Long queues for durian cendol in Shah Alam... but it’s worth it!

One delicious bowl worth the wait: The durian cendol with red coloured glutinous rice, cendol, creamed corn and durian at the Rojak & Cendol Shah Alam stall in Shah Alam, May 6, 2016. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
One delicious bowl worth the wait: The durian cendol with red coloured glutinous rice, cendol, creamed corn and durian at the Rojak & Cendol Shah Alam stall in Shah Alam, May 6, 2016. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

SHAH ALAM, May 6 — The queue for Rojak & Cendol Shah Alam’s durian cendol started at 5.30pm even though people had been hovering around from as early as 4.30pm.

This is about one and a half hours before the stall opens for business at 6pm! By the time the stall opened, there was a snaking queue of around 30 people at the food court.

Some like Nor Akma who had come all the way from Titiwangsa read about it on Facebook. She arrived about 3pm thinking that she would get a head-start but unfortunately the stall only starts business from 6pm onwards. By the time she got her takeaway durian cendol order, it was about 6.30pm. Three and a half hours later.

The durian cendol is famous as you are guaranteed real durian fruit in your cendol since it’s placed whole (with the seeds) into each bowl. The combination works well with the green cendol strands, shaved ice doused with the stall’s own gula merah syrup and santan sawit. A dollop of creamed corn is added into every bowl since it’s a more popular choice versus red beans, the usual ingredient paired with cendol.

Mohd Hafez Hamed spoons the cendol into the bowls with shaved ice and syrup.
Mohd Hafez Hamed spoons the cendol into the bowls with shaved ice and syrup.

Opened about two years ago by Mohd Hafez Hamed and Khairul Fahmy Md Yasin, the stall offers more than 100 varieties of cendol, rojak and tauhu bakar. They offer “cendol moden”, their take on the traditional dessert with unusual toppings like cereals Koko Krunch and Honey Stars, marshmallows, raisins and chocolate.

Then there is “cendol fruity” where the popular choices are durian, sea coconut, lychee and mango.

Previously, they used to sell tauhu bakar at the Ramadan Bazaar in Section 18 Shah Alam, In mid-March, they launched their durian cendol.

For a lighter refreshing taste, try the cendol strawberry that is topped with the fresh fruit.
For a lighter refreshing taste, try the cendol strawberry that is topped with the fresh fruit.

According to Mohd Hafez Hamed, he picked durian since it was a favourite fruit of his and it’s the king of fruits. Once they launched it, the response has been overwhelming as it went viral on Facebook.

Currently, the stall uses Tembaga durians sourced from Thailand since the local fruits are not in season. This variant was picked as it’s got a sweet creamy taste.

Just before each bowl of durian cendol with glutinous rice is sent out, the durian is drizzled with santan sawit.
Just before each bowl of durian cendol with glutinous rice is sent out, the durian is drizzled with santan sawit.

The addition of the durian gives the dessert a sweet creaminess people just cannot get enough of.

As they require a large amount of durian on a daily basis, they looked as far as Kampung Baru for their source. Even the SS2 durian sellers were not able to guarantee Mohd Hafez Hamed the vast amounts he needed to sell his cendol.

Even before the stall opened at 6pm, there’s a snaking queue for the durian cendol.
Even before the stall opened at 6pm, there’s a snaking queue for the durian cendol.

On a daily basis, Jufri Masril from Ejop Durian Corner located at Jalan Raja Alang will deliver the durians. In the beginning, they were supplying 200 kilograms on a daily basis. With the good response, it’s been increased to 270 kilograms each day.

On weekends, the order goes up to a whopping 300 kilogrammes! According to Hairul Khalifah Jamal, the brother-in-law of Mohd Hafez Hamed who is in charge of the takeaway counter, they want to ensure there’s enough supply of durians as many customers come from as far as Penang, Johor and even Pasir Mas to try their durian cendol and they don’t want them to return disappointed.

To cater to the stall’s demand, Ejop Durian Corner makes trips to Thailand every few days to bring down their supply. In June when the durian season starts, you may find local variants like D24, Musang King and Udang Merah in your bowl of cendol; these will be charged according to the market prices.

Complementing the cendol is the usage of santan sawit or palm oil based “santan.” Unlike coconut santan, according to research by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, santan sawit is touted to be healthier since it’s got lower levels of saturated fatty acids and it’s trans-fat free.

You can also order rojak and tauhu bakar as you wait for your durian cendol.
You can also order rojak and tauhu bakar as you wait for your durian cendol.

According to Mohd Thohir Ahmad who supplies the stall with the santan sawit, most roadside cendol stalls prefer to use it since it has a longer shelf life.

Tastewise, the santan sawit has a cleaner and less rich taste, making it a better pair with the rich and creamy durian. Similarly, cereals, chocolate and marshmallows which are also quite sweet on their own works well with the santan sawit

Rojak & Cendol Shah Alam, No. G2, Medan Selera Delima, Section 24, Shah Alam. Open: 6pm to 1am (or until the cendol runs out). Closed on Monday.

A small bowl of durian cendol is RM10, a large bowl is RM12. The takeaway durian cendol is one size only and priced at RM12. https://www.facebook.com/rojakcendolshahalam

The stall uses santan sawit since it lasts longer and it’s not as rich tasting compared to coconut milk.
The stall uses santan sawit since it lasts longer and it’s not as rich tasting compared to coconut milk.