Ipoh and cendol are two things I don’t associate together, unlike Ipoh and dim sum or Ipoh and nga choy kai. But my good friend told me about this really amazing cendol stall called Cendol Mari Gunung Rapat that her father often patronizes – and that I should really give it a try when I’m in the city.
And try I did.
It was a sweltering hot Saturday afternoon when I visited; so hot that I was starting to see double vision while queuing up under the hot sun. The car temperature indicator said it was close to 40 degrees and I couldn’t agree more.
Cendol Mari Gunung Rapat is a one-man show – I was told this young Indian chap has been running his stall for the past four years. From the looks of it, he commands a steady crowd of Ipoh locals wanting their share of shaved ice goodness on hot and humid days like the day I went.
So hot it was that I decided a bowl of cendol kacang wasn’t going to cut it. I needed a large packet to go as well, since we were already in queue. You get to have your cendol plain, with kacang, pulut, corn or everything in. Prices start from RM3.50 per bowl (plain) and goes up to RM5 (for everything inside). You’ll need to top up RM0.50 for takeaway.
Tastewise, this cendol well exceeded my expectation. Not because it’s scorching hot that afternoon but because it was pretty damn good. You get relatively fine ice shavings topped with generous lashings of creamy coconut milk and drizzles of thick, caramelised palm sugar syrup.
The kacang in my cendol is firm yet soft at the centre, and well retained its shape in the cendol mix. Each spoonful was decadent – sweet-savoury pleasures from the combination of first layer coconut milk and thick palm sugar, with shaved ice that binds everything together in unison.
It almost reminded me of (what I deem is) the best cendol in Melaka except that the green slivers from Cendol Mari Gunung Rapat isn’t as firm or toothsome as the Melaka version. Still, it is a good bowl of cendol and one I would have over and over again whenever I’m in Ipoh.
The takeaway version is less decadent because of the larger quantity of shaved ice but still delicious. If you want to really indulge in a bowl of creamy, almost artery clogging santan laden cendol with deliriously thick lashings of palm sugar, have it on the spot.
Food: 7.5/10 (pork-free)
Verdict: One of the best cendol I’ve eaten in a while. Definitely the best I’ve had so far in Ipoh.
Cendol Mari Gunung Rapat
51-33, Jalan Gunung Rapat,
Taman Cemerlang Rapat,
Business hours: 1pm till 4.30pm