HI EVERYONE. It’s been such a while! The past semester at school has been aaabsolutely insane and it was definitely no fun getting bogged down by deadlines and back-to-back midterms. While I haven’t been updating this blog, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that the eating never stops. Heh!
To begin, I went on a mini food trail to Johor Bahru a couple of weeks ago (and also posted tons of pictures on Instagram!), first with a few friends, and then family. Most of the places we visited this time were sought out by my boyfriend Calvin, who used Johor Kaki as a planning guide. In terms of both breadth and depth, Johor Kaki’s a really great resource as it’s got plenty of areas in JB covered, along with comprehensive and interesting reviews. Highly recommending it to anyone looking to cross the Causeway for good eats!
For your reference as well as my own in future, here are pictures and the locations of the food joints I visited in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Read till the end for more details about getting around!
Nyonya Kueh Kiosk @ City Square Mall
106-108, 3rd Floor, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Located outside Uniqlo and right next to the escalator, you won’t miss it as you exit Customs and enter the mall. Really juicy kueh dadar, quite easily the best one I’ve had yet.
Great for: Traditional kopi, half-boiled kampung eggs, soft bun, 3-way (peanut butter, nutella, kaya) toast.
Springy, al dente egg noodles tossed in oh-so-glorious lard. Not quite diggin’ the dry char siew, but that’s about it. Everything else was done well. And the soup? It was BOMB.
Good for: Cempedak, durian, and their signature 3-in-1 (consisting of yam, new year cake i.e. 年糕, sweet potato) fritter. Deep-fried to golden perfection, what a treat.
Restoran Lai Kee 来记西刀鱼丸
90, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Best for their homemade BOUNCY AS FUCK fish balls and thick fish cakes. Also, you have your choice of noodles tossed in chilli and lard. What could possibly go wrong? You tell me.
Min Corner 民
110, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia
A small bakery-cafeteria specializing in Chinese pastries and snacks. This was where I had literally the best png kueh (glutinous rice cake) of my life. So fragrant, so moist, and stuffed to the brim with a gorgeous mushroom and meat filling. Also, there’s a decent selection of hot and iced desserts to wash down all the greasy goodness from lunch!
A hole in the wall situated above this humble art gallery. Simply put, the coffee was fantastic, vibes were chill, and the barista-owner is young, talented and very friendly. Really the kind of place you’d want to hide from the rain in for hours (which was exactly what we did).
Restoran Ah Piaw 阿標雲吞面
Jalan Kelewang, Taman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
A routine dinner stop for me. Great for their dry abalone noodles tossed in signature Malaysian black sauce and chilli, sambal lala (clams) and deep-fried loklok (skewers). The lard-laden wanton noodles (you should have guessed by now!) are pretty dope too.
Following this guide, you want to be entering JB pretty early at around 9 – 9.30am to enjoy a slow breakfast of coffee, toast and eggs at Kin Wah, which is a short 5 to 10 minute walk from the Custom & Immigration Quarantine (CIQ) Complex aka Checkpoint. It’s worth taking note that Google Maps works even without data access. One trick I like to use though, is searching for directions beforehand and taking a screenshot of the map route to conserve phone battery on the road. With that said, navigate on!
After breakfast, you can continue exploring the area which is chock full of hipster cafes and eateries. If you are keen, Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory, which constantly boasts a long queue of people eager to get their hands on the famous banana cake is situated just across the small road from Kin Wah!
Moving on to brunch, most of the eateries mentioned in this post are located along a single stretch called Jalan Palahwan 2, in Taman Tungku Tun Aminah, Skudai. From the breakfast place recommended, a cab ride to TUTA would cost around 24 to 25 Ringgit (less than SGD10), and is about a 15-minute drive up. Sensibly, you could start off with the savory stuff like wanton mee at Uncle Koh’s, and Lai Kee’s fish ball noodles, before moving on to the sweet treats of Wah Chye’s fried durian and cempedak. Finally, wash all the goodness down with a sweet drink and iced dessert at Min Corner, which has a pretty awesome cendol to settle that for ya.
At this point in the early afternoon (1pm), we were absolutely stuffed to the brim from our brunch. For those of you who have room to stomach more food, this food street is perfect for you to explore more dishes! From here we took a taxi back to City Square Mall to work off all that food and make space for later on! City Square is awesome for many things, like shopping and half-priced Traditional Thai massage (if you compare it with Singapore of course). If you’re here with a bunch of friends and family, I definitely recommend going for laser tag at Laser Battle located on the 4th level of the mall’s new wing. Art52 is just a short walk away from City Square Mall if you’re looking for a nice post lunch perk-me-up.
Finally, cab down to Restoran Ah Piaw to eat their abalone noodles and loklok for dinner (6pm). If it’s still early, you can even take a 15-minute walk to KSL Shopping Center and shop at Tesco, or go to the basement of the mall to buy some (amazing) baked kaya puffs back home.
From either the dinner spot or KSL, take a short 10 minute cab ride back to CIQ, and you’re ready to return to Singapore with full bellies and a happy heart. If you visited every pitch stop in this guide, you’ll probably be back around 9pm, and even earlier if you skipped the shopping after dinner.
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And there you have it, folks — a full day food trail planned out with timings and localities taken into consideration. Most of the places mentioned above are located not too far off from the Checkpoint, so it’s not so intimidating when it comes to getting around. I’m looking to explore more food joints on my next visit to Johor and update the blog with more details when I do. Till then, equip yourself with this guide and get ready to eat your heart out in JB! Peace out!