Indonesians and Malaysians rage as CNN reports that Singapore has the best cendol

Photo: Tiberiu Ana / Flickr
Photo: Tiberiu Ana / Flickr

Let’s hear it from the other side of the Causeway: Our Coconuts Singapore crew give us their take on what it’s like to be on the receiving end of regular, food-related, regional rage.


Here we go again, another international food fight. Last Saturday, CNN released a list of the best desserts from around the globe, flaunting the likes of Turkey’s baklava, Sicily’s cannolis, France’s lemon tart, and Thailand’s mango sticky rice.

Oh, and the sweet, cool taste of cendol, a Singaporean treat.

CNN website screengrab
CNN website screengrab

Hark, what’s that rumbling sound we hear in the distance? ’Tis a stampede of supremely-triggered Malaysians and Indonesians rushing forth to condemn CNN for their alleged error and, of course, Singapore for yet another dish wrongly attributed to the city-state.

Honestly though, we had nothing to do with CNN’s list — they’re the ones who believe that “Singapore’s take on the classic treat remains especially tempting” thanks to the addition of sweetened red beans.

Without further ado, here are all the angry reactions from social media.

To be fair, CNN did acknowledge that versions of cendol can be found throughout Southeast Asia — it’s just that they found Singapore’s take to be the best, as subjective as that may be. Regarding its origins, the exact birth of the icy dessert is unclear but its very name is believed to be derived from the word “jendol”, a Javanese, Indonesian, and Sundanese word meaning “bumping”. iFood notes that it could refer to the “bumpy sensations” in the stomach when gulping down the green wormy jellies.

But if it had to come down to the best version, we’d wager that either Malacca or Penang has cendol down to an art, with both locations being popular places for Singaporeans to travel to just for a taste of the dessert.

Yeap, Malaysians can take the claim for this one — just don’t come knocking when the dispute is about where one can find the best chicken rice in the world.

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