Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Lu San 庐山 Hainanese Curry Rice at "Muar Glutton Street 麻坡贪吃街", Johor
Time and again, during my food hunting trips, I meet the most interesting and fun people that make my day. Last Sunday was one of the most interesting days since I started Johor Kaki blog.
I was stopping over in Muar on the way to Kuala Lumpur for the NTV7 filming of the final episode of the "Foodie Blogger" 爱食客 series. After parking my car, I walked around Muar's "Glutton Street" 麻坡贪吃街 to hunt for good food.
While stepping in and out of the fascinating kopitiams along "Glutton Street", the corner shop selling Hainanese style curry rice caught my eye. I love Hainanese curry rice which I have tried a few in Singapore and this was the first time I stumbled upon one in Johor. While checking out the Hainanese curry rice shop, I noticed a familiar gentleman at a table in the shop.
I recognised the gentleman as Jacky, a well known Malaysian food commentator who writes in Chinese.
I initially hesitated to walk up and introduce myself to a perfect stranger but the desire to connect with a fellow foodie just got the better of me. So I stepped up, asked the gentleman if he was indeed Jacky. Jacky replied in the affirmative, and I then introduced myself.
I was barely a few words into my self introduction when Jacky invited me to join him for lunch. Jacky was about to have a food tasting session at Lu San 庐山!
Jacky has not visited Johor Kaki blog before but that didn't bother him at all. It seemed the vibes between foodies are so instinctive, we clicked instantly. We were quickly engrossed in foodie talk like we were old friends who had not met for a long time.
Jacky, who told me he is a Kluangite, has been a food commentator for over 20 years. Jacky is a very big hearted, warm and generous man. Without hesitation, Jacky dug into his bag and presented me a signed copy of one of his feature magazines. Jackie also shared with me a few foodie insights and photography tips. For example, Jackie shared that he sometimes deliberately take pictures of half finished food. Jackie felt that half finished food is more realistic, gives the food "a human touch" and captures its deliciousness. I agree wholeheartedly :)
Lu San 庐山 was founded in the 1960s and the famous Hainanese kopitiam is now run by the third generation owner. From the animated conversation over lunch, it was obvious that Jackie and Mr Wee, Lu San's boss, are passionate about food.
The iconic Hainanese curry chicken. At Lu San, the chicken meat was slightly firm but still tender. The thick, savoury curry was fragrant and not overly spicy.
The curry chicken was made with many spices and herbs but no santan. For curry lovers who must have rich creamy santan in their curry, Lu San provides the lemak version of curry separately. Many people like to flood (banjir) their plate of rice with this spicy curry. I like this way of eating my curry rice too :P
Lu San's signature braised belly pork was also pleasing. The meat had just the right tenderness and bouncy mouth feel. The braising sauce was mild and does not get in the way of the natural pork flavours.
Beside the staple signature curry chicken and braised belly pork, Lu San also serves a wide variety of other side dishes.
Stir fried tofu in savoury gravy.
Braised tofu and eggs.
This simple stir fried vegetable was a surprise. It was refreshing, crunchy and savoury. Jacky and I both loved this.
Ngo hiang or Chinese style meat roll.
I liked this soup loaded with fish balls, fish cakes, tau puey (fried tofu "skin") and greens. The soup was sweet and savoury from all the ingredients and stock bones.
Well, one cannot step in and out of a Hainanese kopitiam or restaurant without drinking a cup of Hainanese coffee. So, we all had a cuppa of kopi o kau after our sumptuous meal.
This dark, full bodied, smooth and fragrant coffee was made by the lady boss. Must try this, if you are at Lu San, and a coffee lover.
Jacky's customary trademark picture with the owners after the food tasting session.
Today's Muar experience was almost surreal. Walking up to a perfect stranger, striking up a conversation and settling down together to a sumptuous lunch together like we were long lost old pals, wow... This was one of my most memorable days since I started Johor Kaki blog.
Restaurant name: Kedai Kopi Lu San 庐山茶室
Address: 33, Jalan Haji Abu, Muar, Johor
Hours: 9:00am to 3:00pm
Date visited: 17 Mar 2013
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