Open the coconut by using the blunt side of a meat cleaver or large knife and cracking open the centre. Use a bowl to catch any liquid. The liquid is not required for this recipe so can be set aside for drinking or another use.
Run a knife along the outside of the coconut flesh to gently separate it from the shell.
Remove the coconut meat from the husk. Leave the coconut meat in a bowl of water with 2 tbsp of vinegar.
Use a vegetable peeler (standard or Asian) to remove the dark outer parts of the coconut flesh. Then, use an Asian vegetable peeler (Note 1) to cut the coconut into ribbons. Put the ribbons into a large bowl.
Add sugar and salt to the coconut ribbons and gently combine. Let the coconut sweat for 20 minutes, or until liquid has formed at the bottom of the bowl.
Once liquid has formed at the bottom of the bowl add either the pandan extract (Colouring Agent Option 1), the food colouring (Option 2) or no food colouring for white candied coconut. Combine gently.
In a cold fry pan, add the sliced coconut with the liquid and fry on medium for 15 minutes. Gently stir every few minutes.
After 15 minutes, turn the heat down to low and add the vanilla sugar (for Colouring Agent Option 2 or white candied coconut). Cook for 8 -10 minutes and continue to gently toss the coconut slices. Unfold any folded slices of coconut.
Check the coconut for dryness, hardness and the formation of white sugar crystals. If ready, remove and let it cool on paper towels for 30 minutes. If not, cook further until done.