Living overseas is no joke. You leave behind all that is familiar to you. You learn to make do of what the other country has for you. You learn to substitute certain things in order to make things familiar to you.
So, I would like to talk about Filipino’s love for halo-halo. There are not a lot of Filipino restaurants here in Singapore. I have not come across halo-halo even in Lucky Plaza, which is an all-Filipino mall. You know how we love to eat halo-halo whenever the sun is out or especially during summer.
Personally, if halo-halo is to Philippines then Chendol is to Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
The first time I heard about Chendol was when I first travelled out of Singapore to Melaka, Malaysia. My friends ordered Chendol but I refused to eat anything cold at that time. I did not know what I was missing out of.
It was only after a few months that I gave in to the hype and fed my curiosity of Chendol. Like my friends, I actually loved it. It consisted of shaved ice and sweet syrup. Sure, it does not have the halo-halo ingredients and sure, it does involve some food coloring but I loved it.
Chendol is very popular here in Singapore, Malaysia and other nearby Asian countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
Here’s a sample recipe of Chendol.
60g green bean flour (Hoon Kwe Flour)
1 tsp pandan paste
1. Mix green bean flour with water and pandan paste. Blend well until a smooth mixture is obtained.
2. Cook mixture over medium heat , stirring all the time until the mixture thickens and turns translucent.
3. Fill a basin with ice and cold water and set the cendol mould over it. Use a wooden spoon to press cooked dough, a little at a time, through the preforations into the cold water. Drain cendol in a colander and set aside.
4. To serve, spoon 2 tbsp of cendol into a bowl, top with shaved ice, chilled coconut milk and 1 or 2 tbsp of gula melaka syrup.
Gula Melaka Syrup:
300g gula melaka
200g rock sugar
2 pandan leaves, knotted
1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook till the sugar dissolves and forms a thick syrup.
2. Remove pandan leaves and strain into a small bowl. Leave to cool.
Use ready squeezed coconut milk, add a pinch of salt and chill in the refrigerator.
Recipe reference, here.