Nasi Ambang at Pagoh R&R
Our breakfasts in JB were the usual hotel coffeehouse buffet fare, but for late lunches we sought out kopitiams downtown. We found the Hua Mui Coffee Shop in Jalan Trus. This kopitiam is reputedly the first and therefore oldest kopitiam in JB, run by the Chiang family since 1946. It still retains some colonial era decor and an antiquated pulley system dumbwaiter to transport food to the top floor of the two-storey building. The serving staff here are most friendly and some are very long-serving (30 years!)
Despite having had breakfast earlier, we couldn't help ordering the charcoal grilled kaya and butter toast with Hainanese coffee (kau! - strong in Hokkien). Think of this as dessert before the main meal! We of course, tried their famous signature dish of the Hainanese Chicken Chop. A loved it so much that when we revisited the next day, she had the same thing. I varied between a so-so Mee Hailam and very generous Hainanese Fried Rice. Icing on the cake here for us once, were musicians busking outside. Good food, good music and old-world ambience... bliss!
Hua Mui downstairs and the antiquated pulley system dumbwaiter
Hua Mui's Hainanese Chicken Chop Kopi kau!
Mee Hailam Hainanese Fried rice
One dinner we had was at the Berjaya Waterfront area, at a Restoran Sayam. Other than the main dish of tomyam, there was otak-otak as well. Another dinner was at the home of my niece in Skudai, where we had some delicious home-cooked bihun with seafood and vegetable soup. Dessert was a bread and butter pudding. Sedap. Sedap. Terima kasih!
We also went to Banafee Village (at Jalan Dato' Abdullah Tahir) one evening to meet up with B and her colleagues. They had come down to JB for a business meeting. Since they had eaten earlier at the Banafee Restaurant nearby and we'd had our dinner at my niece's, so we just had drinks and enjoyed the live
The late morning before we left JB, we went downtown again, this time to seek out another (Malay) kopitiam in Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, the Dapur Jendela. Unfortunately it was closed or rather not yet open, because, as we later found out, they operate between 6 pm till 2 am! So we walked around the area admiring the old shophouses, some of which had been nicely renovated to house coffee hangouts, even an art gallery (with coffee). To quench our thirst, we conveniently spotted a unique cafe, Johor-born.
The first container cafe, Chaiwalla & Co. started business in JB at the beginning of 2013. (Their branch opened at the end of the same year at The Curve, and became Klang Valley's first container cafe). We were quite attracted to the set-up of the container 'building'. The real attraction was of course all the chai (tea) that you can choose from. You customise your own drinks, choosing your preferred flavour and toppings for the bases of tea, milk tea, or coffee.
If the best Nasi kandar is to be enjoyed in Pulau Pinang, then the best Johor foods must be enjoyed in the state of Johor (simplistic logic? or is it the water? huh??). Foods like the unique Laksa Johor, and Telur pindang, we have had before. Johor Asam pedas too, at Anisofea Restaurant at Mount Austin JB, We have yet to try the supposedly best Mee bandung (in Muar), and Nasi briyani gam (in Batu Pahat). Then there are other dishes; Lontong, Pecal, Soto, Halwa maskat, Arisa, Kacang pool, etc., etc. So much food to savour, so little time...
21-23 January 2015