Beef noodles have a special place in my heart as the comfort food that is a "luxury" and associated with celebration and achievement. When I was about 13 or 14 years old in early 1970s Singapore, I worked as a construction worker during my school holidays. I was paid a princely SGD2 a day. At the workshop in Victoria Street where we fabricated windows to be mounted in buildings, there was a back lane beef kway teow stall. I have forgotten most of the details like the name of the stall, how much the noodles cost, and how exactly it tasted except that it was the traditional Hainanese type with that gooey beef gravy. But, the thing that I remember vividly was the deep satisfaction and happiness I felt knowing that I could enjoy the good things in life through my own effort. This feeling about beef noodles stayed with me ever since.
I have eaten at many of the beef noodles shops and stalls in Johor and here are the ones that I enjoyed the most.
The beef kway teow at Grand Beef Noodles Restaurant is quite different from the usual Hainanese beef kway teow. The sauce mixed into the kway teow is more like that sauce used in Teochew kway teow. Yet, the beef are done so well that customers who were initially skeptical as they expected that characteristic gooey gravy, were soon converted to Grand Beef Noodle's style.
Ah Yong Beef Noodles is located at the exact spot where Ah Deng, JB's most famous beef kway teow stall used to be. Ah Yong operated from Ah Deng's spot since the latter retired in mid-2012. Ah Yong actually had to wallow in quiet business for about a year as customers used to Ah Deng's were initially slow in accepting Ah Yong's noodles. Now, through hard work and perseverance, Ah Yong's business has picked up and he has built up a following of loyal fans for his traditional Hainanese beef noodles.
Many of Johor's best beef noodles are run by elderly hawkers in their 70s or even 80s. One by the one, old style beef noodle stalls are closing as their elderly owners retire. Fortunately, some of the best old style Hainanese beef kway teow stalls are today reincarnated in contemporary style bistros by third generation owners. Yean Kee in Kluang run by the grandson of the founder is a Must Try for beef noodle lovers when in Kluang.
Tangkak Kuang Fei beef noodles serves a famous savoury herbal broth with chunks of nicely cooked tender succulent beef cubes, tripe and tendons. Only one style is served, with soup. But, it is definitely worth the short detour off the NSE (North South Highway) to enjoy this marvellous beef kway teow soup.
Tangkak also has Restoran Do Do Do that beef lovers all over Malaysia and even Singapore raved about. Strictly speaking, Do Do Do is not just a beef noodle shop as it does beef in a variety of innovative ways. My favourite is their steamed calf slices. Thin, super tender and smooth calf slices with a very mild bovine flavour.
There are also other very good beef noodle shops in Johor that I have enjoyed.
Click on the picture above for the list of these favourite beef noodle stalls in Johor. Try them, as they may also suit your taste buds.