In this post, I am taking you on a walking heritage tour of the old hawkers of old town Johor Bahru, mainly along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and also the surrounding streets as well. For this heritage trail on foot we start at 10:00am and end at about 2:00pm.
Our first stop is Sang Heng 甡兴 just next to the OCBC branch at the east end of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee. The Teochew kway teow soup uncle has been here since the 1950s.
Ah Seng also sells braised duck and pork at the stall.
Uncle Ah Seng is the oldest hawker on this street and one of the oldest in the whole of Malaysia. Ah Seng's loyal followers say his kway teow soup hasn't changed at all, all these years. "Old school" they say. Let's try Ah Seng's popular kway teow and mee pok but we'll save the coffee for our next stop.
After Sang Heng, we walk along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee and at the junction with Jalan Trus turn to our right towards restoran Hua Mui along Jalan Trus. Like Sang Heng, Hua Mui opened for business in the 1950s.
We shall stop here for Hainanese coffee, soft boiled eggs and French toast. Unlike Sang Heng, Hua Mui has been considerably updated to the chagrin to some of its old timer fans. But, at least, this cup and saucer are still originals :)
After coffee, walk up slope along Jalan Trus. At the next junction (with Jalan Pasar), you will be at Kok Yow Yong herbal stall. Kok Yow Yong has been here for a hundred years, making it the oldest here in old JB town. The stall front has just been modernised. Lost most of it's old quaintness and original charm but thankfully, the herbal drink is still the same.
After herbal tea at Kok Yow Yong, we walk back down towards Hua Mui. Back at Hua Mui turn right along Jalan Dhoby and keep walking along the shops until you come to Salahuddin Bakery. No much changed at Salahuddin's since the bakery started business here in 1937. That old wood fired oven is still in use. We can still get those lamb filled Bengali curry puffs with flaky crusts - the same as those from my childhood.
After Salahuddin, we cross Jalan Dhoby to the restaurant diagonally across - Restoran IT Roo. IT Roo started business in 1961, and during its heydays was even named the Best Chicken Chop in Malaysia in 2003. Much has changed at IT Roo with only the old photographs in the shop to remind us of it's legacy. IT Roo's chunky chicken chops are still a crowd puller.
After IT Roo, walk down along Jalan Pahang. At the junction of Jalan Pahang and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, you will see the most photographed building in old town Johor Bahru - called the Red House for obvious reasons. Originally the home of a wealthy Indian family, the Red House is now the venue of cultural and art events.
At the Red House, walk along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee towards Jalan Trus. At the junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, you will see the popular Kin Wah kopitiam. Right across Kin Wah along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee is Hiap Joo bakery - the final stop of our Heritage Walk.
Like Salahuddin bakery, Hiap Joo also uses a wood fire oven from 1919. The traditional hot favourites are Hiap Joo's coconut buns and banana cakes.
We will take away some straight out of the oven before making our way home. The new generation of owners are coming up with more contemporary pastries but I just stick to old time favourites :)
There you are - heritage walk and heritage food trail of old town Johor Bahru's Jalan Tan Hiok Nee "Culture Street" 文化街.
Plenty of food tasting and photo opportunities for foodies and photography buffs.
Summary of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee heritage food trail:
10:00am Teochew kway teow soup at Sang Heng
10:45am Coffee at Hua Mui
11:15am Herbal tea at Kok Yow Yong (drink and go)
11:45am Pastry shopping at Salahuddin bakery
12:15pm Chicken chop at IT Roo
1:30pm Pastry shopping at Hiap Joo bakery. End of heritage tour.