Cold treats business not dampened by wet spell

Refreshing treats: Customers enjoying the famous Penang Road Nyonya cendol and ais kacang at Lebuh Keng Kwee, George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: To keep their business going during the rainy season, some traders at tourist spots have been leveraging on delivery services to attract customers.

“Ais tingkap” stall owner Mohd Taufique Seeni Mohamed, 40, said there has been an increase in delivery orders during the bad weather.

“Business is slightly affected but we are glad that with local delivery services, we can still ensure our products reach customers who prefer to stay indoors.

“Some tourists still come to our stall in Penang Road in their raincoats,” he added.

Roadside traders often bring a vibrant and refreshing element to the local street food culture here, with “ais tingkap” (a kind of sherbet) being one of the attractions.

Mohd Taufique’s stall, which is a must-visit by both local and foreign tourists, celebrated its centenary in 2019.

In 1919, the original vendor started selling the drink from a shop window, hence the name “ais tingkap” or “window iced drink”.

While the days of the “window counter” may be long gone, a hawker stall now stands near the window, so the name remains.

Mohd Taufique is the fourth generation to run the family business.

The drink is a concoction of iced coconut water and sirap selasih (syrup with basil seeds).

The recipe was brought from India and the ingredients are still shipped from there.

Ice-ball seller Noramalina Masdin, 32, said she has been actively announcing special promotions and delivery options online, keeping customers informed.

“We also work with several tour guides who have been bringing customers to our shop on Armenian Street.

“This can help cushion the impact a bit, especially during the rainy season.

“Many, mainly foreign tourists, like to try our ice ball, as they think it is unique and tasty too,” she said.

Noramalina said the wet season has always been tough for her as people are less inclined to go out in the rain for cold drinks.

To overcome this, she also offers hot drinks.

Third-generation Nyonya cendol seller Girly Loh, 48, said there were still those who made bulk orders, especially families having private events, and office workers during the wet spell.

“We also do wholesale business, like supplying cendol to pasar malam vendors and food court operators as well,” she said.

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