Makansutra: Enjoy your chendol in four different styles
Check out the Chinese, Nonya, Indian and Malay versions of this popular sweet dessert
Some say this dessert hails from Indonesia.
But when I once spoke to the people behind the famous "cendol" stall from Penang, they claimed it's from the Indians, the original hawkers who sold it on their island.
The Peranakans may have made chendol well known, but it's surely not their creation.
Origins aside, the green slivers of pandan mung-bean flour jelly over crushed or shaved ice with fresh coconut milk and a good gula melaka syrup is incredibly moreish.
Chendol is one of the most beloved multiracial desserts in Singapore, and here are four different popular chendol styles that are comfortably addictive.
Old Amoy Chendol, #02-008, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, 10.30am to 6.30pm daily
Zhao Youning resurrected his late grandfather's recipe last November at his speciality hawker stall in Chinatown.
The pandan jelly comes pale and pastel green (a sign that it's hand-made)and he uses fresh cold-pressed coconut milk and palm sugar from Malacca.
The ice is soft and turns slushy after a few swirls (as it should), and the sweetness and coconut-ty richness balances the soft red beans and chendol jelly.
The transient staff is still not adept when it comes to making it, though. Out of the three times I tried the dish, one version was quite amateurish.
Nonya Chendol, #01-17, Whampoa Hawker Centre, 11am till sold out, closed Tuesdays
With a few outlets all over the island, this chain offers one of the best hawker stall cendols.
It's very consistent and on point, from the shaved ice to the gula melaka (with a hint of saltiness) and rich coconut milk.
There are durian, red bean and sweetcorn versions but go for the original all-cendol-only rendition.
I tried the red bean version and it came soft and just sweet enough, lending a mushy, paste-y texture to the dish. The pandan jelly has the richest and most intense aroma among the lot here.
Ar-Rahman Cafe, #01-247, Tekka Food Centre, 7am to 11pm daily
This one is different but still gets the same love from me.
The crushed ice delivers a lovely crunchy texture and the stall goes easy on the sugar.
When you let this sit, it turns into a sweet and milky cendol and red bean drink with bits of crushed iced - very similar to the Indian versions in Penang.
The coconut intensity is light, making it very drinkable.
Cendol Geylang Serai, #02-107, Geylang Serai Market and Food Centre, 9am to 5pm daily, (9am to 3pm on Mondays)
A big "No Red Beans" sign stares at you front and centre at this speciality stall.
This is the original version with soft shaved ice. The jelly is pale green and has a soft luscious texture and the balance of the rich coconut milk and sweet palm sugar is well-tempered to suit an evolved local palate.