Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul: The Legacy Continues

by - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

It all started with love; of a father who wanted to ensure the best for his children and his family when he started the business in this moving tale of the start up of one of the most successful local enterprises in the nation.

There is nothing that a parent would want but to be able to provide for his own children to live a good life and to be able to receive a good education and that was exactly the objective on Mr  Tan Teik Fuang's mind when he used his own hands to mould and prepare cendol every day to earn a living on the street back then in 1936. Times were hard back then; with the ramifications from the instability due to the transition between the colonization and Japanese occupation period, but that did not deter Mr Tan from providing for his family.

Cendol; or the worm-like wriggly rice-flour jelly strips (a traditional dessert in Southeast Asia) were handmade by Mr Tan and they were his main bread and butter for his trade as he sets up his stall to sell this simple fare, served with sweet syrup and red beans with shaved ice every day on the small alley in Penang.
His little stall is located on this alley near Penang Road, or better known as Lebuh Keng Kwee (Keng Kwee Street) which is just on one of the joint on the main road itself.
Little would he imagine his simple business, which was just a way to feed his family and himself, would flourish into a major household name with growing number of outlets in the country today.

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Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul is not a stranger to the local Penangites; as many have stood witnesses to the humble beginnings of a simple roadside stall selling chendul to its progressive commercial growth today.
The famous chendul is now made available through the many outlets set up in various locations; food courts in shopping malls and complexes around the country today, thanks to the swift and commercial savvy mind of Mr Tan Chong Kim, the sixth son of the late Mr Tan Teik Fuang, who took over the business from his father and while he maintained the business, he also took to the development and expansion of the business nationwide.

The essence of Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul is all about quality; thriving on the very concept of love as emphasized by the founder himself.
While it was a trade to begin with, the Tans believed in delivering quality products to share their love and passion to those who bought their cendol.
Mr Tan worked on the cendol himself; from the making of the strips to the serving to the customer at his stall and he took pride in the quality of his cendol, while maintaining his humility and friendliness with those who patronized his stall.
This very concept is the core of the business and is continued by his son, Mr Tan Chong Kim until this very day.

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I remembered this stall and heard of the stories of them when I was a little girl, on my yearly visits to Penang to visit my grandmother, where she used to stay near Penang road.
It was a short trip; within walking distance from my grandmother's old place.
Their prices are always reasonable and service is just superb.
The long queues never deter anyone from waiting to get a taste of their icy sweet desserts, for they know how to treat their customers well and prioritizing their customers based on their turns.
(Yes, they take note of the customers who arrived first and serving goes by the first-come-first-served basis, on an unbiased tone)
They will always smile at their customers, and even took note to remind their customers to stand to the side to avoid oncoming cars turning into the alley.
(Their original stall is located on the side of the road and there are always cars and motorcycles turning into the junction where there are other shops and old pre-war shophouses located on the alley, so yes, this is an alley with moving traffic while you stand there to enjoy your bowl of cendol).

Everyone who visits the stall will not feel unwelcomed as even their helpers would always serve the customers with a smile and with much humility; putting their customers above themselves.

It is this very concept of humility and quality that sets them apart others and their emphasis on these contribute to their success story today.

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It is also for this very reason that they wanted unbiased reviews and honest opinions on the tastes and quality of the food in their branch outlets.
That was the main objective of a food tasting session organized by Mr Owen Tan; the youngest son of Mr Tan Chong Kim who invited us bloggers to the Queensbay Mall outlet last Saturday.

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This is not the usual food review or tasting session; nor was the intention of the event in general.
It certainly goes without saying that the brand of Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul needs no advertising or blog marketing to create awareness on their reputation, for they are far more established in their name, after decades of being in the business and currently succeeded by the third generation in the very family.

I was impressed with the humble wishes of this home brand which I have also grown up with to see its continuous success and their strong determination to maintain the original quality of their products.
It is a legacy; a heritage line of love which they wanted to maintain as the very core of the business.

This is truly something which should be extracted and followed by many, to not just focus on the growth and success of the business but to also prioritize that very essence of quality of the core products which pushed the brand to success in the very first place.

From the original cendol to their expanded menu with innovative additions which included a few of Penang's local favorites, Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul is definitely no longer all about cendol anymore.

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Cendol may be the very heart and soul of this business, but they have also cleverly introduced the local favorites treasured by the Penangites; Assam Laksa and Rojak which have made their way into the core staples of Penang's local delights, also available here, with the Tans' own take on perfecting these gems fastened in the hearts of the locals.

The famous Original Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul
A traditional dessert of these jelly-like rice flour strips flavored with pandan juice served with red beans in sweet palm sugar syrup soup (Gula Melaka) over shaved ice.
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Teochew Chendul with Durian

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Penang Assam Laksa
A local Penang favorite of silky smooth rice noodles served with a fish-based soup made of tamarind juice, shrimp paste served with thinly sliced onions, pineapples, pieces of fish and finally finished with garnishing of mint leaves and sliced chilies.
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Penang Rojak
A medley of fruits and vegetables; cut pineapples, jicama, mangoes, guavas with cucumbers and fried bean buffs and bean sprouts mixed with shrimp paste (heh ko - a mad favorite among Penangites) tossed with grounded nuts.
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Aside from the Penang Famous Trio; Cendol, Assam Laksa and Rojak, the outlet also offers a variety of carefully selected Penang local favorites as follows:-

Kuang Jiang/Guang Jiang 
A Teochew delicacy of Deep Fried Beancurd/yam cake filled with radishes or Turnips

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The special decorations on both sides are delicately carved by the chef for the occasion, and is exclusively for us only (sorry!) - it is not going to be a regular sight when order it off the counter.
Thanks for the special treatment, we feel honored :-)


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Curry Mee
Another local favorite is this bowl of light creamy and spicy hot broth laden with chili paste and coconut milk served with a combination of rice vermicelli and yellow noodles along with bean sprouts, long beans, fried bean puffs, cuttlefish strips, shrimps and cockles.
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My personal favorite; the Ice Kacang
(Malaysian favorite cold dessert of shaved ice served with rose syrup or sweet syrup, and Penang's version may sometimes include a hint of Sarsi and milk with red beans, grass jelly, sweet corn, candle, jelly, topped with a scoop of ice cream and grounded nuts sprinkled over it)

Original Ice Kacang (also known as ABC)

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Ice Kacang with Nutmeg
This is highly recommended and is a special homage to sets it apart as Penang's version with that local touch of the locally produced nutmeg; which is also exclusive to the state.

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Personally I was never big on nutmeg, but this changed my mind and is a refreshing twist to the traditional Ice Kacang, although I am still all for the original version.
Try this if you would like a change.
(I strongly recommend this, especially if you want a taste of Penang and is just a HUGE fan of nutmeg)

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The latest addition to their menu and is now available at their outlets is this

Chee Cheong Fun (original version with shrimp paste - Heh Ko and sweet sauce)
Flat rice noodles rolled and chopped into mini rolls or flat pieces, served with sweet sauce or shrimp paste (Heh Ko) or soy sauce; or mixed and sprinkled with sesame seeds and garnished with fried shallots to give it that aromatic flavor)

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I am not a professional food reviewer nor a food critic, and I am very sure they are aware of that.
I am just your normal everyday person who would occasionally go for these street food (maybe an exceptionally picky one), and that is exactly what they would want to represent the opinions on the quality of the tastes of their offerings.

Judging from their successes, it is obvious that Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul has definitely maintained their standards and with their continuous efforts and open mind in gathering feedback from their customer base to improve the quality, I have no doubt they will continue to grow and prosper.

That is exactly what I hope and look forward to, for this well-loved Penang name.

Perhaps it is that Teochew in me, or just the pride and passion for this longtime local brand which I have personally seen it withstand the test of time and I am positive will continue its legacy for many generations to come.

I think I may have even discovered in the tastes of their food, the secret recipe for their success....

It all comes down to only three main ingredients; Love, Quality and Humility


Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul has made all Penangites and Malaysians proud and I look forward to see this legacy continue.

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**Special thanks to Mr Owen Tan, Stef, and Kimmie for arranging this session and also for inviting me for this wonderful sharing session and thank you for the great hospitality.

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This is more of a sharing and tasting session rather than a review, and I am glad to be a part of it for it is indeed a lovely and memorable experience.


For more information on Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul, kindly head over to their official website HERE
(The list of all their branch outlets are available on the website as well).



Outlet Featured Here:
Penang Road Famous Teochew Chendul outlet in Queensbay Mall
Lot 3F-23(10), Queensbay Mall
100 Persiaran Bayan Indah, 11900 Bayan Lepas,
Penang

Location of original stall:
27 Lebuh Keng Kwee, Georgetown, 10100 Penang
The stall is next to Joo Hooi Cafe.

They have their own shoplot down the street, they will usually redirect you to the shop for more seats if you are not into the whole standing by the stall/roadside to enjoy your bowl of candle (although there is just that sense of excitement and being part of the crowd, or experiencing the local culture when you do that. You get to develop your sense of swerving to your side to make way for a passing car or motorcycle)






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