist form refers to the characteristic green, worm-like jelly that is prominent in every form of this dessert. Toss in some diced jackfruit, and it’ll turn into dawet if you’re in Central and East Java. Add a generous heap of red bean and sweet corn instead and be transported to the heritage-rich and lively streets of Penang (or anywhere in Malaysia in Singapore really), where cendol is enjoyed with extra condiments and a generous drizzle of gula melaka syrup.
There’s more to this well-loved traditional dessert than meets the eye (and it’s already a colorful piece of work to behold!) – so dive in and discover what different cultures and nations have been adding to this classic treat for some future cendol-making inspiration.