Fave 5 on Foot – City Square, Johor Bahru
By Tony Johor Kaki - Monday, Jul 08, 2013
Many of us have experienced an escape to Johor Bahru, driving or through an express bus. However, queues at the immigration checkpoint can get quite elongated at times, leaving us with only a few hours of time to spare. City Square Mall, which is right next to the immigration building, has become a favourite shopping spot for visitors. But for the foodies, here are five makan places within walking distance from the mall.
Kam Long Restaurant, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 8:00am to 4:00pm
Kam Long is well-known for one dish, the only dish they are selling – curry fish head. The old shop house along the bustling Jalan Wong Ah Fook is a little grimy but that does not deter the daily queues for their curry fish head. No secret recipe here, just very fresh Ikan Merah (red snapper) heads and vegetables. The curry is flavourful, only mildly spicy, and not overly lemak (fatty). The fish and vegetables are cooked just right and served in claypots only upon order, so everything maintains fresh and crunchy.
Ah Hua kway teow soup, Sekee Restaurant, 30 Jalan Segget, 7:30am to 2:30pm (Closed on Saturdays)
Ah Hua at Jalan Segget is one of the oldest kway teow thng (soup) sellers in Johor. The founding patriarch has set up another shop in Plentong (Johor), while the second generation helms this old flagship shop. The bone soup is still simmered over charcoal fire. The lady boss is very particular about the freshness of her ingredients. The basic kway teow soup comes at RM5 while RM16 gets you the full works, which include slices of pork, belly, kidney, liver, and even wild oysters from Muar. All meticulously cleansed and expertly cooked, so you can taste the natural freshness.
Kok Yow Yong herbal tea, Jalan Pasar, 6:00am to 1:00am (Closed on Sundays)
Around the corner at the junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Pasar is the 100 year old Kok Yow Yong herbal tea shop. The recently renovated shop front has “upgraded” away all its old charm but thankfully the herbal tea remains the same. In its third generation now of operations now, the usual chrysanthemum and other herbal tea are good but what we like the most are their “secret blend specials.” They have a special blend for nearly everything. The owners swear by their bitter, gooey and grainy concoction, and says it guarantees it will fix whatever that ails you.
Hiap Joo Bakery, 13 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, 8:00am to 6:00pm
Along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, there is an old bakery that still uses an “ancient” wood fired oven to bake its pastries. Hiap Joo was founded in 1919 and is now run by the third generation. The young boss has added new pastry items to the menu, but the daily queues are mostly for their classic favourites – their banana cakes and coconut buns. Both are smokey, slightly charred outside, moist and fragrant inside. Only natural ingredients used which makes a huge difference compare to the regular mass produced pastries.
Salahuddin Bakery, 26 Jalan Dhoby, 8:00am to 2:00pm
A short walk from Hiap Joo Bakery, along Jalan Dhoby, is yet another bakery that still uses a decades old wood fired oven. Salahuddin Bakery makes a wide range of pastries and breads. Our favourite is their Bengali curry puffs – thick, flaky, orange hue triangles chocked full of curried mutton and potatoes. A visit to Salahuddin Bakery is like a trip back in time…
These pastries are the perfect souvenirs from Johor Bahru, so you don’t have to leave empty handed, plus it helps to kill time going through the long checkpoint queue. Spare a little more time for your next trip and we will take you further around.