Recently, whenever we passed by Permas Jaya in JB, we noticed this corner restaurant which is always busy. We were quite curious about what it is all about, especially when it has a rather self-important name like Bar Wang Rice or 霸王飯 which means Tyrant Rice. So, we paid it a visit today at lunch. We found nothing to fear and in fact, it is a wallet friendly place :-D
Bar Wang Rice turned out to be what is known in Singapore as chap chai png 杂菜饭 or economic rice shop.
Economic rice stalls are popular with many people because they serve many varieties of home style dishes at pocket friendly prices (though many people would argue that economic rice is no longer economical, but that will be the story for another post).
In the old days, at my old office I would always eat at the economic rice stall. My standard order is one fish and two vegetables with a splash of curry. It's not that the chap chai png was anything special. There was already enough stress meeting deadlines in the office, I don't want to waste any more brain cells deciding on what to eat. The standard chap chai png meal is always filling and satisfying enough.
A quick scan - there must be over 40-50 different dishes here at Bar Wang Rice. All the usual meat, fish, chicken, egg, tofu and vegetable chap chye png dishes are there in large shallow round trays.
There was even a braised pork 卤肉 station which was the tipping point inducing us to eat here when we browsed the dishes.
The vegetable was well cleaned and still crunchy juicy. The fish was generic dory, probably frozen, was sweet but has a faint fishy taste (which didn't bother me). The mince pork ball was soft, juicy and tasty sweet savoury. The rice was well cleaned but cooked a little wet and soft today.
The smooth and tender braised pork trotter was mildly sweet savoury. We liked it.
Fried bean curd skin roll, fried chicken cubes, brinjal cooked in bean paste sauce. All tasted mild and balanced - not too salty nor too sweet. We liked the bean curd and brinjal but not the fried chicken as it was not crispy enough. The food at Bar Wang Rice was not overly oily.
All the food we had today came to RM22.70 nett in total. Chinese black tea is free of charge at the communal dispenser.
After trying Bar Wang Rice at Permas Jaya, I can appreciate why it is drawing in the crowds (and has expanded to 6 outlets in JB). The food is tasty (though not too different from similar good chap chye png stalls at kopitiams), the pricing is competitive and the environment is comfortable like a cafe - air conditioned, clean and well maintained.
Restaurant name: Bar Wang Rice 霸王飯
Address: Jalan Permas 10/1, Bander Baru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru (Bar Wang Rice has 6 outlets in JB - Mount Austin, Pelangi, Tun Aminah, Nusa Bestari, Maju Jaya, Permas Jaya)
GPS: 1.501262, 103.816178
Hours: 10:00am to 9:30pm
Date visited: 26 May 2016
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