Monday, December 16, 2013

Singgah Selalu @ Johor Bahru

Whoops, didn't realise that this post was languishing in the unpublished pile!

Apologies for the lack of photos, we only had the camera phone to work with.

The restaurant is quite easy to find as they have a few branches. We went to the one at Danga Bay, which is opposite of Tune Hotel.

The restaurant is huge, could easily seat a 100 pax or more!

K: I think it can seat more than 100. Maybe 200++? It also has live music performance at night. Very convenient place to meet up & lepak. Nak tengok bola pun bolehhhh....

We had the controversial asian favorite; sharks fin soup, tomato chili crab and butter fried sotong (calamari).

The sharks fin soup, to be honest, was forgettable. The restaurant didn't even have black vinegar and instead gave us kicap - FAIL wey! It wasn't bad, mind you, but it wasn't great so why spend money and have a poor shark die in vain for mediocrity?

The tomato chili crab was rather pricey (RM40++) but the portion was fair enough. I don't have chili crab often enough to tell you if this is the best thing ever but it was good. The crab was meaty and fresh, I only wished the sauce was just a little more sour. 

The outstanding dish was the butter fried sotong because of the generous portion. Rm14 for a dish big enough for 3! And yes, it was yummy too.

K: Yeah, the butter fried sotong is the only dish that I would consider value for money. The rest were, hmmmm, average.

Good variety of food - Western, Malaysian, Chinese - so, if you come in a big group there're plenty of choices for everyone. Shisha pun ada!

Quality wise, not bad but just doesn't have that extra zing.

Verdict - It's not bad but it's not outstanding. Certainly won't have us rushing for another trip to JB.

Singgah Selalu
36, D,E,F, Jalan Skudai, 
80200 Johor Bahru.
T: 07-2377255

Price - $-$$$
Open 24 hours

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Restoran New Holly Wood @ Ipoh

Another place that came highly recommended in Ipoh is Restoran New Holly Wood, a halal chinese kopitiam. It's on the opposite end of Restoran Canning Corner.

Apparently the must have is the char koi (RM0.70)

Looks good yes?

But it was a let down, as we found it to be rather oily and chewy compared to Canning Corner's char koi which we had the previous day. 

K: It was also saltier. 

Thankfully this dish made up for the disappointment! I love Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have this halal dish. Can you see all those generous sized prawns? So fresh and crunchy! If you can find ones of that size with that price (RM3.50) in KL (that is halal or pork free of course) then do tell.

K: One thing we didn't do here was order drinks. Why, you ask? Well, in the course of researching places to go, we surfed the web to find reviews. And in a review for the New Holly Wood Restaurant, the operator was apparently caught red handed recycling straws. Yuck!! The idea of sucking drinks through a straw that has been used by God knows how many countless strangers is really gross. So, no drinks, only food.

But to be fair, the straws didn't seem to be of different lengths when we went. 

K: Compared to Canning Garden, none of the stalls here have Halal certs. 

However this place, which has been established for a longer period, is the more happening of the two. You'll see a lot of people here.

K: Yeah, we saw Mamat Khalid of Hantu Kak Limah fame, younger brother of Lat, having his lunch here.

Restoran New Hollywood
38, Jalan Lee Kwee Foh,
Canning Garden,
Ipoh, Perak

Price - $
Certified halal meat sources (not that we saw them that day)
Apologies, we forgot to take the operating hours but it's open for brunch.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Restoran Capati Maju Rapat @ Ipoh

Truth be told, I was a bit reluctant to come here. I like capati but what's so special about this one that we'd drive all the way from Klang Valley to Ipoh for? It sure looks like your typical mamak shop, and it wasn't even crowded (but to be fair, we did come at an off-peak hour).

K: We came with middling expectations and we went away with great appreciation of the modest capati. All hail the capati!!


We came here quite late, around 11ish, I think so we didn't get any freshly made capati - it was all reheated stuff. That was already a bad sign since most capatis would get tough once it gets cold and no amount of reheating will change that. Imagine my surprise when I bit into the capati - it was as tender and soft as the moment it was first fried. A sign of good quality material used in the dough.

Then there was the sardine. I've had roti canai with sardine before but it was usually sardine with tomato sauce, straight out of the can. This was different. They took the sardine but they did not use any of the tomato sauce, instead they cook it in curry. 


Now that was something! Good curry + good sardine = mouthwatering deliciousness.

To top it all off, it was dirt cheap. A capati costs RM1 while the sardine curry was RM1. Yes, a RM2 meal!

The shop actually has a lot more curry choices recommended (beef, mutton, etc) but sardine was all that was left for that day. In fact, I think we had the last bit of sardine.

Verdict - Delicious, healthy(ish) and cheap. Must makan!

Restoran Capati Maju Rapat
Jalan Lapangan Terbang
31350 Ipoh

Price - $

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mee Daud Mat Jasak @ Ipoh

Wah, I didn't know Ipoh was famous for mee kicap. One of the most popular malay noodle shop in Ipoh is apparently Restoran Mee Daud Mat Jasak (or just Mat Jasak), their specialty being mee kicap and curry mee.

K: My friend told me to try mee kicap Mat Jasak as that's what it's famous for. I have to wonder, is the business really started by Mat Jasak or is it just people shortening the name to Mat Jasak and omitting the Daud? Well, since the business is started in 1972, it could well be Mat Jasak's recipe.

So does it live up to the hype?


The curry mee (RM3.50)  is surprisingly mellow, more lemak (coconut cream) than spicy. As it was Malay, I was expecting something with more kick. If you prefer something less spicy, this is for you. As for me, I'd give it a miss cos I find it tawar.

K: Since we just had curry mee at Canning Corner, I couldn't help but compare both. The curry mee here is also thin but it lacks flavour. Thumbs down from me.

The curry mee comes with fishball and "prawns". Have you seen those prawns balls now shaped like the real thing? Yuck. I personally never liked prawn balls, this new shape doesn't improve the taste either.

Thankfully, the mee kicap (RM3.50) was much better. It comes with yong tau foo

K: Mee kicap was definitely better than the curry mee. In comparison to mee kicap at Canning Corner, I think the mee kicap here is better. The kicap is not too sweet or too salty, just nice. The soup with the yong tau foo has more flavour, while the soup at Canning Corner was drowning in white pepper.

I forgot to taste the soup at Canning Corner but I will say I prefer CC's yong tau foo over Mat Jasak. I think their fishballs/ cake and bean curd skin tastes better. Mat Jasak's mee kicap, btw, uses yellow noodles.

K: Also had a nice conversation with the operator. Apparently the 3 siblings take shifts to operate the shop. One prepares the food in the morning, the other one on the afternoon and the last one at night. So, the taste and flavour might differ depending on which sibling is preparing the food.

Verdict - stick to the mee kicap, skip the mee curry unless you like it tawar.

Mee Daud Mat Jasak
Jalan Datuk Onn Jaafar
Taman Jubilee,
30300 Ipoh, Perak

Price - $
Opening hours - 8am - 10pm daily but if food finish early, tutup awal.

Restoran Canning Corner @ Taman Canning, Ipoh

 K: The elusive hunt for halal roast duck continues! We were actually looking for halal roast duck which were supposedly sold at Restoran Hong Kong but the restaurant is there no more. 

Eh, go check the address again? Right address... Let's go around the block, nope, no Restoran Hong Kong anywhere. Ah well, might as well just eat here then.

It turns out that Restoran Hong Kong's previous owner sold it, and the new owner has renamed it Restoran Canning Corner. It's still the same concept though, a kopitiam housing several operators serving halal-ish Chinese hawker food fare. Alas, no halal roast duck. Aisey.

Nevermind lah, janji got makan. No roast duck? No problem. There's always curry mee and mee kicap with yong tau foo. :)

The curry mee was deceptively thin looking, maybe even watered down. Wah, so wrong! The soup was very robust, just kurang lemak (less cream), which is healthier anyway.

K: I agree. The curry was not thick but it certainly was not lacking in flavour. Thicker is not always better! I also like the generous sprinkling of mint leaves in the curry. 

The noodles had the usual fishballs and tau foo pok. The kerang (cockles) was lightly cooked, therefore deliciously succulent. 

I'm not usually a fan of yellow noodles as they tend to have a strong chemical taste (too much perservatives?) but these tasted great and had a nice springy texture.

The mee kicap was like wantan mee but no wantans. It's a popular breakfast/ lunch meal in Ipoh served with crunchy fried shallots, sesame seeds and a side of yong tau foo soup. It also came with a generous amount of fresh mint leaves and of course, taugeh.

Sedap but overshadowed by the curry mee.

K: I agree. Curry mee is better than the mee kicap. The mee kicap supposedly costs RM1.50 while the curry mee is supposed to cost RM1.80 but since I added cockles in the curry mee as well as extra yong tau foo for the mee kicap which costs RM0.70 per piece, the total bill for both came up to RM9.10. Still quite reasonable.

Char kueh/ chakoi (70 sen per piece) was a big hit for us. Wah, best! It was not oily, with a crispy exterior but surprisingly soft, not chewy. The dough is more sweet than salty (but not too sweet) and delicious unadorned or dipped in your kopi/ cham/ curry mee, etc.  

K: Cheap chakoi is quite chewy, probably due to the cheap flour or maybe there's some secret recipe which keeps the chakoi soft even though it's no longer warm? Not this one. Naisss....

Chee cheong fun with curry (RM3)
Slippery smooth rice noodle roll served in black sauce with fried shallots and sesame seeds, no yong tau foo. This dish is normally not halal cos the sauce usually has pork. You can order it with or without curry, if you don't like spicy food. The curry boleh tahan pedas jugak!

Verdict - So coming back for the chakoi! Extra bonus points: The stalls have halal certs for their food products. That should allay some worries.

Restoran Canning Corner
Corner of Lorong Cecil Rae and Jalan Jaycee Park
Next to a big field, on the opposite end of Restoran New Holly Wood

Price - $
Certified Halal meat sources
(Apologies, we forgot to take the telephone number and opening hours. But we came for brunch, and unlikely open for dinner)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan @ Putrajaya

The Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan Putrajaya (which translates to Putrajaya Dam Grilled Fish) was opened earlier this year, taking over a failed steamboat restaurant.

K: It was actually brought to Putrajaya by Tan Sri Aseh, the President of Perbadanan Putrajaya to liven up the dam area. The original restaurant is the famous Muara Ikan Bakar in Kelang,  at least that's what I was told.

We had four dishes; kailan ikan masin (salted fish kailan), sotong masak tiga rasa (three flavoured squid), ikan pari bakar (grilled sting ray) and nasi lemak.

K: This is actually the 1st time I've had sotong masak 3 rasa. Masak 3 rasa is normally done for fish rather than sotong.

The veggies (RM6) were so so and the sotong (rm15) rubbery and lacking in flavour.

But the fish saves the restaurant from being written off.

The fresh sting ray (RM 7.50) was grilled simply in banana leaf, which keeps the fish moist yet fragrant. That's it, no sambal or fancy spice rub, I don't think I detected salt either! It's served with a not too spicy asam jawa dip.

K: The dip was nice and it complements the fish well.

Sambal ikan bakar is available only during lunch time, so we'll have to make it a point to drop by at that time.

The nasi lemak (RM2) was good as you can tell they weren't stingy with the santan. The sambal was thick and had a nice kick that went well with the sting ray. But the nasi lemak was rather kedekut with other condiments, just some lonely cucumber.

K: Price wise, not bad, the pari was only RM7.50 but the sotong cost a whopping RM15. Maybe I'll pick a different recipe for the sotong next time.

Pfft. A different recipe will not change the fact that it was overcooked to death.

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan, is as the name says, at the dam near the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). There's a lovely waterfront park with a playground to help you work up an appetite. Apologies, no pics of the park as it was dark by then.

The restaurant itself isn't terribly fancy (just plastic tables and chairs) but it's clean and has a gorgeous view of the (only) skyscrapers in Putrajaya.

Verdict - Food wise, hit and miss. Bonus points for the park and view, boleh lepak!

Ikan Bakar Seri Empangan
​Pusat Kawalan Empangan,
Taman Empangan, Presint 5,
62000 Putrajaya

Tel: 013-3490191, 012-4268081, 017-3368081, 012-2888340, 012-3378081

Price - $ - $$
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed on Mondays.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Kedai Makan Jadi Baru Botak @ Restoran Botak

Apologies for the lack of pics for this post, it was a rainy day and we were rushing for cover.

K: One good way to find out good makan places is to ask people. That's what we did. We got a lot of recommendations and one of them was for Kedai Makan Jadi Baru (Botak). 

TJ: With such a name, who wouldn't be intrigued? Is the chef botak? Will you lose your hair from eating there? Dun dun DUUUUUUNNN....

K: Kedai Makan Jadi Baru literally translated is Becomes New Eating Shop. How did Botak comes into the picture? Apparently, the proprietor is bald (botak), so people started to refer to the shop as Botak's. As they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So, as the place is already well know as Botak's shop, the proprietor included (Botak) in the signage.

High on the recommended list was the fried senangin, fried cuttlefish and asam pedas. My friend who recommended this place said he would always go here everytime he's in JB. Apparently this place is also a favourite of the Johore Sultan. Which Sultan? Now that's one question I forgot to ask.

So when we got here of course we ordered all that plus some otak-otak and stir fried spinach.

TJ: The food here tastes very homemade. All of the dishes felt very simple and humble, but well cooked indeed.

Take the fried senangin for example. It's just fresh fish, seasoned with a light hand, fried to a crisp but the flesh was still tender and juicy. The stir fried sotong with shallots, also lightly seasoned, was soft but springy. It takes experience to not overcook such delicate things!

The otak-otak was a very generous sized portion and not fishy. I prefer nyonya otak-otak over Malay as the former usually steams the dish instead of grilling, which can make the dish dry if the cook isn't careful. Plus the former is heavier on the spice. Botak's otak-otak also had some fish flakes to add texture to an otherwise smooth mousse.

I find that Malay asam pedas to be spicier and more sour than the nyonya version. This one was like a middle ground; spicier than nyonya but sweeter than Malay style. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. The assam pedas was served with okra and eggplant.

The stir fried spinach was worthy of my popo's home cooking. 

This was our third Asam Pedas for this makan trip, plus we had a late breakfast, so we were not as enthused as we normally would be. While I can see why it's recommended and I agree that they were all good dishes, the prices weren't competitive. 

Out of the three places we had Asam Pedas, Botak's was the most expensive. To be fair, we had the other two in Melaka, however one must factor in the ambience.

The ambience at Botak's is nothing to shout about. While the restaurant is clean, it's in an old, shabby neighbourhood. There's no air conditioning either. Despite the lack of a crowd, parking was surprisingly scarce for a weekday (we came around 12pm to avoid the lunch rush hour). 

The cost of our meal (inc drinks) came up to roughly RM30-40 per pax.

Wah, can you imagine the price if it was upscale? We hear this restaurant is very popular, even with Singaporeans. Could that be the reason for the price?

K - The portions were so so considering the price. Only the otak-otak's portions were generous. Nice food, but not a must eat for me, especially since there's nothing special about the restaurant itself. Just a typical kedai makan. 

Verdict - Worth a visit, at least once to rasa. Delicious, simple food but the price makes us think twice about coming again...

Restoran Makan Jadi Baru (Botak) (map)
No. 145
Jalan Lumba Kuda
80000, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6072249225

Price - $$ - $$$ (depends on what you are ordering of course)
Opening hours - 7am to 10pm

No pork served

Monday, August 26, 2013

Azo 96 Murtabak Kg Melayu Majidee @ Johor Bahru

I first had murtabak singapore in Singapore, in Kampong Glam/ Arab Street. To be precise, we had murtabak from Zam Zam, which was famous for that dish. 

How does murtabak Sg compare to My?

The murtabak I'm familiar with is yellowy and a little wet from the filling. Sg murtabak is drier but it feels more meaty. This could be because they use ground beef instead of finely minced beef. The roti is also thicker, crispier and chewier. The filling is cooked individually and added layer by layer. 

It's served with curry or sos cili and cucumber (at Zam Zam anyway) instead of pickled red onions.

Size wise, the sg murtabak is a LOT larger. About double, quadruple the size. Of course this means the price is heftier too (especially when you convert huhu)

When I brought some back for my grandmother, the purist to try, she took one look and declared that it was not murtabak and the best murtabak can only be found in Kota Bharu (she's biased).

So if you, like my grandmother, are stuck in your definition of what's a murtabak, then no, it's not a murtabak. It's a square roti canai stuffed with ground beef and with more ground beef on top. Now try it cos it's delicious, mmkay?

K - I was first introduced to Murtabak Singapore at Kg Melayu Majidee a few years back when I was on a working trip to JB. My colleague who was a Johorean brought me here and wow, it was really good. Not only did I finished it in double quick time, I even bought a few more to bring back to KL. Now that I'm back in JB, a trip to Kg Melayu Majidee is a must. However, the outlet I went to at that time was not the same one I went to today. But they both taste just as good.

Azo 96 is in a warung opposite of the Masjid Jamek Kampung Melayu Majidee, so it is relatively easy to find due to the landmark. This area is apparently famous for Murtabak Singapore as there are several stalls offering this dish. 

How does JB's Murtabak Singapore compare to the one Singapore?

Fuh! Very well fought indeed, pretty much neck-and-neck in taste. But I'm going to give JB the crown because it's easier on our Malaysian wallet (about rm7). Extra points for not serving it with sos cili and cucumbers (that stuff should never touch murtabak).

K - I have to disagree with TJ here. No, I'm not saying Zam Zam's murtabak is better. I'm saying that Kg Melayu Majidee's murtabak is waaaaaaay better than Zam Zam's. Why? Zam Zam's ground beef on top of the murtabak is quite dry, it sticks in the throat. Kg Melayu Majidee's murtabak on the other hand still retains it's juice & moisture so it tastes sooo much better. 

Verdict - Best in JB and better than Singapore!

Azo 96 Murtabak Kg Melayu (map)
Jalan Masjid
Kampung Melayu Majidee
Johor Bahru

Price - $
Opening Hours - forgot to ask, one website claims 5pm but we went earlier, around 2pm and it was open.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kacang Pool Haji

When K added Kacang Pool to our JB makan list, my first thought was, "wtf is that?"

A pool of beans? Is it a sweet dish like bubur kacang merah?

Fuh, so wrong and how!

Kacang Pool is actually Ful ("f" is not native to bahasa), which according to wikipedia, is Ful Medames, "an Egyptian/ Sudanese dish" consisting of mashed fava beans (kacang parang).

If you, like me, have never had Kacang Pool, the closest dish I can think of would be chili con carne like at Wendy's (but miles better than the fast food place of course).

This robust dish is thick not watery, and instead of leftover burger meat, you have fresh ground beef for added texture. There's a slight sweetness (courtesy of red onions) to balance the spices. According to a Harian Metro article, there's no added salt, sugar and additives used.

Kacang Pool is served with lime (to squeeze), sunny side up egg,  fresh chopped green cili and diced red onion and a thick slab of home-made toast. It's a breakfast dish, so you can come over from 7am. I hear that the weekends can get pretty busy though.

The stall is located at the Medan Selera Bomba Larkin. They have other dishes such as rojak buah and tauhu bakar but we were saving stomach space for another makan place.

It's a tiny food court so the parking here can be quite limited, the view ain't pretty, and there's no air conditioning. But who cares?

K: However: The drains around the food court is filthy. Food containers & other food stuff were clogging up the drains. So if you are picky about stuff like that, avoid the place.

Behind the food court is an open field overgrown with lallang and other shrubs. When we were parking our car, we saw a mother burung wak wak with her chicks foraging for food. I've seen adult burung wak wak before but not the chicks. So, that was a big plus.

Verdict- Omnomnomnomnom. Hearty, cheap and healthy(ish)? Good god, I need another trip to JB!

Kacang Pool Haji (have a map)
Medan Selera Larkin Bomba
Jalan Tun Abdul Razak Susur 5,
Taman Larkin, 80350
Johor Bahru

Open from 7am
Price range - $

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Restoran ZZ @ Johor Bahru

There are two Restoran ZZ (that we know of) in JB. However, they are unrelated. The one on Jalan Mahmoodiah is famous for it's briyani gam while the other is its mee rebus tulang.

KK: They are also not far from each other, probably about 2 kilometres apart, so make sure you go to the right one.

Literally translated, mee rebus means boiled noodles which, when I was younger and not yet familiar with the dish, thought it meant it was mee in plain soup. Oooh, so far off!

No watery soup, it's a thick gravy mainly consisting of beef broth and pureed sweet potato, with taugeh and topped with fresh cili and crispy fried shallots. It's a hearty, sweet and savoury dish. Restoran ZZ takes it to the next level - let's make it sinful. 

This bad boy of mee rebus comes with a straw so you can suck the marrow of the lamb shanks (we got 3) adorning the dish. Ahhhh cholesterol.

The dish has other options such as bone with meat, meat or plain but why go all this way for plain?

If you're not hungering for mee rebus, then give their Laksa Johor a go. I personally think that Laksa Johor is the most complicated laksa dish to cook properly as it requires so much ingredients! I have yet to find good Laksa Johor in Klang Valley much to my dismay (feel free to share if you know a spot).

The laksa here came with a glorious gravy teeming with fish. It's so thick you chomp, not slurp it. The spaghetti itself was not over cooked (but not al dente). Despite the generous amount of fish, the dish itself is not fishy, which I sometimes find Penang Laksa to be.  It may not look aesthetically pleasing but it's all good in the taste department.

Both dishes come with a reasonably generous serving. I sometimes find mee rebus in Klang Valley to have smaller portions, I don't know why.

K: I heard this story about the origin of laksa Johor. While I can't vouch for it's accuracy, it's a nice story to share. Anyway, apparently Sultan Abu Bakar went to Europe and he was so taken by spaghetti that when he got back to Johor, he ordered the royal chef to come up with a new dish incorporating spaghetti. And voila, laksa Johor was born.

Restoran ZZ has kampung theme setting, you can dine at a normal table or go for a pondok to duduk bersila (remember to take off your shoes). The service was friendly and surprisingly fast, and restaurant itself was pretty clean too. There are other dishes available including pisang goreng (banana fritters) if you're hungering for a tea time snack.

K: We were lucky enough to get free entertainment in the form of 3 young ladies who were terrified of cats. As we all know, even though it's not really hygienic, cats do roam around restaurants in Malaysia. These 3 girls were shrieking and cowering in a corner just because a big, bad cat decided to say hello. And it happened twice, with 2 different cats. Fun time for the cats. "Let's act nonchalant and just sit near them, cleaning ourselves up. Stupid humans."

Verdict - a triple threat; good food, good service, good price.

Restoran ZZ (here's a map)
Jalan Petri
Johor Bahru
Open daily from 7am to 2am
Price - $

Friday, July 5, 2013

Warung Saga @ Johor Bahru, Johor

At a t-junction, across Esso gas station and near Rima College is a restaurant that's exterior is so unassuming, it's easy to miss it. Plus there tend to be cars parked right in front of it, blocking the very hard to read restaurant sign.

But inside, it's striking indeed with its wall-to-wall of photographs of royals, politicians, celebrities and even music records.

K: And when we refer to music records, we mean the old school piring hitam albums stuck on the walls. Not just the covers ya, but also the piring hitam themselves.

Their signature dish is Lontong Kering, which we've never had or heard of, so we were looking forward to this. Unfortunately for us, we got there at 11am (you try getting out early with a cranky baby) and we were greeted with a "makanan dah habis. Tinggal sup dengan minuman jer" (food's finished. There's only soup and drinks)

Uuuu T.T

Not wanting to go all this way empty handed, we took the soup tulang (literally 'bone') with bread.

It came with kicap and cili potong but it wasn't necessary as the soup was choked with flavour from the herbs and spices and beef broth. Maybe it's because we had the very last bowl? The "tulang" actually had generous chunks of tender meat.

So good and this isn't their top dish? Wah liao!

K: I concur. The sup tulang was excellent. Some places are very stingy with their sup tulang - the bones look like they've been scraped clean and there would only be minute pieces of beef floating around but not here. Lotsa beef for me hungry tummy! They can call it beef soup instead of sup tulang and it would still fit the description.

The soup was not too oily and neither was it over spiced and thickened like the mamak soups. Clear beef soup where the beef was the main star, not smothered by the spices. Just the way i like it. :)

My main 'beef' (pun intended) with the place was the customer service. When we came a young man greeted us nicely and told us that only soup was left as they haven't started on their lunch menu yet. Understood, since it was 11 am so, we were stuck in the Twilight Zone between breakfast & lunch.

But later, when we were having our meal, more people dropped by and they were told brusquely by a makcik that there's no food and only drinks were left. This was after 12 pm. 12 pm is lunch time, still no food for the lunch crowd? And can't you tell them nicely when the food will be ready instead of shooing them away like stray cats?

Before we left, I asked the guy preparing the lunch food what time do they normally run out of breakfast food. His answer, "Kadang-kadang cepat, kadang-kadang lambat." Wow, that's really informative. I asked the same question to the pleasant young man who first greeted us when we came and his answer was "Around 9 - 9.30 am." See, that's not too hard now, isn't it? 

Good food is one thing, but good customer service also goes a long way.

Warung Saga caters mainly for the breakfast crowd, so do come early if you want to avoid disappointment. Besides their basic menu (which includes the Lontong Kering), they have daily specials. We heard that the Laksa Johor is recommended, available only on Saturdays.

According to a sign in the restaurant, the specials are:

Saturday - Laksa Johor
Sunday - Mee Rebus
Monday - Mee Siam Kuah & Gado Gado
Tuesday - Laksa Nyonya
Wednesday - Mee Sup Sambal Belacan
Thursday - Soto

All of the above are priced at RM3

Warung Saga (here's a map)
Jalan Mahmoodiah
Johor Bahru
Price range - $

Verdict - Definitely going to come here again to sample this Lontong Kering.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gerai Ayong @ Johor Bahru, Johor

I pestered K to take me on a makan trip last year before delivering but the man was just too busy. In the end, we planned the trip for Jun 2013, that's over half a year ahead! 

Haze or no haze, aku takleh sabar dah woy. I WANT MY NOMS I WANT IT NOW!

I got some serious side eye when choosing JB for makan trip destination. JB takde benda lah, said K and some friends. HAH! 

Apologies for crappy photos (and lack of it), we used a camera phone. But to make up for it, have a map

Important advice for people not familiar with JB - don't completely trust googlemap for directions. It hasn't been updated, we had to make a lot of u turns as there was no right turns. 

Gerai Ayong, Medan Selera Tepian Tebrau

Gerai Ayong is famous for tauhu and char kway/ koi bakar, sotong kangkung, ikan bakar (grilled fish) and ais jelly. 

Clockwise from top - ABC, Tauhu & Char Kway Bakar, Ais Jelly

The tauhu and char kway bakar (grilled) was a surprise hit for both of us. The crunchy, lightly charred tauhu and char kway  was served with sweet and sour rojak sauce with peanuts and cucumber. 

The sotong kangkung was good, served with same sauce. The sotong was springy and overall, it's a good dish, but I wouldn't drive all the way from KL to JB for it, mostly cos it's not something too hard to find.

We chose ikan pari (sting ray), the sambal on the ikan bakar was an absolute winner. Sweet, sour and spicy, the sambal was so sedap you don't need any dipping sauce/ condiments and the fish itself was fresh and well cooked. We were hoping for other seafood like baby crabs but they only had fish in stock that day. 

Left - Sotong Kangkung & Ikan Pari Bakar

For drinks we had the ais jelly and abc. Wah, macam day and night. The ais jelly is light and refreshing thanks to the limau, while the abc was heavier as it's served with generous drizzle of chocolate sauce instead of sirap. The abc was interesting but it can be weird eating red beans and sweet corn with chocolate. To be honest, I think the ais jelly compliments the fish better than abc.  

K: Actually felt a bit muak eating the ABC. Too rich, too rich! It's something I would give a miss and I am a choc lover too. Choc's great, as long as it's not too sweet of course.

Random musings: The stall's name is Gerai Ayong & the operator, Ayong, is Chinese, so how come the name of the operator on the signboard is Malay? Chinese Moslem? Ali Baba? Anyone can shed some light?

Gerai Ayong is located at the Tepian Tebrau Food Court, which apparently has other good stalls too. Will have to make another trip down to JB to check the rest out...if we can resist going back to Ayong that is!

Verdict - Worth the trip, worth a repeat :D

Gerai Ayong
Medan Selera Tepian Tebrau
Jalan Mohd Amin
80100 Johor Bahru

Open from 6PM - 12PM
Closed on Wednesdays
No pork served
Price range - $-$$

Monday, February 4, 2013

not dead

apologies for the lack of updates (although tbh does ne1 care?). i'm not dead, i just had a baby.