July 9, 2009
Penang Hawker Food : Stand and Deliver!!
(Looking at this photo - I realise that I have never actually studied the origin of the Chendul. Never thought that the Teochiews who are famous for their porridge are also famous for Chendul!! Have you wondered how dialectically divided we become when we come to food sometimes?)
I was in Penang in June this year. My first visit to Penang was in 1970. subsequently Ivisited the island several times. But each time I visited Penang it was always very pleasant and memorable.
Chendul or Chendol or Jen Luk is one of my favourite icy cold desserts. I have paid 20cents for a small glass in Sibu in the 60's to RM8/50 at a posh hotel in KL where the chendol on the menu was rather "fake" and the red beans were not even well cooked! The hotel chendol was definitely not the authentic stuff - something for the tourists perhpas!
But perhaps the best is this Penang hawker's chendul.The tables in the coffee shop are not enough. So any one in a hurry (like all People in Penang often are)- he usually stands and eats his chendul.
This chendul served by the Teochew hawker has real pandan fragrance. The beans are well cooked and satisfying. The milk is very thick and fresh. And the ice is shaved to the correct size to my liking - soft and luxurious on my tongue. And the green chendul is just so soft and lovely - it makes you feel as if your grandmother with the small soft hand is holding your small hands and the two of you are walking towards the Sibu cinema to catch a Huang mei tiau movie starring Lindai. The chendul conjures up the best of your memories of childhood.
Can I have another bowl please?
Talk about the term " Stand and Deliver!!" Hawkers do that every day in Penang!!