For a taste of the milkiest, richest "cendol" in Malacca, make a beeline for Aunty Koh's, a small zinc-roofed, ramshackle dessert spot along Jalan Batang Tiga, off Jalan Klebang, roughly 15 minutes' drive out of Malacca's town centre.
Aunty Koh opens *only* on Saturday and Sunday each week, from 12 noon for about an hour or so. On busy days, she sells out by 12.30pm!!
You have to get to this almost nondescript spot before 12 noon and join a long queue - Aunty Koh works single-handedly and at a very, Malaccan-style laidback pace, often stopping to smile and banter with her regulars, never mind that there is a half-hour-long queue snaking behind.
What makes Aunty Koh's "cendol" that special, seeing that Malacca town, and especially Jonkers Street (its tourist epicentre) is replete with dozens of places offering "cendol"? Well, for one, everything's very artisanal - see that huge green pandan grove surrounding the stall? That's where Aunty Koh plucks her pandan leaves, to pound and squeeze out the juices that scent & colour her short, squiggly green "cendol" noodles.
Aunty Koh's wakes up at 3am to hand-squeeze coconut milk from the freshly-grated flesh of 40 coconuts on the Saturdays & Sundays when her stall opens.
Aunty Koh's "Gula Melaka" (thick, dark palm sugar syrup) is not as rich or fragrant as those used in the "cendol" of other eateries like Aunty Lee in Ujong Pasir - her emphasis seems to be on the freshness of her coconut milk.
When we were there yesterday, Aunty Koh's "cendol" also did not include any stewed red beans, unlike what we'd seen in some earlier pictures of her "cendol". That didn't seem to faze her legion of fans, more than half of whom are holidaymakers from Singapore.
Aunty Koh piles generous amounts of her "cendol" noodles into each bowl (priced at MYR4 or US$1 for a single serving, which is rather expensive and more than twice the price charged elsewhere), then use an old-fashioned electric ice-shaver to top up each bowl up with snowy-white, finely-shaved ice. She then ladles on the "Gula Melaka" and creamy coconut milk. That's all there is to it. But, oh boy, just look at the hungry crowds - those waiting anxiously in line (praying that Aunty Koh's limited amount of "cendol" ingredients don't run out) eyeing those who're enjoying their precious bowls of "cendol".
You also do your own washing up! Customers will bring their empty metal bowls to the sink where detergent and sponges are provided - so you line up to get your own "cendol", pay for the most expensive bowl of "cendol" in Malacca, and do your own washing up! Heh-heh.
Bowls filled with squiggly "cendol" noodles, scented and tinged green by "pandan" juice.
The contraption looks old, but the ice-shavings are superfine, unlike the nasty "cendol" we get back in Singapore with pebbly, coarsely-processed ice shards.
Drive along Jalan Batang Tiga after turning off from the coastal road, Jalan Klebang. Watch out for her tattered banner, or simply look out for this place full of cars and a queue of customers.
This is one of the quintessential Malaccan eating experiences.
Aunty Koh's Cendol
5113, Jalan Batang Tiga,
Kampung Bukit Rambai,
Opening hours: Sat & Sun only (12pm to 1pm)
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