I got to know Tony aka Johorkaki last year when I asked him to write a guest post to introduce 5 of his favourite JB food places near the Malaysian immigration. Tony is a local Singaporean who blogs about JB food. He travels at least twice a week into Johor to check out new food places and shares it on his blog with fellow Singaporean and Malaysian readers. On a mission to introduce Johor food to the world, I am very happy to see Tony recently being awarded the winner for Malaysia Ministry of Tourism’s Malaysia International Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Blog Award 2013. That is a great achievement for a blog that is started slightly more than a year ago. Congratulation JohorKaki!
As you may know Maureen aka MissTamChiak and me have organised several hawker food trails and foodies gatherings, Tony has also joined us on a few occasions. It was at one of these gatherings we discussed about doing a Johor food trail and finally we put it to plan on 11 March 2013 on a Monday morning.
After meeting Tony at 8am, he drove us into Johor. Traffic was quite smooth since its a Monday morning and within 15 minutes we were at the other side of the causeway. Our first stop for breakfast was Bukit Chagar Roti Canai.
Roti Canai 4/5
Bukit Chagar Roti Canai has been around for more than 24 years. It only opens in the morning from 6am to 11am. Usually they will be sold out by 10am so be there early. We ordered both the plain and egg roti canai a total of 5 pieces which cost us around $8 ringgit. I preferred the plain roti canai over the egg one. The roti canai seems a bit more thicker compared to the one I have in Singapore. It had a nice crisp on the exterior but yet fluffy and airy inside.
Bukit Chagar Roti Canai
Junction of Jalan Bukit Chagar and Jalan Ungku Aziz (Next to Pine View apartments and PDRM apartments. [Map]
Daily: 6am - 11am
Our next breakfast stop was at Restoran Tua Thow for their Teochew style Kway Teow Soup. The stall has been around for more than 30 years. Tony told us some people refer this place as Kway Teow Soup opposite Larkin Fire Station.
Kway Teow Soup 4.5/5
Kway Teow Soup 4.5/5
We ordered the big portion at $10 ringgit. The luxurious bowl of KwayTeow Soup has so many ingredients in it! There were prawn, fish maw, pork liver, pork kidney, lean meat, fishball, fish slice and meatball. I have never seen such generous servicing in Singapore. It felt like I am having a combo bowl of seafood plus pig's organs soup in Singapore. The soup was clear and sweet without the trace of MSG being used while the rice noodle was soft and smooth.
Restoran Tua Thow Kway Teow Soup
Susur 4, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak (Next to Shell petrol station, opposite Larkin Fire Station). [Map]
Daily: 730am - 230pm (Closed on Fri)
Our next stop is TUTU area along a street of shophouses where many eateries are located. Tony has been raving about the famous fried durian fritter so we definitely must give it a try. It seems like Wah Cai has become a little celebrity in Johor Bahru being featured in numerous media and TV courage. Wah Cai uses a double fried method which gave the fried goodies an exterior crisp while retaining the freshness of the item inside.
Fried Durian Fritter 4.5/5
Fried Durian Fritter 4.5/5
I hate to admit it but I am totally sold. This is beyond awesome! Yes I maybe bias since I love durian but for the durian lovers out there you probably will stand by me. This is the real thing using premium durians (D24 and D101) that is further encased with a light batter deep fried but not stealing the limelight of the fruit giving it a whole new dimension of enjoying the king of fruit. The Fried Durian Fritter costs $2.50 ringgit a piece.
Fried 3-In-1 Nian Gao (Chinese Cake) 4.2/5
Fried 3-In-1 Nian Gao (Chinese Cake) 4.2/5
Fried Banana and Cempedak Fritter 4/5
While at the restaurant, we couldn't help ourselves to try the other fried goodies. The other signature item at Wah Cai is the 3-In-1 Fried Nian Gao ($1.50 ringgit per piece). It is called 3-In-1 because the Nian Gao is sandwiched by a slice of Yam and Sweet Potato. Wah Cai also supplies their Nian Gao to the stall at Malaysia Boleh at Jurong Point Singapore. Other delectable items are their Fried Banana Fritter ($1.50 ringgit per piece) and Fried Cempedak Fritter ($2.50 ringgit per piece).
Restoran Wah Cai (华仔炸年糕）
86, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, 81300 Johar Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 7am - 430pm
At the same stretch of shop houses, just a few door steps away from Wah Cai is the popular Lai Kee Fish Ball Noodle. Lai Kee has been around since 1987. Lai Kee and Wah Cai both started in the same coffeeshop further down the street and now they have their own shops. Business at Lai Kee can be so good that you need to queue up for a good 30 minutes for a seat. The boss told us that weekends is their most busy period where queue is already formed before the shop opens at 7am.
Fish Ball Noodle Dry 3.8/5
Fish Ball Noodle Soup 3.8/5
We tried both the Fish Ball Noodle Dry and Soup ($4.50 ringgit each). Lai Kee uses only Ikan Parang (西刀鱼) to make their fish ball. Half machine and half hand made, the fish ball is dense and firm. For me the star is their fish cake which was very springy. If you like to have a taste of tradition, this has to be the place to come where the restaurant still fried their own pork lards, chilli, makes their own fish ball, fish cakes and pork ball every morning.
Restoran Lee Kai Fishball Noodle (来记西刀鱼丸）
90, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, 81300 Johar Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 7am - 430pm
Our next stop was at 伍佰美食馆 where a 75 years old uncle, Mr Low from Fuzhou runs the restaurant with his wife and an old helper. Accordingly to Tony, this is the best Red Rice Wine Mee Sua (红糟鸡面线).
Red Rice Wine Mee Sua (红糟鸡面线) 4.8/5
I only tried Red Rice Wine Mee Sua (红糟鸡面线) once in Singapore from some food court stall and I regretted ordering it. If not for Maureen who is a big fan for red rice wine mee sua, I probably would have given this a miss. Thanks to Mr Low, Maureen and Tony, this bowl of awesomeness was worth travelling all the way down to Johor Bahru for it. A medley of flavours sending my taste buds dancing with delights accompanied with tender chicken and smooth silky mee sua soaking up the essence of the tangy sweet broth.
Wanton Mee 3.5/5
The Wanton Mee here is also pretty good. Mr Low does not use a lot of sauce or gravy for his wanton mee unlike the Singapore version. It can be a bit dry for some but the star is the egg noodles. The restaurant makes the egg noodles themselves using duck eggs. The egg noodles seem to have a more firmer and springy texture compared to those commonly made from chicken eggs. The restaurant also serves spinach egg noodles.
Restoran Lima Ratus
4, Jalan Undan 18, Taman Perling, Johor Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 7am - 3pm (Closed on Wed)
After all the eating, we took a break and went for an hour foot reflexology before continuing the second half of our food trail. The second half starts with Teck Sing Paper Baked Herbal Chicken (德星药材纸包鸡).
Paper Baked Herbal Chicken 4.5/5
Wrapped in thick layers of parchment papers, the chicken was baked to tender soft with a nice subtle and sweet herbal taste. The aromatic Paper Baked Herbal Chicken ($18 ringgit) can be easily dissect and the meat fell off the bone with ease. The only slight disappointment was the use of kampong chicken that does not have much meat. Nevertheless, this is finger licking good.
Restaurant Teck Sing (德星药材纸包鸡)
3 & 5, Jalan Sutera Satu, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 11am - 10pm
After driving and eating around Johor Bahru for almost three quarter of the day, we headed to Taman Serene Hawker Centre opposite San Low Seafood Restaurant for some Ice Kachang and Rojak. Accordingly to Tony, Tan Kee Pelangi has been very popular with students for decades as it is near to the Chinese school. With the new location, the owner has renamed the new stall after their daughter as Joo Yee with the old name in bracket.
Ais Kachang 3.8/5
Like the Ice Kachang in Singapore the ice kachang at Joo Yee comes with an abundance of ingredients such as red beans, corns and attap seeds underneath the heap of crushed ice. So what is so special about the Ais Kachang (Ice Kachang in Malay)? It has to be the generous chocolate syrup topping. Accordingly to Tony, the stall makes their own chocolate syrup from cocoa powder and you can have unlimited serving of it.
Joo Yee (Tan Kee Pelangi) not only sells dessert, the stall also sells Rojak. The Rojak only comes with grilled Youtiao and Tau Pok mixed with a savoury nutty sauce. While Maureen and Chuan Kai prefer the sweet sauce version, I enjoyed Joo Yee's savoury rojak. We sent $9 ringgit at the stall for the Ais Kachang and Rojak.
Joo Yee (Tan Kee Pelangi) 彩虹陈记
Jalan Biru (Stall in hawker centre opposite San Low seafood restaurant), Taman Serene, Johor Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 7am - 5pm
Tony was sharing with us since morning that Kway Teow Kia is a staple dish of Johor Bahru. For the whole day he was trying to bring us to one but most of them were closed on Monday. We finally managed to visit Restoran Woon Kiang (汶强粿條仔) which is open on Monday. For the whole day, I was wondering what is the difference between Kway Teow Soup and Kway Teow Kia and now I have my answer.
Kway Teow Kia 4/5
Kway Teow Kia 4/5
Kway Teow Kia is actually the same as our Kway Chap in Singapore. Except for the Kway which is narrow and firmer, the rest are pretty the same. You can order a varieties of dishes to go with the bowl of kway, mainly consists of pig innards and braised duck.
Restoran Woon Kiang (汶强粿條仔)
#G-06, Jalan Pandan 1, Pangsarpuri Impian, Stulang, Johor Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 6pm - midnight (Closed on Tues)
I have read about this mobile Pasar Malam thing in Johor Bahru that is set up at different places on different day of the week. Since it is a Monday, we headed down to Taman Century where the Pasar Malam stretches outside the KSL City Mall. It is quite a an interesting scene where vehicles are converted into stalls selling a whole varieties of stuff just in front of the residential houses.
Pasar Malam at Taman Century (Mondays Only)
Outside KSL City Mall. [Map]
Motorbike Penang Rojak
Tony was sharing with us that there is this uncle selling Penang Rojak on his motorbike next to Pelangi Shopping Centre. We didn't manage to find him earlier in the day but we are so lucky to spot him at the Pasar Malam.
Penang Rojak 4.2/5
Riding down on his motorbike to Johor to find a living, the rojak uncle has been selling his Penang Rojak on the same motorbike for the past 20 over years. Penang Rojak mainly consists of fruits and these are picked by the uncle every morning to ensure they are fresh and sweet. The gluey sweet and savoury sauce topped with grounded peanuts over the cut fruits was a heavenly enjoyment.
No Name Penang Rojak (Motorbike)
Along Jalan Maju next to Pelangi Shopping Centre in Taman Maju Jaya. [Map]
Opening Hours next to Pelangi Shopping Centre:
Mon-Tue: 1230pm - 345pm
Wed-Sun: 1230pm - 5pm
(Closed on Thur)
Black Carrot Cakes
Black Carrot Cakes 3.5/5
There was a long queue of customers at this mobile stall at the Pasar Malam and we couldn't help to buy a packet of the Black Carrot Cakes ($5 ringgit) to find it out ourselves. It was quite ordinary. The radish cake was rather mushy but I enjoyed the generous amount of eggs. It was also not too sweet which suits my palate.
Our last stop of the day was at Cedar Point Food Centre for supper. There were many stalls at the food centre but our limited stomach space prevented us from checking them all out. We settled for
Sin Kee Ikan Bakar to have grilled fish and some vegetables.
Four Heavenly Kings 3.5/5
Grilled Sambal Fish 3/5
We order both the Grilled Four Heavenly Kings and Sambal Fish for $28 ringgit. The grilled four heavenly kings were actually long beans, petai, lady's finger and kacang botol. The greens were fresh and crunchy. The fish we ordered the local called it the "chicken fish", not sure why but it was rather bland. Nevertheless, the sambal here is really good, fragrant but yet not too spicy.
Cedar Point Food Centre
Jalan Musang Bulan 2-16, Taman Century, 80250 Johor Bahru. [Map]
Daily: 6pm - Midnight
I would like to once again extend my thanks and appreciation to Tony for bringing us around and introducing to us the delicious Johor food. I am also attracted to the dedication and warm of the hawkers we have visited. I have learnt a lot in this trip. I hope this blog post will also serve as a guide for those who is interested to explore Johor.