Competition spiced up
By FONG KEE SOON, The Star Publications. Saturday September 18, 2010

CENDOL, one of Malaysia’s favourite desserts, is sold by traders all over the country with each claiming to be the best in town.

But nowhere is the competition more keen than on Lebuh Keng Kwee, off Penang Road, where two families have been operating their stalls for decades.

Loh Ewe Seng, 58, and his wife Yong Siew Moi, 63, have been running their Penang Road Famous Cendol stall for some 40 years after taking over the business from Loh’s mother in the 1970s.

“The secret of our cendol is in the ingredients. We use green bean paste instead of rice flour. And our red beans are boiled over charcoal for seven hours,” said Loh.

The couple, who also supply the dessert to restaurants and other cendol sellers in the state, do not advertise but rather rely on word-of-mouth from customers to promote their product.

Just across the lane from Loh’s stall is the Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol stall, run by Tan Chong Kim, 52.

Tan has been in the business for about 35 years after learning the trade from his father.

He operates the stall with his wife Lee Cheang Fon, 48 and son Chin Ling, 29.

Gurmit Singh, who is famous for his screen character Phua Chu Kang, and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng have patronised his stall.

“I recently renovated a shophouse near my shop so my customers can sit and eat in comfort.

“In the past, cendol used to be very sweet because people liked it that way. But now that they are more health-conscious, we have had to revamp our gula melaka (palm sugar syrup) recipe,” said Tan.

Loh said his relationship with Tan was amicable. Tan agrees, but said they seldom talk.

Businessman Daniel Thiagarajan, 38, from Ipoh, was seen ordering cendol from Loh’s stall.

“I prefer the taste of cendol from this stall, although the other stall is not bad. Whenever I am in Penang, I make sure I never miss out on the nasi kandar, cendol and ice kacang,” he said.

Seen at Tan’s stall, factory supervisor Vincent Hean said he brought along a friend from China to enjoy cendol.

“This is the second time in a week I ‘ve been here, because my friend likes this cendol. I’ve tried both stalls and they’re equally good.”




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