PETALING JAYA: On a hot day, nothing hits the spot like an ice-cold bowl of cendol does. And if you’re feeling peckish, a plate of delicious, spicy rojak is perfect to go with it.
If you happen to be in Petaling Jaya, you’ll find two food trucks parked beside Pasar Seksyen 17 that have been serving up rojak and cendol since the ‘80s.
The owner, Noordin Mohammad Mustaffa, took over the business in 2018 from his father. The fare he serves has been a local favourite since his father’s days.
“My father was just operating from a motorbike when he started,” he told FMT Lifestyle. “It slowly expanded over the years to these food trucks.”
The cendol, which sells for RM3 is absolutely lip-smacking. There’s an extra charge of 50 sen for the takeaway version.
Shaved ice forms the base of the bowl on which strands of green rice flour jelly, tinned sweetcorn and red beans are added. The entire concoction is then doused with coconut milk and liquid palm sugar.
The result is a delicious thirst-quenching dessert that is simply out of this world. You can opt to add glutinous rice for a more filling version.
If that isn’t enough for your mid-day treat, how about a plate of rojak telur for RM6? This delightful plate is composed of bean sprouts, jicama, cucumbers, tofu, hard-boiled egg and crispy fritters, making it enough to be a meal in itself.
The thick and spicy gravy is the crowning touch, hitting the right balance of sweet and savoury to satisfy any rojak connoisseur.
If you’re feeling fancy, upgrade the dish by adding cuttlefish, fried chicken or noodles, none of which would be the wrong choice.
The service is swift and while there are no tables for diners, lots of stools are provided near the food truck for you to sit on.
Recalling some of his earliest memories, the 30-year-old Noordin said he started helping out his father when he was still in school.
He said his father, a disciplinarian, used to tell him: “If you want something, you have to work to get it.”
“Sometimes,” Noordin said, “he would just tell me the basics of what to do and then, for hours at a time, leave me to handle the customers. I remember panicking so hard back then.
“Looking back now, I’m thankful for that because it certainly trained me to be better in dealing with customers.”
When FMT Lifestyle visited his business recently, Noordin was busy chopping all the rojak ingredients and plating them skilfully, all the while keeping an eye on the online orders streaming in.
Several regular customers made drive-through orders and ate in their cars before returning their plates.
Noordin was full of praise for his customers. He said it was due to their support that his business survived the Covid pandemic and was “still standing strong”.
He also said he was grateful for the exposure his customers were giving him on social media when they posted pictures of his cendol and rojak and wrote flattering commentaries.
But he also spoke of times when some customers would eat and leave without paying. When that happened, he would give a shrug and say he still chose to believe in the goodness of people.
“There were a couple of times when they came back a month later, saying they forgot and paid me back right then,” he said.
Rojak and Cendol Mustaffa
Jalan 17/41, Seksyen 17
46400 Petaling Jaya
11am-5.30pm daily (closed on the last Monday of the month)