MELAKA (Bernama): 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 Facebook and complained.
The photo soon went viral, with many netizens agreeing that the cendol was overpriced.
However, in the end, the cendol seller had the last laugh – he laughed all the way to the bank.
Muhammad Ariff Qayyum Mohd Zamri, the owner Raja Cendol Taming Sari in Bandar Hilir here, saw sales tripling after the Facebook complaint went viral sometime in February.
"I'm so thankful the matter went viral.
"Now more people know about my stall, and I have many more customers. My workers and I have never been busier," said the 25-year-old entrepreneur, adding that durian lovers did not mind paying RM38 for a bowl of Musang King cendol.
Even before the viral incident, his stall, which he opened two years ago, was already popular.
While the Musang King cendol is the clear winner among his customers, he also offers Udang Merah cendol (RM20 a bowl), D24 cendol (RM20), hybrid durian cendol (RM17) and normal cendol (RM7).
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 said he needed about 20kg of durian pulp a day to meet the 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 were mostly sourced from Johor and Pahang.
Since he is extremely particular about the quality of durian he uses, he has to cope with the fluctuating prices.
"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.
When he decided to venture into business two years ago, Muhammad Ariff Qayyum did it just to pass time. Little did he expect his cendol stall would 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 adviser.
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 RM1.2mil in sales this year.
He hopes to open branches in Kuala Lumpur and Johor in the near future. – Bernama