Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Moody Monday: Icy

Shaved ice Posted by Hello

The cendol makers and seller in Kuantan are mostly Indians and most are a family trade. One has produced such a delectable cendol (the green strands made from a concoction of green bean flour boiled along with pandan until a thick pasty dough forms) that he turned into a distributor instead and has been supplying the bulk of cendol sellers in Kuantan. The cendol though often associated with the green strands is often used to describe the dish entire. Shaved ice is produced either by hand or using a shaver, this is then lathered with coconut milk (santan) and top off with milk or gula Melaka (brown sugar) with the cendol strands. One can also opt for the addition of kidney beans or red beans and even pulut (a glutinous rice cake wrapped in leaves and grilled) into your cendol.

In the old days (80s to 90s), the Indian sellers often go from place to place on their bikes with a carriage hitched by the side carriage that holds the ingredients and tools to make cendol. They would peddle from area to area mostly in the hot afternoon where swarms of thirsty and hot patrons would enjoy the cool mix under the shade of a tree. You can see people young and old, school children and working class adults all congregating on the stall, some standing others sitting on the low wooden stools, yet all in unison in enjoying the moment. Others often open permanent stalls where people frequent to have a light snack of pulut and maybe even some mamak (Indian food) savouries such as rojak (a mix of sliced vegetables, fish cakes and cuttlefish that is served with a thick prawn paste) or fried noodles Indian style. Sadly now most of these transient sellers are getting less frequent and most of the time one can only find cendol in food courts. But eating a bowl of cendol after school is an unforgetable experience.

Another varient of the shaved ice is the air batu campur (ABC) or ice mix (akin to the Halo halo in the Philippines). Here shaved ice is served with a concoction of atapci (sea coconut), red beans, sweet corn, cincau (grass jelly), coloured jellies, lychee, cendol, peanuts, ice cream and any number of ingredients. Surprisingly I can't seem to find cendol anywhere here in Sabah and am craving about it, ever since I read about it in Lilian's blog.

While in Kuantan there are a few stalls that you can stop by and I can assure you its the best in town. Passing along Jalan Teluk Sisek, a stall in the Midnight food center and beside the Shell station you can find one of the better cendols around, also served together are pasembur/Indian rojak so you can have a nice hot meal and down it with the icy concoction. Another good place for cendol is the Air Putih Cendol located at the intersection of Jalan Air Putih and Jalan Beserah in a little cubby hole next to the Acer computer building. Here the owner specializes in ABCs and cendols.

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