Beef balls and tendons in soup.
There are altogether three Pandan beef balls 班兰牛肉丸 branches in Johor Bahru - one in Taman Johor Jaya, one in Taman Sri Tebrau, and last but not least, one in Kampung Pandan.
In fact, the branch in Kampung Pandan is literary the grandfather's shop. This was the first shop opened more than sixty years ago in Kampung Pandan by the founder, hence the famous name, Pandan beef ball noodles.
Beef ball kept fresh with ice blocks.
As its name states, beef balls 牛肉丸 are the shop's claim to fame.
Today, the Kampung Pandan shop is run by the founder's grandson and the shops in Taman Johor Jaya and Taman Sri Tebrau by his sons.
Look at this mound of kway teow. It was so pearly white, that it reminded me of a white rose or a ladies' powder puff. The soft kway teow was simply garnished with fried shallot oil, shallot crackles and a sprinkling of fresh cut spring unions.
At Pandan beef ball noodles, the customers add in the special house blend dark soy sauce on their own, according to their own taste buds.
Toss the kway teow in the sweet, slightly salty, syrupy dark soy sauce and voila! A simple but mouth watering bowl of kway teow.
Many customers like to stir Pandan's home blend chili sauce into their kway teow. Pandan's chili sauce is unique. It is a blend of spicy hot, tangy and salty-sourish - the kind of salty-sourish taste we get from preserved sour plums 酸梅. I love it. It complements the taste of the beef very well, and the next time, I shall mix some into my kway teow too :)
This is Pandan's signature beef ball. Springy and crunchy. Pandan's "secret" of good beef balls is just to use the best cuts of beef to make their beef balls. Because cheap, inferior beef will result in inferior balls, simple :)
I missed the special beef balls made with beef tendons which were sold out by the time I was at Kampung Pandan. I heard that beef tendon balls are not just springy, they actually bounce like ping pong balls. I shall make sure to try them next time :)
My favourite part of beef are beef tendons. The boss gave me 6 or 7 pieces of these delicious, slippery all-natural rubber gummies.
The beef tendons were soft, smooth and yet still had a slight spring. The tendons were like jelly - they giggle and were translucent against the morning light.
Here at the 60 year old shop, most of the clientele were local residents thus giving the shop a distinct rustic, laid back, convivial kampung feel. Personally, I prefer to have my beef balls in the old shop than the two newer shops which were located in regular shoplots.
Restaurant name: Restoran Pandan 班兰牛肉丸
Address: From the Tebrau Highway, turn into Kampung Pandan via Jalan Loo Hong Joo. Pandan beef ball noodles is about 100 metres inside along Jalan Loo Hong Joo and on your right hand side.
Hours: 7:00am to 2:00pm (off on Mondays)
No pork, no lard.
Date visited: 1 August 2012