Tuesday, 25 September 2018

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

I first passed this way, way back in 2012. I marked it down as a place to return to but never did until this morning - 6 years later. San Lou Cafe is a hidden gem close to the heart of San Lou residents who live in these 3 storey flats at Stulang Darat, many for over 5 decades.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

San Lou Cafe is at the corner of Blok B - a gathering place of residents of the 3 storey flats and JB folks who know where the good food are in town. Thanks to Littlestarz Serene for tipping me off to this hidden gem.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

San Lou Cafe is a laid back rather dingy eatery - not a hipster cafe by any means but it is not short on personality and feel. Folks saunter in on this Tuesday morning like any morning for the past 50 years.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

Take a seat inside but don't wait for someone to come to show you the menu and take your orders.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

Go straightaway to the kitchen at the back to hand pick your fresh fish / seafood and make your orders.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

San Lou Cafe is run by the Lee family who lives at the 3 storey flats. According to the elder Lee, their dishes are all home cooking style - literally from their home to the shop.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

Two of us, we had 4 dishes - fried sole fish, la la clams, fried eggs with krill, and fried sayur manis. Yes, they were those familiar dishes mums and dads cook at home.

Dragon Tongue Fish

The Dragon Tongue sole fish 龙舌鱼 was fried to a golden brown crisp outside.

Dragon Tongue Fish

The white inside was tender and moist which complemented the crispness outside. The white meat had a mild natural sweetness. The sole fish was quite bony.

La La Clam

I love San Lou Cafe's la la clams.

La La Clam

The la la clams were very well cleaned - there was no sand or grit at all. The tender and juicy clam meat was naturally sweet with ocean brininess.

La La Clam

The shallow pool of la la clam stock at the bottom of the plate tasted mainly of the la la clams' briny sweetness with underlying taste of Chinese cooking wine and a bit of subtle heat from julienned ginger.

Delicious.

Krill Omelette

Enjoyed this omelette packed with fresh krill (small shrimps). The omelette tasted mainly briny from the soft krill with underlying egginess.

Krill Omelette

Can you see the little black peering eyes of the krill? 😮

Fried Vegetable

I am a big fan of sayur manis and will order it whenever it is available. I love the crunch and squeaky bite of the leafy greens. The vegetable's green sweetness was complemented with slight egginess and savouriness from sauces / stock.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

We love every dish we had today.

But, wait - we can't leave without tasting San Lou Cafe's signature dessert.

Orh Nee

Irresistible Orh Nee 芋泥 - San Lou Cafe serves an excellent rendition of this classic Teochew sweet indulgence.

Orh Nee

Each spoonful of orh nee had layers of sweetness from the smooth yam paste, pumpkin, and gingko nuts complemented by subtle savouriness from lard. One of the most notorious enemies in the "war on diabetes" but it doesn't take much to persuade me into sweet surrender.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

4-Star (out of 5).

👍 I am so pleased to have lunch at San Low Cafe 三楼咖啡屋 at the historic 3 storey flats at Stulang Darat. It's a great place for an authentic JB foodie experience with homely Teochew dishes expertly executed with fresh ingredients. Overall, the flavours were mild and well balanced, emphasising the natural taste of the quality ingredients.

Our total bill for four dishes and orh nee dessert plus rice came to RM68. We feel it is very reasonable.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

I shall be back very soon to try more dishes at San Lou Cafe such as their popular signature asam pedas fish.

Asam Pedas Fish

We came back for a second visit specially for San Lou Cafe's signature asam pedas fish (on 13 Oct 2018).

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

Every business morning, the boss goes to the Orang Asli fish market in Permas Jaya to hand pick fish for his restaurant. He is usually back around 9 - 9:30am, so try to come around that time for the first pick of the catch of the day. Come straight to the kitchen at the back of the restaurant to hand pick your own fish.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

There were these fish to be cooked with asam pedas (which is San Lou Cafe's signature dish).

Shovel Nose Shark

Next time, jio (invite) a few kakis (buddies) for these shovel nose shark snort.

Asam Pedas Fish

I picked a beautiful wild snapper fish which was caught just hours ago. There's a choice to cook it steamed Teochew style, Cantonese style or with asam pedas. We picked the latter.

Asam Pedas Fish

The meaty snapper was tender and sweet. The asam pedas sauce was moderately savoury sourish spicy sweet.

Sea Catfish

While in the kitchen, I saw them cooking these wild sea catfish. I asked for one of these to try 😄

Sea Catfish

The catfish was stewed in a savoury sweet sauce. The catfish meat was soft and sweet complemented by the savoury sweet sauce.

JB Hidden Food Gem. San Lou Cafe (Not Restaurant) for Teochew Home Cooking 三楼咖啡屋

Restaurant nameSan Lou Cafe 三楼咖啡屋
Address: Jalan Stulang Darat (ground floor house unit at 3-storey flats facing inside), Johor Bahru  
GPS: 1°28'21.8"N 103°46'42.9"E 🌐 1.472715, 103.778580 
Waze: Restoran Come & Eat Teochew Muay (San Lou Cafe is at the next block just inside) 
Tel: +6012 791 7868
Hours: 7:00am to 2:00 pm (closed on Thurs)

Non Halal




Date visited: 25 Sept 2018
First update: 13 Oct 2018


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I share hoping that everyone will have a good time but your experience may differ from mine. I love to know how you enjoyed yourself or if you didn't.

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