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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Johor Kaki Top 10 Most Popular Food in Johor, Malaysia 2012

Top 10 most popular food in Johor, Malaysia 2012


Johor is located at the crossroads between East and West and has been gifted with diverse food cultures and heritage of different traditions. Therefore, while Johor is a part of Malaysia, it's food culture has certain unique features and characteristics.  

This is my own list of the Top 10 Most Popular Food in Johor, based on my personal observations. You will notice that my list differs slightly from the usual Malaysian 10 Top Most Popular Food lists as I have taken into account my own observations of local Johorean preferences.


Nasi Lemak is a popular breakfast to start off the day. Rice is boiled with coconut milk and often also with pandan leaves for added fragrance. The tender rice served on a banana leaf is eaten with spicy sambal chili, fried fish, anchovies, fried chicken and eggs. You can add additional ingredients like beef rendang which is very popular. In Johor, nasi lemak is often eaten together with otak otak, which the seaside town of Maur is famous for.


Wanton noodle stalls are everywhere in Johor. The standard of wanton noodles is high in Johor or I am lucky enough to always get noodles that are springy and drenched in delicious, flavourful sauce. The Pontian style of wanton mee with its crunchy, eggy noodles and unique tangy spicy sauce has spread all over Malaysia, Singapore and even in Batam, Indonesia.


“Mee rebus” literally means “boiled noodles”. The boiled yellow noodles are then topped with spicy sweet potato based gravy or kuah. The heart of mee rebus is in the gravy and Haji Wahid’s kuah is the most famous as it still uses many of the traditional ingredients such as ground dried shrimps and peanuts. Haji Wahid's is also known as Baidali mee rebus. In Johor, some stalls serve mee rebus with lamb shank or tulang and provide a straw to suck up the sweet gelatinous marrow in the shank.



Bak kut teh literally means “meat bone tea”. It is made of pork meat, ribs and often innards brewed in herbal broth. It is usually served with Chinese tea, hence the teh in bak kut teh. Bak kut teh shops are very common in Johor and the preferred style here is mainly the Teochew style which is herbal and soupy. This style relies on the freshness of the ingredients, so both the herbal taste and the body of the soup tend to be light and subtle, in order not to overpower the pork’s natural flavours.


5) Laksa

The style in Johor is less lemak (coconut milk) based but relies more on grounded spices for taste and flavour. The flavourful gravy is lighter in body than the variety found in neighbouring Singapore. In Johor, the laksa is loaded with tofu, fish balls, pork balls, and you can add extra ingredients at additional cost.


6) Lontong Kering

Longtong kering is a popular breakfast meal in Johor. It is basically boiled rice cake served with ingredients such as fried tofu, beef rendang, fried chicken, fried vegetables and topped with a spicy peanuty sauce which is very similar to satay sauce. Additional side dishes like fried beef lungs and fried fish can be added, if one fancies.


As Johorean Chinese are mostly Teochews, this Teochew staple is found in every corner of Johor, especially in Johor Bahru (the Little Swatow of Malaysia). Flat rice noodle or kway teow is served with clear but flavourful broth brewed over hours using pork bones and a slow fire. In some places, charcoal fire is still used, giving the soup a wholesome flavour and body that only the heart can feel. The fresh pork ingredients such as thinly sliced meat, liver, and kidneys are artfully scathed - just enough to bring out the full natural sweetness of the meat. Recently, additional fanciful ingredients such as canned abalone have been added to the dish.


Teochews like to prepare their food by braising it in soy sauce with herbs and spices. It is no surprise then that braised pork and innards or kway teow kia (known as kway chap in Singapore) is very popular in Johor. The braised pork and innards are served with tender flat rice noodles with braising sauce. Another popular braised meat is duck which is also commonly found in Johor, though not as frequently as kway teow kia.


This is a staple commonly found in Malaysia but it is Batu Pahat that indisputably claims the title of Nasi Baryani Capital of Malaysia. Normally served with heaps of fragrant top quality Basmati rice and matched with a large chunk of either flavourful mutton rendang or chicken. A nasi baryani meal may look huge but most people are able to finish it all because it is so delicious J




Originally from Indonesia, ayam penyet is a very popular, convenient and delicious “set” meal. Commonly found in food courts, ayam penyet is ideal for a quick and substantial lunch for the working crowd. Ayam penyet means “flattened chicken” in Indonesian - so named because the piece of fried chicken is literary flattened with a wooden mallet before serving. This dish consists of steamed rice accompanied by a large piece of fried chicken, fried tempeh, leafy vegetables, and a big dollop of good spicy sambal chili.

There you go, my take on the Top 10 most popular foods in Johor, Malaysia J Try them, you will be delighted.

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19 comments:

  1. counting the days til I'm back in JB!!

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  2. Why do you think that pple considered this as top 10?
    What feelings or attachment do they have for these food?
    what makes you choose them besides your personal observations?

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  3. Hi Paige, thank you for sharing your views. As far as I know, there is no study done so far on what are the most popular Johor foods. I based my list on my obsevations of the numbers of stalls selling these foods, the numbers of people eating these foods, my informal polling of friends in KL, Johor and Singapore, comments on forums, as well as online articles and posts. This is still a work in progress. Do share more of your insights as these are very useful in refining the list ;D Much appreciated.

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  4. Agree.. most of the shops,locations sells the best meals one would enjoy.Did ate at some of the shop reviews. Love them, keep going back. The best roast duck is in " TUTA " 822 the lady boss owe me one meal:)there is another shop selling roast duck in Kulai,I forgot the name cos been there one time, not the one review in your page .When ever I go down to Johor Town I would drop by for the yummy. If you don't mind the shabby location one would find more great food. Roam around Bukit Indah,Perling, Gelang Patah and you will find shop or stall with very good food. " Bon appetit "

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Pauline. There is so much good food here in Johor ;D My goal is to put all of the good hawkers on the Web one by one ;D Thanks also for sharing your favourites. Keep your suggestions coming. I appreciate them ;D

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  5. Hi JK, thanks for this wonderful blog for allowing ppl like me to get to know more good food in Johor. I truly believe that there are many good restaurants or even roadside stalls in Johor that deserve more recognition. It's nice to see some familiar eateries and also new places that offer yummilicious dishes here! Keep up the good work! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the encouragement :) Wish you happy reading and eating.

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  6. You should come up with a poll to let your readers to vote for their favourite johor food! ANyway, this blog is great! it's making me miss JB even more (even i've just left for a week T-T)

    Keep up the great work!

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  7. Thanks Esther. I am working on a poll as you suggested :)

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  8. I am flying down to Johor in October with saliva dripping even before arriving. Great write up. After reading your blog, I am no longer sure which one I want to visit. Feels like eating all those places you wrote about. So many...aiyo. I only have 2 dinners, 1 lunch and 2 breakfast to cover. Any recommendation?

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  9. Dear J.k.
    For purely nostalgic reasons, Mok Kao in Kulai should be in a class of its own. I must say that if anybody claimed that he or she is from Kulai, and they don't know Mok Kao, then they are probably not telling the truth. If they did not go there themselves, they would probably have been brought there by their parents or grandparents. Mok Kao and his father has been there selling beef noodles soup in Kulai since my grandfather's time. And I am 57 years old now. Good food with history. Good food handed down from the generations, and eaten by generations from the same town. Maybe another new dimension in your food blog?

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  10. Dear Johor Kaki,

    In your mee rebus section, i thought the picture of the mee rebus tulang above were actually the mee rebus tulang from restoran Zz Sup Tulang, because its looks really like their mee rebus tulang, not the haji wahid's.

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  11. Tony, I can't wait to be in JB in April. Keep up the great work. Many thanks.

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  12. I'm a JBrian myself and I loves to eat! haha.. been to most places you recommended.. However I thought nasi lemak is a nationwide thingy not just Johor.. haha :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh this post is based on what I think is most popular in Johor based on my observations. I am now writing a separate post on the 10 uniquely Johor food.

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  13. wow,it so good !!!

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  14. I grew up in JB in the 50s and 60s and used to eat at the stalls in Chinatown beside the famous Sg Segget. Since they demolished the Chinatown eating place, I find it hard to locate old time food in JB whenever I return to JB.i also miss the old satay and mee rebus corner behind old Capitol. Good informative blog. Keep it up. And now I know where to take my wife to eat since she is always comparing the food in JB to Ipoh.

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