Bobby from Thistle Resort in Port Dickson suggested that I must try Haji Shariff’s cendol and pasembur (also known as Indian rojak) in Seremban. It's safe to say that everyone in Seremban knows Haji Shariff's Cendol which had been around since the 1930s, from a push cart to today's large corner shop.
Locating Haji Shariff's Cendol shop is easy.
Haji Shariff's Cendol is a large, green painted corner shop. You will not miss it, once you are on Jalan Yam Tuan (it's at the junction with Jalan Nunis).
Inside Haji Shariff's Cendol, it was bright and very clean. Green is the theme from the outside walls, wall tiles, flooring, furniture, the staff's shirt and apron, to the cendol "worms" itself. The spacious restaurant was well shielded from the scorching sun and was airy and breezy. People of all communities are here - Haji Shariff's Cendol obviously enjoyed lots of community love.
We first ordered a freshly made cendol, Haji Shariff's claim to fame.
I like Haji Shariff's cendol (RM2 per bowl) because it has interesting layers of sweetness from the green pandan worms, sweet corn, glutinous rice, boiled red beans, gula Melaka (palm sugar) and fresh coconut milk. The sweetness was mild and balanced with a slight salty note, so it was not cloying at all.
Six layers of sweetness all blended together in one delicious bowl. The chendol had interesting textures too with a mix of syrupy smooth, mushy, sticky and gently crunchy.
The fresh coconut milk gave off a nice fragrance too.
I like it that the pandan "worms" are made with real pandan leaves, not the starch and pandan essence type with "translucent glow worms".
Cendol is served with shaved ice, so it's the best answer to the stifling tropical heat of Malaysia and Singapore. (The thick aluminium bowl that kept the chendol cool was pretty cool looking itself too ;-p )
Next, we tried Haji Shariff's pasembur RM3.50 (also known as Indian rojak in Seremban).
Pasembur is a salad of shredded fresh cucumber, turnip, bean sprouts, potatoes, prawn fritters and fried bean curd (with a hard boiled egg thrown in).
The ingredients are doused with a splash of thick, fiery looking, sweet and spicy peanutty sauce with some sesame seeds.
All the ingredients are made fresh here at the Haji Shariff’s.
I like the interesting mix of textures from crispy to crunchy to spongy soft. The shredded vegetables were juicy and crunchy. The fiery looking gravy was just mildly spicy as it was well balanced with sweetness and nuttiness.
We liked the food at Haji Shariff's so much that we had double orders for everything.
That says a lot actually, because when we are out on food hunts far from home, we don't normally repeat our orders in any single sitting. Time and stomach space are limited. Repeat orders meant that we are sacrificing stomach space reserved for the day's other possible new discoveries.
Of course, we also had the mandatory teh tarik (pulled milk tea) to wash everything down.
Haji Shariff's also serves Indian mee rojak which I shall try at my next visit.
If you are visiting Seremban, don't leave town without trying Haji Shariff’s Cendol.
Restaurant name: Haji Shariff’s Cendol
Address: Haji Shariff’s Cendol No. 44, Jalan Yam Tuan, Seremban, Malaysia
Hours: Mon - Thu: 11:00 am - 6:30 pm | Sat - Sun: 11:00 am - 6:30 pm (Closed on Friday)
Date Visited: 28 May 2014
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