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Food Picks: Home-style cooking in Hougang and traditional desserts in Tekka Centre

 

Traditional desserts

Not planning to visit Penang any time soon but need your chendol fix? Head to Lim Cendol, a dessert stall in Tekka Centre. The tight parking spaces and sharp corners in the basement carpark are a hassle, but Mr Kyle Lim, 26, and his mother, Madam Agatha Chan, 64, serve up sweet treats that make it worth your while.

Madam Chan, who is from Penang, used to run the Penang Road Cafe at Novena Ville from 2011 to 2013.

The mother and son duo opened their dessert stall in October 2020.

The signature dessert is Penang Cendol ($2.30). Instead of using factory-produced pandan jelly strips, they insist on making their own chendol from scratch, using mung bean flour and fresh pandan leaves for colour and flavour.

The stall uses freshly squeezed coconut milk instead of factory-produced coconut cream or milk. Even the kidney beans are prepared in-house. They are soaked for six hours then cooked in a pressure cooker until tender.

What I like best is the perfect ratio of ice to coconut milk. The dessert does not get too diluted and tasteless as the ice melts.

Ask for more gula melaka syrup if you prefer your chendol slightly sweeter.

The ice kacang ($2.30) is also a winner, topped with rose syrup, roasted peanuts and slices of fresh banana. At the bottom of the bowl, you get creamed corn, grass jelly, kidney beans and two attap seeds.

The stall is adept at hot desserts too. The pulut hitam ($2) is a must-try. Made from Thai black glutinous rice, the texture is tender but still chewy. Dried longans give the concoction a floral aroma.

The cheapest item is the red bean soup ($1.50). It looks watery, but once you stir it, there is a generous portion of perfectly cooked red beans at the bottom. Fragranced with fresh pandan leaves, the dessert delivers on taste even though the stall omits dried mandarin orange peel to keep the price low.

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