Folks, this is THE most famous cendol stall in Penang! Many proclaim it to be the best on the island. Just remember, it’s located in Penang Road in Penang!
Technically, it’s in Keng Kwee Street off Penang Road. But no worries, just ask and the friendly locals will point you to the right direction!
Interestingly, directly opposite the No.1 stall is another cendol stall. They claim to be just as good as the original!
So how will the clueless out-of-towner know which is which? Easy!
The original stall…
…is perpetually crowded…
…while its rival has a trickling stream of customers, like these two motorcyclists who find it more convenient to just grab and go at the less crowded stall.
Some Penangites say that the original stall’s standard has dropped due to ridiculously good business. Like any self-respecting foodie, I did a taste-test of the two!
*drumroll* Without further ado, let the Great Penang Cendol Face-Off begin!
The first slurp had me gushing, “Mmm…what kind of gula melaka did they use? It’s out of this world!” Now I know why people swoon over Penang cendol. It’s the top-grade gula melaka they use that make it so special. So rich, smooth, and complex!
The rival’s cendol is also excellent, but if you compare closely, they’re slightly different. Let’s do a detailed analysis.
The cendol from both stalls are similarly made out of four main elements: gula melaka, fresh coconut milk, green bean noodles, and red bean.
Both stalls use top-grade gula melaka.
Both stalls use fresh coconut milk. Very fragrant and smooth. However, Rival Stall’s coconut milk is more lemak (creamy); Original Stall’s is more diluted.
If you like your cendol more lemak, go for Rival Stall. But because Original Stall’s coconut milk is less overwhelming, you can taste the more of that fabulous gula melaka.
Green bean noodles:
Original Stall’s noodles are softer and melt-in-the-mouth. Rival Stall’s noodles are fatter and firmer, plus they give a bigger portion.
Although cooked till fragrant and powdery, Original Stall gives too little of the beans. Rival Stall boasts better beans. Generous amount of big, fat red beans and kidney beans. They retain their shape, but give way to sweet, powdery goodness!
If you like your cendol rich with coconut milk with lots of green pea noodles and big, fat beans, head to Rival Stall.
Personally, I prefer the Original Stall. For Rival Stall, at first the richness of the coconut milk was nice, but after a while, it got rather jelak (cloying). I prefer Original Stall’s coconut milk-gula melaka ratio, because you get the fragrance of coconut milk without overpowering the lovely notes of the gula melaka. It’s lighter and more refreshing. Plus the green pea noodles are softer and more slippery. If only they were more generous with the green pea noodles and red bean!