Discovering Malaysia & cendol

Here I am in Germany, Autumn has begun, temperatures are getting cooler and holidays seem far away. It’s quite nice for me take a break from Autumn and think back about my warm holidays in Malaysia a few years ago! Let me take you there for a short virtual trip!

As you have figured out by now, travels and ice cream are among the things I love! In Malaysia I had the pleasure of trying cendol for the first time. Cendol is a wonderful iced dessert which I unfortunately didn’t try til the last stop of my trip to Malaysia… this was unfortunate because I loved it so much! You’ll read more about delicious cendol at the end of this blog post! 🙂

Kuala Lumpur markets, high storey malls & impressive temples

I was in Malaysia for about 2.5 weeks. Based on the advice of a colleague and the recommendations of my guidebook for Malaysia, we decided to start off by visiting the capital Kuala Lumpur for a few days. We walked a lot in those few days and did our best to cope with jetlag! I loved checking out (street food) markets, temples, then cooling off in the modern air-conditioned subway and trying take-away drinks with colourful bits floating in them.

Kuala Lumpur skyline
Kuala Lumpur skyline, with the Petronas Towers in the centre
Temple in Kuala Lumpur
Temple in Kuala Lumpur

Until I was in KL I had never seen such an enormous shopping mall as Berjaya Times Square! As you can see on the photo below, it has many storeys and there is a theme park with a rollercoaster on levels 5 & 7!

Berjaya Times Square shopping enormous mall in Kuala Lumpur
Berjaya Times Square shopping enormous mall in Kuala Lumpur
Theme park with rollercoaster on the top of Berjaya Times Square shopping mall
Theme park with rollercoaster on the top of Berjaya Times Square shopping mall – please note the message in the middle that I totally agree with: “Ice cream makes you happy!”

From KL we went on a daytrip to the Batu Caves; figuring out where to get the bus was a challenge, but it was well-worth it! The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. As you get closer to the caves, you get a better feeling of how tall the 43m gold statue of Murugan (Hindu god of war) at the entrance really is! There are several temples inside the caves: because temples in South East Asia are so different to anything I’m used to, I always really enjoy visiting them and seeing what people do. Inside one of the temples in the Batu caves, people were helping themselves to some rice dishes served on a big leaves and eating. If I remember/understood correctly, the food was considered a gift from their Gods.

Entrance to Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur. Visitors are "welcomed" by a 43m-high statue of Murugan, the Hindu God of war
Entrance to Batu Caves near Kuala Lumpur. Visitors are “welcomed” by a 43m-high statue of Murugan, the Hindu God of war

Cameron Highlands’ vivid green tea plantations

We took a bus from KL to the Cameron Highlands and upon arrival immediately enjoyed the cooler temperatures! 🙂 Seeing the extensive tea plantations was lovely!

Malaysia's famous Cameron Highlands tea plantations
Malaysia’s famous Cameron Highlands tea plantations

Cameron Highlands' tea plantations

Ipoh & Kuala Kangsar

Ipoh was a highlight food-wise! A local man that we met at the foodstalls drew us a little map showing where to eat Ipoh’s best chicken with soy sauce and bean sprouts. You’re thinking that doesn’t sound particularly tasty? … yea that’s what I thought too, before I tried it! That dish was one of the culinary highlights of our holidays in Malaysia!

The best chicken with soy sauce and bean sprouts in Ipoh, at Lou Wong's
The best chicken with soy sauce and bean sprouts in Ipoh, at Lou Wong’s
Inside of Perak Cave Temple in Ipoh
Inside of Perak Cave Temple in Ipoh

The beautiful Ubudiah Mosque and the Royal Palace were highlights in Kuala Kangsar! It was particularly hot there… so hot that we couldn’t just walk to see those places, we needed a ride.

The beautiful Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar
The beautiful Ubudiah Mosque in Kuala Kangsar
Royal Palace in Kuala Kangsar
Royal Palace in Kuala Kangsar

Perhentian Islands’ beautiful beaches

We flew to Kota Bharu and took a boat from there to Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Hanging out on Kecil’s beautiful sandy beaches, in the warm clear water was a lovely and relaxing experience!

Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Pulau Perhentian Kecil

Walking past the big monitor lizards on our way to the beach was a little daunting at first, but they didn’t care about us!

Monitor lizard on Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Monitor lizard on Pulau Perhentian Kecil

The morning after a stormy night, it quickly became clear that the local cockroaches had taken shelter in our cabin. “Invigorating” could be used to describe the shower I had the next morning, as I watched coackroaches approach me from multiple directions and try to climb into my toilet bag…

Melaka city: a beautiful city with a colonial past

Melaka (about 150km south of Kuala Lumpur), was the last place we visited in Malaysia. At various times of its past, Melaka was under the control of the Portuguese, Dutch and British. We loved the narrow two-story houses with painted shutters, the ornate templates and the lively Jonker Walk Night Market with its many food stalls and karaoke.

Cheng Hoon Teng temple in Melacca City - the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia
Cheng Hoon Teng temple in Melacca City – the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia

Typical building in Melaka City centre

Beginning of the Night Market in Melaka
Beginning of the Night Market in Melaka

Cendol: a culinary highlight of my trip to Malaysia

Food in Malaysia was great: because the Chinese make up about 25% of the population in Malaysia and the Indian about 8%, not only Malay cuisine awaits you in Malaysia, but also a a great deal of good Chinese and Indian food.

Cendol was one of the culinary highlights that I underlined and marked with a star in my guide book before heading off to Malaysia, to make sure I try it! According to Wikipedia, cendol is a traditional dessert from Indonesia which is also popular in other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia. I couldn’t quite imagine what to expect from its description: it’s a dessert made of shaved ice, green starched jelly noodles with pandan flavouring, red kidney beans, coconut milk and palm sugar.

My bowl of (minimalist) cendol with shaved ice and coconut milk + palm sugar syrup poured over
My bowl of (minimalist) cendol with shaved ice and coconut milk + palm sugar syrup poured over. This one was from Kocik Kitchen

The version I loved was a minimalist version made with a pile of shaved ice in a bowl, with coconut milk and palm sugar syrup poured over. The texture and flavours were wonderful and refreshing! I also tried it with the green jelly noodles and red beans, but they weren’t my taste! We loved cendol so much that we ate it on a daily basis after first tasting it! 🙂

The complete version of Malaysian cendol with shaved ice and coconut milk + palm sugar syrup poured over AND red beans AND green pandan starched jelly noodles
The complete version of Malaysian cendol with shaved ice and coconut milk + palm sugar syrup poured over AND red beans AND green pandan starched jelly noodles

Malaysia tourism website: www.tourism.gov.my

I loved the cendol from Kocik Kitchen: Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. セレネ says:

    I like cendol too, but also not the green jelly noodles…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my. It is the second time I am seeing cendol photo tonight and now I feel like I want to get one! 😀

    Anyway it looks like you had fun in Malaysia! And it seems like you have been to a lot of interesting places too!

    Where are you staying in Germany? I am planning to visit Berlin next February but only for a night. 🙂

    Like

    1. Denise says:

      Hehe well you’ll probably eat cendol sooner than I will! 🙂

      Yes I loved Malaysia!

      I live in the very west of Germany, almost at the border with Belgium & the Netherlands, in a city called Aachen. 1 night will be very short in Berlin, but I hope you enjoy it! I love Berlin!

      I’ll have to look at your posts more carefully: I need to decide where to spend my next long holidays & your blog will hopefully give me inspiration! I will probably go back to south-east Asia, but I need to choose a country!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah!

        I only have 2 weeks for my Eurotrip so need to apportion my days accordingly. I have German friends living in Frankfurt but because I love history so much and I have always heard about Berlin since I was a kid, I decided to take a bus from Amsterdam to Berlin and stay there one night.

        On my second day, I am still confused whether to have a short day trip to Poland or to just visit Potsdam. What do you think?

        Hehe yeah I have been to 8 countries in Southeast Asia and have been blogging about it. Some posts were written in Malay, some in English and some in both languages. You can ask me anything and I will be glad to help out if I know the answer.

        Hope you will visit my blog and do leave some comments there! 🙂

        And well, maybe you can try Thailand! I always LOVE Thailand.

        Like

  3. Will S. says:

    Sounds a lot like the Filipino dessert halo halo, which I love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Denise says:

      I’ve just looked up halo halo and it does indeed seem similar! Good to know about it!

      Like

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