Johor Kaki is foremost about Johor food, and occasionally mini projects about Singapore food, my travels and hunt for the best instant noodles.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

JB Food on Foot Day Trip - Walking Food Tour of Downtown Johor Bahru (Food near CIQ and City Square)


This long post is dedicated to readers who take day trips using public buses from Singapore to JB and wish to explore JB food on foot.

Many Singaporean day trippers spend their day shopping and dining inside City Square Shopping Centre which is directly connected to the Malaysian Immigration building. If you like to explore JB food beyond City Square, here is my list of interesting places for food and drinks within 10 minutes walking distance from City Square that you might want to try out.

Sketch map of downtown JB
Eating places near CIQ and City Square

Use this sketch to help you navigate. The numbers 1 to 12 refer to the mentioned food places. Note that the sketch is not drawn to scale and is meant only as a guide.

After clearing immigration, walk through City Square, and head for Jalan Wong Ah Fook which is the busy main street in JB downtown.


When on Jalan Wong Ah Fook, walk in the direction of Singapore and look out for this Hindu temple across the road from City Square. You can use this Hindu temple as the point of reference.

BREAKFAST

If you want to have a nice kaya toast and coffee breakfast, I suggest you try Kin Wah or Hua Mui kopitiams. Both are popular Hainanese kopitiams that have been around for decades.

Kin Wah kopitiam is usually packed like this.
Kin Wah is well known for its kampung half boiled eggs and of course its robust traditional Hainanese coffee. It also has popular crowd pullers like toast bread and buns, nasi lemak, mee siam and mee rebus.


Hua Mui is an institution here in old JB but the premises and menu have been modernised. Sipping Hainanese coffee and having toast bread is a ritual for many of Hua Mui’s regular customers.

LUNCH


For lunch, you can try out Kin Wah’s famous nasi padang. Kin Wah is always jam packed with office workers during lunch who find their fresh home cooked nasi padang dishes irresistible. I especially like their flavourful beef rendang and refreshing fried bean sprouts.


If you want to try traditional Teochew kway teow, then walk over to Ah Hua kway teow. Ah Hua is one of the oldest kway teow soup shops in JB. Ah Hua even still uses charcoal to boil its pork bone soup – something that I have not seen anywhere else anymore. Spend RM16 and you will get a bowl chock full of luxuries like abalone, fresh oysters, liver, kidney and more.


Nearby is another traditional Teochew kway teow shop – Sang Heng run by an elderly gentleman just beside the OCBC bank. Waiting time here is long here due to the number of customers but it has a certain rustic charm that keeps drawing people back, including many from Singapore.


If you want to have a vegetarian meal, then Annalakshmi is the place for you. Delicious traditional Indian vegetarian meals lovingly cooked by volunteers, many of whom are mothers who are experienced in home cooking. Uniquely, there is no fixed price for your meal at Annalakshmi. Annalakshmi operates on the principle of “eat to your heart’s content, pay as your heart feels”.


If you want to have a hearty Western meal, you can go back to Hua Mui for their Hainanese style Western food. Their classic chicken chop is especially popular. They also have local staples like mee goreng and fried hor fun.


Alternatively, you can try IT Roo Café – another traditional Hainanese café. IT Roo is renowned for its chunky fried chicken chop and fresh mushroom sauce – I love it.

For the information of Muslim readers, both Hua Mui and IT Roo are certified Halal.


If you like duck, there is Ya Wang, an old established herbal roast duck shop. Ya Wang is the appointed Adviser to Singapore’s Dian Xiao Er roast duck franchise. I like my roast duck to be crispier but there many people who love Ya Wang’s softer herbal style.


Along the main street, Jalan Wong Ah Fook is Kam Long fish head curry. The secret of Kam Long’s success? It makes its popular curry fish head with the freshest fish and vegetables – that’s it. Try it. Many people rave about Kam Long’s curry fish head as the lunch time crowd testifies.


When you feel the afternoon heat, pop by the 100 year old Kok Yow Yong herbal tea shop for a quick thirst quencher. If you need an extra energy boost or to fight off a cold, you can even ask for a "special".

RECOMMENDED TAKE AWAYS

Before you return home, remember to drop by the two traditional bakeries in JB downtown. Hiap Joo and Salahuddin make a wide range of traditional cakes and pastries. Both Hiap Joo and Salahuddin bakeries still use their decades old wood fired ovens! Dropping in to watch them use these ancient ovens is an education in itself.


I especially love Hiap Joo’s fluffy, soft and moist banana cakes made only with fresh natural ingredients.


Salahuddin makes those giant sized Bengali curry puffs that bring back memories of my school days in 1970s Singapore.

DINNER


If you stay for dinner, check out Meldrum Walk. This is a row of back lane push cart stalls that slowly come to life starting from around 5:30pm before coming to full bloom at around 7:00pm.

There is a bewildering range of choices to suit every palate. I have yet to try most of the stalls but these I liked.


The BBQ chicken is outstanding. It is very basic, just a simple marinade and the sweetness of the fresh BBQ chicken’s own juices!

There are several kambing soup stalls. This kambing soup I've tried is hefty and loaded with chunky pieces of lamb. 

The tender and tasty oh chien is thick with eggs and huge fresh oysters.

There is a Tandoori chicken stall that cooks the chicken and naan with a traditional tandoor oven.

There are many BBQ seafood stalls in Meldrum Walk both in the Halal and non Halal sections. I’ve tried Kak Long’s stingray and catfish, and I liked it.

There you have it. If you want to try some things new or experiences not available in Singapore, these are all within a short leisurely walk away from City Square.


Another walking food tour of JB that you may like to try is around the Jalan Lumba Kuda area - click on the picture for the full article.

Just a word of caution. JB is generally a safe place but please do be alert and take the usual precautions to have an enjoyable outing e.g. move away when approached by “Scratch and Win” scammers.






Wish you happy eating and a safe and fun day trip in JB.

63 comments:

  1. This is a really informative and useful post! I love it!

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    1. Thanks. Glad you find it useful. Please give me feedback to make it better ;D Appreciate it.

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    2. I love this post so much...thank you!

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  2. Wow such a useful guide for visitors to JB. I recently did one for my hometown, Seremban too.

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    1. Thanks Yen, for the encouragement. Like your post on Seremban too. Now I know where to get the best eats there ;D

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  3. a big thank you. i cycle to JB once every few months... this is very useful

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    1. Thanks! I am glad you find this useful. More are coming ;D

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  4. Thanks for sharing...... : )

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    1. Hi Gastronaut, you are welcome. I like your blog and I am following you now ;D Nice!

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  5. Wow! very good guide! Thank you so much for this! btw is sentosa - where the paper wrapped chickens are walkable?

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    1. Its about 30 minutes walk from City Square to Taman Sentosa... Walkable for some ;P

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    2. Alternatively, take a cab from CIQ/City Square. About RM 8 - 10 depends on your haggling skill

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  6. Interesting posts! Sometime i do pop over to city square and hope over to the Hakka Yong Tau Foo stall at opps mall. There is a yummy fish head curry shop near to city sq mall too right? We always tabao back. Now with your detail write-up we can hunt for me food soon :) Thanks

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    1. Yes and thanks Ellena. You read my mind ;P There are another group of good food shops at the Jalan Lumba Kuda area which is also within 10 minutes walk from Malaysia Immigration/ JB Sentral. This is the subject of my next posting ;D

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  7. very informative post! not only good for Singaporean but also for me too..Thanks for sharing.

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  8. This post are really useful..

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  9. Thanks so much for the places you recommended. However, some outlets seem to be a few streets away. Are there traffic lights to cross? The furthest I went by foot is the curry fish head. Didn't know across the streets there are more good food!.

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    1. Yes, you have to cross to the other side of Jalan Wong Ah Fook and go into the JB old downtown area.

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  10. Brilliant report thanks so much! So many times we just drive through Johor on our way over the causeway we will have to scribble some notes and go trekking around town! :)

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  11. Good recommendations. Long I used to go to eat at the open space car park along Jalan Wong Ah Fook. They had a nice claypot rice stall.
    Guess that space is gone now. Heard some moved to Jalan Meldrum area that you mentioned.

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    1. Thanks Ricohflex. Yes I have seen old photos of that old eating area. Oh... I am also collecting old photos for this blog ;D

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  12. I stay in JB for a long long time and i think i have just rediscovered all the makan stalls from you. thank you... Let's start eating!!!

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  13. Would be good for Singapore who don't own cars.

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  14. My family and I are visiting JB for the first time. Your food blog was very informative and useful. We love the food that you recommended. Thanks a million. :)

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    1. Glad my blog was useful. Wish you happy reading and eating.

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  15. This is really an informative guide. Thank you.
    To add to your list, for those who do not have the time to queue for the Kam Long fish head curry, I would suggest a stroll down to 19 Jalan Meldrum (next to the 7 eleven kiosk)
    There an ex-partner/chef (or so I understand) is serving the same cuisine in a clean and spacious environment. Definitely worth a 'checking out'! :)

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    1. Thank you, I shall visit them soon :)

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  16. Thanks so much for the very informative post. I would appreciate if you could share with us on any nearest supermarkets around the City Sq areas eg, giant, jusco etc. As i am traveling by foot and i am not very familiar with buses and cabs there. I love Pandan City but i got stuck one evening with no way of getting back to sg thus im looking for alternatives. Oh yes, if you any ideas where to get the best halal satays, that'd be awesome. Thanks! great site! :D

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    1. That's a great idea. I shall look into a post on marketing near City Square. Let me go explore :)

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  17. love this.Like the fried eggs with fresh oyster

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    1. Yes the fried oyster or o chien is one of the most popular stalls in Meldrum Walk.

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    2. u forgot the char kueh teow jst 2 stall away n the popiah 3stall away do try it
      '

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  18. Thanks for posting some of the nice eating places . I used to enjoy eating at some of the shops but have not done so for fear of being mugged. I sensed that this may be over blown but nevertheless it has prevented me from venturing beyond the precinct of the JB Mall .

    In short JB suffers from a "Poor Security Image " real or imaginary . I would wish the JB Authorities and the Tourism Board introduce " Tourist Police or Ambassadors " and patrol the Streets and help the Tourists. It will make JB a great place to enjoy.

    I just enjoyed a nice bowl of Cendol served by a young Malay vendor ( Yan @ MD Zain Cendol ) - along the Main Road to Kota Tinggi - adjacent to Maybank Tebrau. It is a must try when you visit JB .

    Thanks for the lovely and informative site .

    PS Please view my foodblog - yeogolf.blogspot.com for some of the places I have enjoyed in JB and other places.

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  19. Thanks Yeogolf. You have a nice blog of your many eating adventures :) I will be enjoying reading your blog. Yes, I have tried Yan's cendol and have written a post on it :) I liked it too.

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  20. Peter van Dort - Cairns Australia29 December 2012 09:55

    I just received this post from our best friends in Singapore. We will be there in May and we will visit JB - looking forward to that. Drooling has already started!

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    1. May is weeks again now :) May your food dreams come true.

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  21. Peter van Dort - Cairns Australia29 December 2012 10:00

    What a great way to promote the various food stalls in JB. Our best friends in Singapore sent this and the four of us will certainly visit JB in May to try these places out. Each time we visit Singapore we go to JB to try out eating places as well. These shops/stalls are new and look very appetising. Drooling has already started!! Thanks for the info. Happy New Year to all.

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    1. Thank you. Wish you happy reading and happy eating.

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  22. Thank you very much for your hard efforts creating this blog for our (we food kakis) convenience. These are great ref. Tks again.

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    1. You are most welcome. I had a lot of fun and am glad that it is helpful to you.

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  23. Hi Tony, i work around that area and i do notice below place that you can explore.

    1st - 70's style cafe. Once inside you will be pulled back to your childhood days. Open during day time to about 2-3pm
    http://coraandjin.blogspot.com/2012/03/time-travel-to-70s-save-it-and-this-is.html

    2. I belief they are same owner as they are 2 doors down. Open around evening time.
    http://j-travel.blogspot.com/2012/08/roost-cafe-salad-bar-at-jalan-dhoby.html

    3. Container like cafe near the post office - check out their opening time before you go. Close on sunday. Sat half day. Friday prayer time close.
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.334470406667911.77421.300227686758850&type=1

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    1. Thanks Yvonnne, I shall try your suggestions :)

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  24. have tried curry fish along jalan wong ah fook. is good but long queue. where is the location of the shop selling herbal duck?

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  25. You'd caught me in your photo waiting for stingray! Do try the Sotong with lots of chilli. But I have to say they are getting more n more expensive. The Ya Wang's Seafood toufu is great too. ;)

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    1. hahaha hmmm.. LOL.. OK I still try the ikan bakar stall soon :)

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    2. How much u pay in average?

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  26. Thanks for the info. Very useful to share with visitors to jb.

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  27. great post.. Hopefully you have more to come on the Good eateries that reach by public transport.

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  28. I must do this walk on my next trip. Havenot been to old JB area for many decades! Thanks.

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  29. hmmz... never tried all these places when i was in JB maybe next time should get there with my bf

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  30. Its very useful tips. Any hotel you would suggest near the indian temple if i am planning to stay/

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    1. Puteri Pacific Hotel is within walking distance.

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  31. Hi.. any recommendation for traditional biscuit stores that sells CNY goodies in JB?

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  32. hi, can i ask where i can find pigs blood stir fried with salted vege??

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  33. kin hua`s nasi padang has moved a few shops up... saw the malay uncle stall owner there...

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  34. thanks for the sharing. SG chinatown smith st cant beat jb

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  35. What about both asam fish at jalan lumba kudu? ?
    its one of the best in jb

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  36. Went to Ah Hua for the noodle. Already prepare to pay rm16 for it which you mention come with a lot more ingredients. Surprise when the store holder told me rm16 just add noodle only. If want more ingredients (everything) it is rm35. Am i being rip off? Anyway since me and my friend are already there, we order 3 for a whopping rm105. The noodle is not bad but definitely not worth rm35 for one. Will not go back again. Not worth it.

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