TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines
his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...
by TV Smith
is the local alphabet soup with only one letter.
The "I" is made from green strips
of pandan flavoured rice flour. Looking more
like a serving of green worms, the drink remains
popular even with the recent onslaught of
fancy ice-blended concoctions. Served with
shaved ice, coconut milk and fragrant syrupy
brown sugar, it is a refreshing cold drink
on a hot afternoon. It is by no means a thirst
quencher though; one gets thirstier with each
drink is usually sold at the roadside by a
Indian hawker with a pushcart and a manual
ice-shaver. Outside its traditional domain,
the jolly green worms can usually be found
swimming in a bowl of melted ABC at food courts
and hawker centers. You can also find cendol
listed on the menus of Penang/Nyonya restaurants
and Malaysian restaurants abroad where it
is promoted as an exotic dessert. Having tried
different variations of the drink in neighbouring
Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, I still prefer
the local version.
I was curious when I heard of a shop dedicated
to cendol entirely, somewhere in Klang. Friends
from Klang would boast that they regularly
savour the best cendol in our galaxy, leaving
me green with envy. Not anymore. I was walking
along the streets of Klang yesterday, when
I stumbled into this shop, quite by accident.
The name of this famed establishment is as
unimaginative as it is intuitive. Simply known
as Cendol Klang, the signboard proudly
declares its 30-year heritage in a tag line
interior of the shop is typically Mamak-ish
with four rows of tables and immoveable stools.
One thing rather peculiar was the number of
'single' men and women patrons. There were
many who sat alone, slurping sheepishly and
silently. Hey, maybe this is Klang's version
of a singles bar. If it is, those clichéd
pick-up lines probably would not worked here,
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"No thanks, Mr Kiamsiap, it's
only one ringgit...."
Well, even if you feel flashy and generous,
you won't be getting anywhere either. Cendol's
the only drink served here and the stools
are bolted to the floor.
have been consuming cendol standing up and
outdoors for most of my life. This was a different
experience altogether. There is nothing as
fulfilling as sitting among rows of fellow
cendol connoisseurs, enjoying the drink under
a roof. The taste? The taste, for me, was
rather ordinary and even less appealing than
those selling around KL. The overly thick
coconut milk resulted in a strong santan smell
that drowned the normally aromatic brown sugar.
Maybe, that's the way Klang cendol aficionados
like it. I had mine plain but you can try
it with a few other flavours such as Giant
Red Beans, Pulut, Ice-Cream and Mixed (just
worse than Hail Amir singing without Uji Rashid?
A cendol stall operating without the rojak
man. I'm pleased to inform you that this specialty
shop does serve rojak and mee goreng as side
dishes. The shop is also fitted with several
overhanging, overbearing instructional signs
(pic right). A likely indication of the brisk
business they do during peak hours. Like many
other coffee-shop owners, their instinctive
and automatic reply was "Talipon Rosak"
when I inquired if they have a phone. So,
sorry folks, I have only the address:
78 Jalan Nanas,
Opens daily from 11:30am to 7:30pm
(Located next to Ayamas & Hai O Chinese Pharmacy)
text, photographs by and copyright © TV SMITH.
© 2003 TV SMITH
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