While in Bandung, it is unavoidable to bump into a Cendol stand. Jalan Otista is no exception to this. It is situated just East of the Tegallega district and is home to the infamous Elizabeth Cendol. Street vendors can be seen waving bags filled with green jelly beans desperately trying to get the attention of passersby’s. Whether it be the original favourite or the home cooked variety, cendol is a true Bandung specialty and a favourite amongst Indonesians of both young and all.
The green bean shaped jelly bits are actually made of rice flour which is mixed with pandan leaves and water. It is then cooked for 2 to 3 hours and pressed into the somewhat eccentric looking soft jelly beans. A big spoonful of these little slugs makes the base of the cendol and according to many, the ‘yummy' part of the drink. The ever present gula djawa (palmsugar) and santen kelapa (coconut milk) are also added. The result is a colourful mixture of the brown djawa sugar which slowly fades into creamy white coconut milk and green beans to go with it. Stir well and take a sip. The first thing you'll notice is the extreme sweetness which unfortunately, seems obligatory in Indonesia. The taste of fresh coconut and palm sugar does have a certain charm to it though and once you get used to spooning out the little green jelly bits, you can count yourself a proud member of the cendol clan.
Some cautionary measures: Since coconut milk is used, make sure it's fresh as coconut milk has a reputation of going bad easily. Secondly, it's perhaps best to buy cendol in a warung such as Elizabeth instead of from a street vendor. This is because it is hard to tell how long the seller has been walking around in the blazing sun with his cendol and food poisoning is never a pleasant experience.You can also buy instant cendol in supermarkets packed in tins that say tsjendol which unfortunately comes nowhere close to the real thing. If only it were that easy. Your safest and best bet is to head off to Jalan Otista and buy it directly from the original Elizabeth’s store. Although their prices are slightly more expensive than other vendors, you’ll know it's the best. With such a high reputation to maintain, quality cannot be compromised. Prices are about Rp.5000 at Elizabeth 's and about Rp.2000 at other places.
Jalan Otista No.3a