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

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Nyonya Food @ Nyonya Café (June's Kitchen) in Taman Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru, Malaysia


I have always been a fan of Nyonya food and Nyonya Café (June's Kitchen) was the first time I had Nyonya food in JB. We absolutely enjoyed our sumptuous and delicious Nyonya lunch at June's Kitchen in Permas Jaya at the invitation of the owners, June and Daniel.
 
Daniel and Andrew tango in the busy kitchen

Today was a very good day for the foodie me :) 

June Seah, the founder was at the restaurant as well as her son Daniel, who is the new owner, and Andrew, who is the Chief Chef. Everyone at June's Kitchen was passionate about Nyonya culinary heritage and tradition - their infectious energy was palpable in the air. From what I saw, June's Kitchen is more than just a restaurant, it is also a place where June and her family share their passion for Nyonya cuisine.
 
Daniel and his magic wok

Daniel received his culinary art training at SHATEC while June (who is Peranakan) said she didn't have any "training" and learnt her art from her grandparents, parents, aunts and relatives. Personally, the essence and intricacies of culinary heritage and traditions passed down through the generations in close knitted families is the best training. 

Everyone was very friendly at June's Kitchen, while June and Daniel busy as they were, were also eager to share interesting tidbits and the history behind Nyonya food culture.

Nyonya dishes done the traditional way, demand tedious and long preparation, and many of the spices take a lot of effort and ingenuity just to obtain.

Chief Chef Andrew patiently cutting open the pile of buah keluak nuts one by one
 
An example is this buah keluak nut which is only available in Indonesia and need many hours of preparation before it finally arrives at the dining table.
 
 
Each buak keluak nut had to be carefully cut open by hand, one by one.


We had this Nyonya classic, ayam buah keluak for RM15.


And, of course, the first thing we did was to dig the priced black paste out of the buah keluak nut like excited children breaking open a Kinder Surprise candy.

The creamy black paste was made by combining buah keluak flesh with pounded chicken meat. To get that distinctive, delicious ayam buah keluak's smooth yet slightly grainy texture, nutty flavour and subtly bitter note, the chicken meat had to be pounded by hand and not minced or chopped. This is an example of the intricacies and tediousness of Nyonya cuisine prepared the traditional way.
 

The chunks of chicken in the little claypot deserved mention too as they were tenderly sweet and enveloped in savoury sauce that resembles the buah keluak stuffing. June's Kitchen's ayam buah keluak is one of the best that I've tasted.
 

I love June's Kitchen's Nyonya steam fish. The super fresh Snapper fish (Ikan Jenahak) fillets were steamed and then smothered with a savoury gravy that was a complex blend of delicate tanginess, sweetness, spicy hot and saltiness.
 

June's Kitchen's is one of the best steamed fish dish that I've had - in any style. This Nyonya steamed fish was for RM22.
 

Nyonya lady's finger for RM7 - blanched fresh lady's finger topped with a June's Kitchen special blend sambal that whetted our appetite and got our saliva flowing.
 

June's Kitchen's Nyonya sweet and sour tofu was a delicious fusion of the Chinese staple with Southeast Asian and Indian spices. This large brick of tender smooth tofu generously topped with lovely gravy for RM7. 


June's Kitchen's pie tee hat (RM7.80) came with fresh naturally sweet cut vegetables stuffed in a crispy tart shell and topped with a large juicy fresh shrimp. Adding a dab of that accompanying spicy and sweet sambal chili gave this popular bite sized treat an extra kick.
 

We rounded up our sumptuous lunch with June's Kitchen's popular durian chendol (RM5.80) - green pandan jelly, boiled beans in santan and gula Melaka on a bed of crushed ice and topped with durian puree. Full of flavours and not overly sweet.

I asked June how would she describe the food in June's Kitchen. Her instinctive response, "Mum's home cooking". June and Daniel shared that there had been customers who became sentimental and even moved to tears on tasting her food as the aroma, flavours and textures reminded them of home, their childhood and their loved ones.


The friendly Fernandez family obliged my request to take a picture of them having lunch with all their staff, just after all the happy guests had left and the restaurant closed for the afternoon break.
 

June's Kitchen is in Permas Jaya which is very accessible from the CIQ, if you are coming from Singapore. Once clear immigration, head for the EDL (Eastern Dispersal Link) and follow the signs to Permas Jaya. The car journey takes less than 10 minutes of leisurely driving.

I am definitely coming back to try the other well executed Nyonya favourites at every reasonable prices in June's Kitchen.


Restaurant name: Nyonya Café (June's Kitchen Nyonya Restaurant) 娘惹美食餐厅
Address: 9, Jalan Permas 10/7, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/yUagg
GPS: 1.495998,103.814899
Hours: Tues to Friday - Lunch from 11:45am to 3:30pm, Dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30pm; Sat and Sun - 11:45am to 9:30pm (closed on Monday)
No pork no lard

Date visited: 18 Sep 2012

12 comments:

  1. Oh my!!! Need to plan my list for my next visit already!! But don't know when :(

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    Replies
    1. hahaha Yati ;D I want to try all the Nyonya restaurants in Johor :P (There aern't so many, actually - probably less than 5 altogether.)

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  2. Halal certified?

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    Replies
    1. I have verified with Daniel, the owner - it's no pork no lard. Not Halal certified. Thank you for the visit to my blog and the question :)

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    2. Hi. Thanks for accumulating the info. I would like to go and have a taste. But just a 'no pork no lard' sign is actually not enough. Could you ask daniel and mum june to work on it. Im sure they will only double or triple their customers.

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    3. OK. I will your suggestion with June and Daniel. Thanks :)

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  3. Pics look good.... I've been hunting for Nyonya food in JB,,,will go this weekend...thanx for the tip JK.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks and wish you happy eating :)

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  4. Was there with the Mrs and a friend for lunch today....It was a fantastic meal. We all loved it and will be back to try some of the other dishes. It was so good....I ordered extra for ta pao. Thanx for the hot tip JK.

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  5. Always wanted to try there but didn't get any review Fr anyone so didn't dare try. Haha. Will def go for
    A try after d good feedback Fr yr blog.

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  6. Share with us, how you found it after you have tried it :)

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  7. Visited June's kitchen with a friend on 16th June 2013. Had Ayam buah keluak, mango n cucumber nonya salad and vegetable dish. Food was so so but after the meal my throat felt rather uncomfortable which usually happens when the food I have had contained lots of MSG. Discomfort in throat lasted for a few hours with me having to reach for water many times.

    Friendly owner and stuff.

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