Indonesian ‘cendol’ different from Malaysia, Singapore

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) – Traditional iced dessert cendol is in the spotlight as it was included on CNN’s 50 of the World’s Best Desserts published on Saturday. However, the fact that CNN mentioned cendol as a Singaporean dessert had upset our Malaysian friends.

“Versions of this blissfully cool dessert can be found throughout Southeast Asia, but with the addition of a scoop of sweetened red beans, Singapore’s take on the classic treat remains especially tempting,” writes CNN.

Many had gone to social media and expressed their anger upon reading the news. Some also mentioned that cendol is from Indonesia. But before you get into the online debate, let us give you a lowdown on what Indonesian cendol is all about.

Indonesian food expert William Wongso told The Jakarta Post via telephone on Tuesday that cendol is not only available in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, but also other Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

In regard to Singaporean/Malaysian cendol, William said it was different from Indonesian cendol. If you see the Singaporean or Malaysian version of cendol, you will discover a colourful bowl of dessert, comprising worm-like green jelly, sweetened red beans and, sometimes, sweet corn served with palm sugar and coconut milk. Indonesian cendol is less colourful as it only comprises green jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar.

“In Indonesia, cendol, also known as dawet in Java, only refers to the (pandan jelly served in coconut milk),” he said, saying that some may put pandanus leaves or jackfruit to add more aroma. “In Singapore, the cendol is mixed with other (ingredients), unlike our cendol,” he explained.