Cendol and ais kacang are well-loved shaved iced confections with coconut or evaporated milk, palm sugar and an assortment of goodies. Here are seven places in Malaysia where you can find this confection at its best.
PENANG ROAD FAMOUS TEOCHEW CHENDUL, PENANG
Tucked away in an alley off the busy Jalan Penang, this cendol stall has been in business since 1936. That’s a long time to perfect a family recipe, and the result is a bowl of ice-cold goodness. The cendol here is creamy with finely shaved ice, and generously filled with kidney beans, homemade cendol, fresh coconut milk and palm sugar. It’s possible for a sit-down at the Joo Hooi coffee shop next door, but most punters have their cendol on their feet. The business has spread its wings to branches in shopping malls in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor.
CENDOL PAK AKOB, SELANGOR
Situated across the mosque in Section 16, Shah Alam, this residential favourite takes its cendol seriously. Stall owner Pak Akob uses the freshest ingredients and makes his own blend of sweet brown syrup. A standard bowl comes with a heaping of cendol and red beans, but Pak Akob offers a variety of fillings such as pulut (glutinous rice) and peanuts. For a taste of the unusual, go for the tapai, a sweet-tasting fermented rice that somehow works with the creamy sweetness of this dessert.
AH KEONG, KUALA LUMPUR
Operating out of a simple cart around the corner from YWCA in Brickfields, this husband-and-wife team has been selling bowls of these icy treats for the past 11 years. On the menu are ABC and cendol, and you can ask to customise the fillings. The finely shaved ice, drizzled with evaporated milk, rose syrup and gula Melaka, hides an abundant helping of cendol, cincau, creamed corn and red beans. If you have a nut allergy, this is the ais kacang for you as it comes without roasted peanuts. The cendol is equally refreshing.
Ais Kacang literally means 'peanut ice', and is sometimes called ABC or Air Batu Campur (mixed ice)
AUNTY KOH, MELAKA
We head south from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka for a taste of Aunty Koh’s cendol. The coconut milk is rich and fragrant, the gula Melaka lusciously sweet, and the cendol fat, springy and a beautiful shade of green. What’s more, she keeps supply exclusive. Operating out of a makeshift shack on residential land, the business is only open on weekends, from noon until the last bowl is sold (that’s usually by 2pm).
WENG KEE, PETALING JAYA
The ais kacang here combines roasted peanuts, creamed corn, azuki beans, jelly cubes and cincau (grass jelly) with a liberal dose of evaporated milk and gula Melaka. At first glance, it’s an unassuming heap of compacted ice - you have to dig your spoon into its powdery structure to get to the treasures at the bottom. Mix it all up for a sweet and flavourful icy treat.
ANSARI FAMOUS CENDOL AND BISMILLAH CENDOL, TAIPING
Taiping is a pleasant town in Perak, famous for its leafy Taiping Lake Gardens and for being the wettest area in the country. Here, a day is presumed to be rained on until proven otherwise. If you find yourself caught in a thunderstorm and on Jalan Barrack, wait it out at either of these two cendol hotspots. Both have been operating for years and are equally popular. Can’t make up your mind which to have? We say go for both!