There is popular belief in Indonesia that the name "cendol" is related to and originated from the word jendol; in Javanese, Sundanese and Indonesian language it means "bump" or "bulge", it refer to bumpy sensations of the green worm-like jelly passed through the mouth during drinking es cendol. In Malaysia, some cendol maker have been selling cendol for past three generation, since 1920th until now.
The dessert's basic ingredients consist of coconut milk, a worm-like jelly made from rice flour with green food coloring (usually derived from the pandan leaf), shaved ice and palm sugar. Next to these basic recipe, other ingredients such as red beans, glutinous rice, grass jelly, creamed corn, might also be included.
In Sunda, Indonesia, cendol is a dark green pulpy dish of rice (or sago) flour worms with coconut milk and syrup of areca sugar. It used to be served without ice. In the Javanese language, cendol refers to the green jelly-like part of the beverage, while the combination of cendol, palm sugar and coconut milk is called dawet. The most famous variant of Javanese es dawet is from Banjarnegara, Central Java.
The affluence of Singapore, as well as Western influence, has given rise to different variations of cendol. One can occasionally come across variants such as cendol with vanilla ice-cream or cendol topped with durian.