MELAKA, July 13 — RM38 for a bowl of cendol heaped with dollops of Musang King durian.
Peeved at the price, one customer proceeded to upload a photo of the receipt showing RM114 for three bowls of cendol on his/her Facebook account.
The photo soon went viral and many netizens agreed that the cendol was overpriced. But it all ended with the cendol seller concerned laughing all the way to the bank. Meet Muhammad Ariff Qayyum Mohd Zamri, the owner of a stall named Raja Cendol Taming Sari in Bandar Hilir here, whose sales tripled after the receipt spread virally sometime in February.
“I’m so thankful the matter went viral. Now more people know about my stall and I’ve many more customers now. My workers and I have never been busier,” the 25-year-old entrepreneur told Bernama, adding that durian lovers would not mind paying RM38 for a bowl of Musang King cendol as they were well aware of the market price of this particular premium species.
Even before the viral incident, his stall, which he opened two years ago, was already popular largely due to the various types of durian cendol that he offered.
While the Musang King cendol is the clear winner among his customers, the Udang Merah cendol (RM20 a bowl), D24 cendol (RM20), hybrid durian cendol (RM17) and normal cendol (RM7) are also popular.
Cendol is a refreshing Malaysian dessert consisting of shaved ice, creamy coconut milk, red beans, corn, palm sugar syrup (gula melaka) and little green strands of dough made from rice flour. To add more flavour to this delicacy, durian pulp or other fruits like lychee, as well as nuts, jelly and ice-cream are added.
Muhammad Ariff Qayyum said he needed about 20kg of durian pulp a day to meet the increasing demand for durian cendol.
“Just for each serving of Musang King cendol, I use between 120g and 150g of the flesh,” he said, adding that his durians are mostly sourced from Johor and Pahang.
Since he is extremely particular about the quality of durian he uses to prepare the dessert, he has to cope with the fluctuating prices of durians.
“Between November and January, durian prices shoot up due to the smaller harvests. During the durian season from May to August, prices start to drop. Cheap or expensive, I still have to buy my stock,” he said.
His stall, located within the grounds of Menara Taming Sari in the tourist district of Bandar Hilir, also sells durian-based mochi (a Japanese dessert), ice-cream, dodol, candy and mooncake.
Just for fun
When he decided to venture into business two years ago, Muhammad Ariff Qayyum did it just to pass time. And, little did he expect his cendol stall to eventually generate an average income of RM90,000 a month.
His income would swell to RM150,000 a month during the school holidays when more visitors head to Melaka.
Before he opened his stall, he worked at his family-owned factory located at the Melaka Halal Hub in Serkam that produced durian-based snacks.
“I was earning about RM2,000 a month then. Since durian is a seasonal fruit, I used to have a lot of free time and that’s when I came up with the idea of setting up a cendol stall as an uncle and aunt of mine have a recipe for delicious cendol,” he said.
Using his savings of RM25,000 as capital, he started the venture; his father Mohd Zamri Mohd Taib, 51, is now his business advisor. In fact, it was his father who suggested that he introduce Musang King cendol to his menu and to add gula melaka syrup to enhance its taste.
In 2018, the young entrepreneur raked in total sales worth RM950,000 and he is targeting RM1.2 million in sales this year. He hopes to open branches in Kuala Lumpur and Johor in the near future.
Motivated by his own success, he is now encouraging other youths to boldly venture into business and prove that they have what it takes to become successful.
“They have to be willing to take risks. Besides, the government is providing all kinds of assistance and funding to youths who wish to become entrepreneurs. Grab the opportunity as this field (business) promises good returns if you run your business properly,” he added.
Ahmad Dhani Mikail, 18, a student from Indonesia, when met at the Raja Cendol Taming Sari stall recently said it was the first time he was trying out the Musang King cendol and he enjoyed it thoroughly.
“I usually prefer ice kacang to cendol, which in Indonesia has slices of jackfruit added to it. But this cendol durian is really delicious,” he said.
His friend Samantha Ng, 18, said she has eaten cendol in Singapore where she comes from but found Raja Cendol Taming Sari’s durian cendol the best she has tasted so far.
“The cendol here is more fragrant and the gula melaka is not that sweet. In fact, I can have two bowls of this cendol at one go,” she said.
Another customer from Seremban, Negri Sembilan Abdul Manaf Ibrahim, 47, said he was a durian lover and would never miss the opportunity to enjoy Musang King cendol whenever he visits Melaka.
“What differentiates this cendol from others is its original taste,” he said.
Norafiqah Jamal, 26, who works in the private sector, said although the Musang King cendol was pricey it was worth every sen as it fully satisfies the taste buds. — Bernama