Johor Kaki Travels for Food

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

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Restoran Hua Mui. Intangible Cultural Heritage Muhibah Kopitiam in Johor Bahru

My very first post in Johor Kaki blog was about Restoran Hua Mui in old downtown in JB (posted on 20 Dec 2011). I am back at Hua Mui again after 7 years. I zeroed in on their authentic Hainanese chicken chop which was my most memorable thing at Hua Mui.

This was how the Hainanese chicken chop looked back in Dec 2011. The chicken chops looked the same, then and now - well almost (the lettuce was missing today 😄 ).

Can you see the date stamp? Yeah, back then in 2011, my photos even have a time stamp 😂

Hua Mui's chicken chop cost RM10.80 in 2011 and RM15.90 in 2018. The most important thing is does the Hainanese chicken chop today tastes as good as before?

The thin piece of chicken breast was battered with flour and crushed biscuit, and deep fried to golden brown outside. It was served with wedges of fried potatoes, tomatoes and green peas. It came with a ladle of brown mushroom sauce.

I like the mouth feel and taste of the crushed biscuit batter. The batter was crisp yet not greasy. The thin breast meat was tender and moist though it didn't have much taste in itself. The gently savoury sweet gooey brown mushroom sauce provided most of the flavours to the dish and it was tasty.

The fried potato wedges and tomatoes were good. The green peas were nice and to me the peas were among the defining ingredients of Hainanese chicken chop.

We also had a beef hor fun. We love the look of it when it arrived - velvety brown sauce with egg and chunks of beef over a mound of lightly browned kway teow (rice ribbon noodles).

We ate the hor fun with fork and spoon as Hua Mui doesn't have chopsticks 😄

I wished they used either hor fun or wider kway teow, but still, Hua Mui's rendition of this Cantonese classic was well above average. The kway teow was slightly caramelised giving it some wok hei taste and aroma. The brown sauce with a raw egg was savoury sweet eggy and silky smooth. Love this brown sauce.

The chunks of beef were cooked to medium doneness. Slightly chewy but still tender and had a little beefiness.

The tea and Nanyang coffee were average tasting with nothing particularly memorable in terms of flavour and aroma. But, I still appreciate this as good old school Nanyang coffee cannot be taken for granted nowadays.

Restoran Hua Mui is an institution in Johor Bahru - the kopitiam has many lifelong regulars and perhaps every JB folk has eaten here at least once before. Founded in 1946, Hua Mui has been at this same spot ever since. It's an example of the Mubibah or Goodwill type of kopitiam found in Malaysia where folks of all communities from children to seniors dine together elbow to elbow.

Dishes from all communities are found in the menu of Muhibah type kopitiams (coffee shop). There are Western, Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes besides Nanyang coffee and toasts.

Flashback: My favourite upstairs section of Hua Mui complete with English Tudor style beams, deer heads and antlers on the wall and a window view of this historic part of old town JB. Unfortunately, this section is closed (no longer in operation).

👉 Still a favourite place to dine in old downtown JB after all these years. The food is old school and tasty. Hua Mui's Hainanese chicken chop is still among JB's best. Prices remain competitive. The welcoming Muhibah atmosphere is part of the Restoran Hua Mui experience.

Restaurant name: Restoran Hua Mui 华美茶餐室 
Address: 131 Jalan Trus 80000 Johor Bahru 
GPS: 1.457355,103.764356 
Tel: +607 224 7364
Hours: Daily 8:30am to 5:30pm (closed during Public Holidays)

Certified Halal

Dates visited: 20 Dec 2011, 1 Jan 2012, 6 Jan 2012, 24 Aug 2018

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