Whether served in a cup or bowl, this all-time Malaysian favourite dessert is best eaten on a hot day. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: As temperatures rise, so do our cravings for some icy treats to beat the heat.

Imagine working under the sun for hours while you’re fasting. You’d have a great urge to quench your thirst, and what better way to do it than have a bowl of cold and creamy ‘cendol’ or ABC (locally called ‘Ais Batu Campur’).

Actually the colourful concoction consists of finely shaven ice, sweetened red beans, roasted sago pallets, grass jelly, agar-agar and sweetened corn. The slurpy, milky delight is a sight to behold and a supreme treat for the taste buds on any sunny day.

At Derik Law’s ABC stall at Lok Lok Restaurant at Ban Hock Road, the dessert is served in a deep bowl topped with ice heaped high like the tip of a mountain peak. Depending on one’s preferences, green pandan-flavoured jelly-like rice noodles and longan can be added or omitted.

Derik prepares shaved ice for ‘cendol’. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

What makes this stall unique is that all its desserts are fully doused with fresh and high-grade ingredients.

Derik, who has owned the stall since 2018, said instead of using syrups to complement the sweetness of the broth, the real treat was aromatic ‘gula apong’ (nipah palm sugar) poured on top of evaporated milk.

Gula apong, he said, is not a secret ingredient in Sarawak, but his ABC is more savoury due to the main ingredients such as red beans and sago. The red beans are always fresh and he boiled them himself.

“I do the boiling myself to make sure that the texture is firm and smooth,” he told New Sarawak Tribune yesterday when interviewed at his stall.

The stall itself is not like most others in Kuching which were inherited from retired family members. Derik has to start his from scratch. He was only 18 when he first became a full-time ABC vendor.

“Cooking has been my passion since I was young,” he said.

Previously, his stall was at Ming’s Corner Café near St Thomas’ and St Mary’s schools. Initially, most of his customers were school students.

“When the government recently imposed the conditional movement control order (CMCO), I decided to move my stall to Lok Lok Restaurant.

“During the past few days, my sales have been quite encouraging since the ease on the movement control order. I’m also using Food Panda to meet online orders,” he said.

For him, ABC stall is his livelihood and he acknowledged that the journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur is not easy.

“I hope to open more branches in future. I will continue to work hard as long as I live,” he said.