Third generation vendor keeps legacy of Ah Yong ABC and Ice Kantong alive at Wayang Street

Sim's Ice Kantong.

By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Dec 3: If you’re in the vicinity of Wayang Street in Kuching City and in search of respite from the hot weather, it would be remiss of one not to make a stop at Ah Yong ABC and Ice Kantong to cool down with the taste of two popular local street desserts.

The friendly stall operator is 62-year-old Sim Khoon Yong, who is the third generation of the stall’s operators who have served these desserts over the last 48 years on the street.

Sim Khoon Yong

Sim said he learned to make ABC and Ice Kantong from his father who operated the stall at the vicinity.

ABC is a local shaved ice dessert comprising a mixture of four ingredients—cendol (green rice jelly), boiled kacang merah (red bean), red sago balls, and cincau (grass jelly)—topped with gula apong syrup and coconut milk or evaporated milk. Ice Kantong is a shaved ice ball traditionally compressed by hand served on a stick and coated with cherry, sarsi and gula apong syrup.

“I start almost mid-morning, so if you fancy these desserts do come around that time,” revealed Sim when met by DayakDaily.

The menu at Ah Yong ABC and Ice Kantong.
A bowl of Sim’s ABC.

Sim further disclosed the ingredients are carefully prepared so that the freshness of the dessert remains consistent.

“Some of the ingredients, I prepare them in a steel container and as I learned that this makes these ingredients last longer. I always make my green jelly daily and I throw away the leftover if not sold. This will ensure the taste and texture is consistent throughout,” he disclosed.

Sim explained he learned how to make the iced desserts from his late father, who he believed learned from his grandfather.

“I am the third generation selling these desserts. I am not sure how and why they came to serve it, in particular my grandfather.

“They never told me any story but I inherited their knowledge and followed their footsteps,” he shared.

Ah Yong ABC and Ice Kantong is located on the sidewalk of the Chinese opera house at Wayang Park opposite Hong Sang Si Temple along Wayang Street.

Sim said in 1978, when he first started selling ABC, a regular size bowl of the dessert was just priced at 30 sen if made with coconut milk, and 50 sen with made with evaporated milk. It is currently priced at RM3 and RM3.50 respectively.

“My Ice Kantong is RM3 now. During those days when my father was around, he sold it for 5 sen.

“The ice kantong came into existence and was in popular demand by students from the schools around here who like sweet ice desserts to ease their thirst but did not cost much money.

“Thanks to them, we got to make Ice Kantong dessert,” he revealed.

Sim shared he was a former Sarawak basketball athlete in 1981 and 1982 and played for the State.

“I was even called up to play for Malaysia, but the training schedule was packed, and I could not follow the routine, so I quit the sport and focussed on my ice dessert business.

Sim said his three children are helping him, and one will open a stall in Kota Sentosa.

“I am happy that I can do the same business in the vicinity and that someone is following the family footsteps, and it will the fourth generation doing ice desserts,” he said.

Sim’s Ah Yong ABC and Ice Kantong is located on the sidewalk of the Chinese opera house at Wayang Park opposite Hong Sang Si Temple along Wayang Street.

He operates daily from 11.30am to 5.30pm except on Tuesdays. For inquiries, call 016-854 6643. — DayakDaily