I have been following Samantha's Bonding Tool blog because I like her sincere, understated style of writing. She is also very funny and takes beautiful photos. As I feel that Johor Kaki readers will also enjoy Samantha's delicious food reviews, I invited her to be my guest blogger. I am honoured that she graciously accepted my invitation and I feel very privileged to have her post on Johor Kaki. Thank you, Samantha. Tony
Hello world! My name is Samantha Han and my friends call me Sam Life is a box of chocolates, you never now what you are going to get… When Tony invited me to do a guest post on JohorKaki, I was like “Yes! Yes! Yes… I so wanna do this!” THANK YOU, Tony! I could not be more honoured and motivated (started digging up all my photos on JB food). I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have, blogging for you ~ Sam Han.
From Singapore into Johor, Malaysia
Meng and I wanted a guide in Johor Bahru mainly to know where to eat. Pang offered to give us a tour that night as he goes into JB weekly and knew places that might tickle our tastebuds. As he was scheduled for medical check-up the next morning, Pang said he would not be eating but I should have known his intentions differed. He suggested eating porridge, something easy for us (excluding him) to partake. Meng and I rolled our eyes
The street leading to Goh Zha Lang
As we were approaching the restaurant, we saw a line up of tables on the street, all filled with enthusiastic diners. When I saw that sign posting “lala”, I wanted to open the car door and jump into the street. My tongue was wet with the imaginary sambal or kum hiong lala but I digressed. Back to bubur!
Goh Zha Lang Restoran Taiwan 古早人台湾粥餐馆
This place looked familiar… Ah yes, I’ve been here before, that was at least 5 years ago! I’m glad we came. Time to review the taste and quality of this place that reeked nostalgia.
The restaurant's decor
The first thing that triggered my memory lane were the sampans hanging on the wall. The decor was the same. Nothing much has changed, no major renovation taken place since I last visited which meant bill should be reasonable since owner would not be recovering remodelling costs.
Making Chinese tea
We ordered Chinese tea. Although the tea leaves were not the finest grade, they did have nice aroma and good overtones without being complex.
Braised peanuts were served as tidbits while our meal was being prepared. The peanuts were tender and infused with the fragrance of star anise and a hint of 5 spice.
Sweet Potato Porridge – bottomless refill
For MYR1.30 per person, you can keep refilling your bowl of plain or sweet potato porridge. Oliver Twist would have loved it here! More please, Pang who said he wouldn’t eat had 2 bowls that night. Hmmm… I wonder how many bowls he would consume had he brought his stomach!
Fried Beansprouts with Salted Fish
The beansprouts was done very nicely. The quick stir-fried method successfully retained the crunch of this humble dish yet adequately removed the offensive raw smell of the beans. The salted fish was crispy and not overly salty. A good choice we have made ordering this.
The prawn omelet was fluffy and the prawns succulent and juicy. The sweetness from the prawns assured me that they were fresh. Even though I could not taste the sea, I was assured of fast turnover of ingredients. Business is definitely brisk here.
The hotplate tofu offered silky smooth egg beancurd, coarsely diced green peppers and minced meat. The colour was a little too dark, too much dark soy for my liking. Taste wise there’s nothing to shout about nor anything to loathe too. It was quite ordinary.
Sliced Fish with Ginger and Spring Onions
Stir-fried fish slices with ginger and scallions was good. The cut was not overly thick since they were stir-fried and needed to infuse the seasonings as fast as possible. I like the smooth texture of the fish used. The fillets did properly rid of bones so this makes a good dish for children and older folks.
Pork is my all time favourite so I’m always biased when it comes to swine so long as there’s no porky smell, I love any cooking style with pork. The salted egg yolk is a bonus to my meal so I shan’t complain too much about the overly minced pork patty which I would prefer coarse ground to provide more texture and mouthfeel. I could not decide if this was slightly over steamed. In any case, it is good to overcook pork for mysophobia reasons.
The Szechuan vegetable soup was a refreshing change from the rich Cantonese soups I’ve had recently. The light clear broth with minimal tang from the tomato wedges stimulated our appetite. That’s how Pang succumbed to his second bowl of porridge. I found the vegetables a little too well washed so that they’d lost some spiciness and saltiness. That said, health conscious people on low sodium diet may like it.
If you do not like porridge, the dishes go well with rice, too. This restaurant provides meals suitable for families with young children and elderly folks.
Meng and I agreed that this is a restaurant we would visit again should we be in JB and has a pang (pun intended) for Taiwanese porridge.
Restaurant name: Goh Zha Lang Restoran Taiwan 古早人台湾粥餐馆
Address: 125 & 125A, Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, Johor Bahru
GPS: 1.493456,103.771893 (rough)
Hours: 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight (needs verification)
Date visited: 28 Apr 2013