Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Singapore based personal blog of true stories by johorkaki@gmail about best food, people & places around the world

Friday, 1 June 2018

Morning to Night Kway Teow Kia Food Trail in Johor Bahru ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We were crazy enough to go on a whole day kway teow kia trail today.  Our morning till night trail of some of JB people's favourite KTK stalls covered:

👉Taman Tasek 南滨园
👉Rong Shu Xia / Ka Hoe 榕树下
👉Solid Cafeteria 祖传
👉San Lou 三楼

We ate ourselves silly, so you don't have to.

Kway teow kia is a comfort dish unique to Johor Bahru city (you won't even find it anywhere else in Johor). If you are a visitor to JB city, you may wish to give KTK a try.

Kway teow kia is a Teochew comfort dish. It consists of pork meat and well cleaned offal braised in savoury herbal stock till tender. The braised meat and offal are eaten with soupy bowls of slender flat rice noodles or kway teow kia 果条仔 which the dish is named after.

They say kway teow kia used to be "poor man's food" but nowadays as the number of old school stalls decline and people's longing for things nostalgic grow, KTK is one of the more pricey street food now.

Our first KTK stop was at Taman Tasek Kway Teow Kia 南滨园果条仔. This 34 year old stall founded in 1984 is the favourite of many JB folks who grew up with it. Located at Jalan Tasek near the Maybank branch, it operates from 7am till noon (off on Sunday and Monday). GPS 🌏 1°29'07.4"N 103°43'21.2"E | 1.485396, 103.722541.

Taman Tasek KTK's braising stock was mildly savoury herbal - the mildest of the four places we went to today. The pork meat and parts were tender and juicy, and we can taste their natural sweetness underlying the mild savoury herbal stock. The herbal taste was very mild, just a hint of it.

The gentle tastes of Taman Tasek's kway teow kia felt very homely and comforting. Nothing will throw you off your chair with excitement, but everything was done just right and regulars keep coming back for the consistency and good feeling.

Taman Tasek kway teow kia is the only popular KTK stall that is set under the shade of big trees - if you like eating under the cool of big trees like I do, then Taman Tasek KTK is the place for you.

Eating in a quiet, laid back neighbourhood surrounded by Tasek KTK's long time regulars is the type of immersive authentic foodie experience I look for when I travel.

By the time we reached our second stop Ka Hoe / Rong Shu Xia 榕树下果条仔 at 12:30pm, they were getting ready to close for the day. Rong Shu Xia began over 40 years ago as a street side stall under a big tree along Jalan Maju where Plaza Pelangi is today. Rong Shu Xia 榕树下 (which means "under the banyan tree") then moved into Ka Hoe coffee shop at Jalan Maju and about 2 years ago opened their own shop just next door. GPS 🌏 1°28'50.7"N 103°45'59.8"E | 1.480755, 103.766621.

Rong Shu Xia's braising stock was almost the same as that at Taman Tasek, just subtly more savoury and herbal. Still, it highlighted the natural flavour of the pork and innards. Love Rong Shu Xia's pork belly - it looked ordinary but it was rich with natural sweetness in its juicy tenderness.

The thing I like about Kah Hoe is their freshly fried shallot and aromatic oil infused with fried shallot flavour. The fried shallots add a layer of savoury sweet flavour and aroma that significantly lifts the tastiness of the dish.

Singaporeans may be happy to note that Rong Shu Xia / Kah Hoe serves pork blood curd. (The only one of the four we tried today.)

If you are driving from JB to up north to Malacca, Kuala Lumpur etc, Rong Shu Xia is a delicious and convenient place to tank up on calories. The shop opens at 6:30am. It is just off the Tebrau highway, 10 minutes after clearing immigration at JB CIQ. After eating, you can rejoin the North South Expressway (via Jalan Biru to EDL) in 5 minutes. Just use any navigation App e.g. Waze and you can't go wrong.

Third stop, Solid Cafeteria 祖传果条仔 is in Johor Jaya, Jalan Bakawali 50. It operates from 12:00 noon to 9:30pm (Mondays off). GPS 🌏 1°32'33.0"N 103°47'35.4"E | 1.542511, 103.793158.

Solid Cafeteria's braising stock was also mildly savoury sweet herbal though more robust than at Tasek and Rong Shu Xia.

One of Solid Cafeteria's signatures is their thickened gooey savoury sweet herbal sauce which they slather on the braised pork and offal they serve. The savoury sweet herbal sauce has layers of flavours and even a subtle smokiness (of the good kind).

The smooth gooey savoury sweet herbal sauce complemented the tender juicy pork meat, skin and offal well. We were still able to taste the pork and offal's natural sweetness.

I also like Solid Cafeteria's crispy thick fried bean curd skin - we ate it like the way we dunk biscuits in coffee / Milo - it soaked up loads of tasty stock and still had some crispy crunch left.

The well balanced gently savoury sweet tangy pickled Chinese mustard was good too.

Solid Cafeteria has the best chili sauce of the four KTK places we visited today. It's like the garlicky Kampung Koh style chili sauce but better - because it is less salty, less sweet but with sharper hot sting and nicer underlying fresh garlic taste.

Our last stop for today's KTK trail was 35 year old San Lou Kway Teow Kia 三楼果条仔. It is located in a makeshift zinc shack off Jalan Stulang Darat at the intersection with Jalan Pandan. It is called San Lou Kway Teow Kia because it was originally located at the three storey flats (三楼), a stone's throw away. It is just 5 minutes drive after clearing immigration at JB CIQ. Opens at 5pm - usually sold out before 9pm (Monday off). GPS 🌏 1°28'19.5"N 103°46'39.1"E | 1.472090, 103.777520.

San Lou's braising stock was relatively robust (the most assertive of all four KTK stalls today), yet it was still in moderate intensity territory. It had a salty savoury flavour with barely discernible underlying herbal taste.

The pork meat and parts were infused with the braising stock's salty savouriness but we can still taste their underlying natural sweetness.

San Lou KTK founder Mr Lee told me that their best sellers are their pork skin, stuffed intestines 肠灌肠 and pork belly.

San Lou's pork skin differed from the other three KTK stalls in being firmer and stiffer. (A bit too stiff for me actually, but I saw this on every table and it was the first item to be sold out.)

There you have it - each of these four popular kway teow kia stalls have their own selling points and appeal to their own loyal fans.

Any of your favourites here? Please recommend more kway teow kia stalls for me to try 😄

🎀  Don't be like Tony and friends. Don't eat kway teow kia from morning till night. Eat everything in moderation.

My previous posts on these four recommended kway teow kia stalls 👉

Taman Tasek 南滨园 (2012) 👈 click for details
Taman Tasek 南滨园 (2012) 👈 click for details
Rong Shu Xia / Ka Hoe 榕树下 (2012) 👈 click for details
Rong Shu Xia / Ka Hoe 榕树下 (2015) 👈 click for details
Solid Cafeteria 祖传 (2012) 👈 click for details
San Lou 三楼粿條仔 (2012) 👈 click for details
San Lou 三楼粿條仔 (2016) 👈 click for details

There are many more kway teow kia stalls in Johor Bahru - it's just that four is all we could handle in a single day 😂

Check out the rest here 👈 click for details

Disclaimer: I didn't really want to wear that flowery shirt - it's not me. It's the producer's orders 😂

Date visited: 31 May 2018

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