Johor Kaki Travels for Food

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

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

I must have walked past Hailam Cafe in Taman Molek literally hundreds of times as I come here regularly for banking errands. But, I have never stepped in before.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

I can't be blamed for it because the coffee shop looked quiet and a little dim from the outside. Furthermore, half the shop facade was taken up by a DHL office. The whole shop front was painted with "DHL yellow". Indeed, you cannot see the "Hailam Cafe" signboard at all when you are walking past along the five foot way.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Inside, it's a quiet, well kept place - a little secret of locals who like to get their news with their Nanyang coffee and newspaper spread flat across the table.



I could pass here another thousand times never knowing the good food inside, had Yvonne not alerted me to it. "They have one of the best Laksa Johor" Yvonne said. Even then, Yvonne had to remind me last night before I made the trip to Hailam Cafe this morning 😝

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

The Hailam (Nanyang) coffee came in a tall glass (instead of the traditional kopi cup). The kopi O kosong was the flat slightly bitter type which needed lots of sugar or condensed / evaporated milk to make it more palatable.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

We ordered the Laksa Johor recommended by Yvonne.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

In the bowl was a mound of spaghetti smothered by a thick brownish colour blanket of minced fish and spices. On top were julienned cucumber, chopped aromatic leaves, onion, chopped garlic and a lime.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

I like it that the chili sauce was served separately in a small dish so that we can add it to the laksa to our own taste. The chili sauce made with fresh chili pepper was sharp spicy and garlicky zest with slight underlying savoury flavour. It was delicious.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Yvonne was wrong 😂

This was not just good as she said. It was more than that. It was excellent and perhaps the best stall bought one that I have tasted so far 😋

The sauce was thick and heavy with minced fresh fish blended with spices and aromatic leaves (though crunchy chai poh or preserved turnip was missing)

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

The thick, heavy gauge spaghetti was done al dente. It had a tenderly firm spring to the bite.

The subtle sweetness of the pasta was complemented with clean tasting sweet, savoury, spicy laksa sauce.


We were delighted with Hailam Cafe's Johor laksa, and decided to try more dishes from the menu. After a quick browse, we opted for their Hainanese chicken chop.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

The fried chicken chop came with house made coleslaw and shoestring fries but no mushroom or pepper sauce. (Price RM14.)

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

The golden brown outside was oh so crispy, I can hear the crackle inside my ears when I chewed on the fried chicken chop. The crispy batter had a clean tasting savoury flavour.

The slab of deboned chicken leg was tender and juicy. It tasted savoury with natural fresh chicken sweetness.

Yummaey.

But, I wish it comes with either mushroom or black pepper sauce.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

The house made coleslaw was crunchy and juicy, and the mayonnaise was sweet savoury with subtle tanginess.



Buoyed by another win, we took a third throw of the dice, betting our last remaining calories on their beef hor fun. (Price RM10.)

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Okay... this was just okay.

It was kway teow instead of hor fun, there was no wok hei, sauce was flat savoury tasting, and the beef was rather stiff and fibrous. Still, it was ok.

There are still a lot of things to try for our next visit like nasi lemak, Singapore Katong laksa etc


First Update 17 Apr 2019

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

We didn't enjoy this oat meal crusted fried chicken chop so much as it was greasy. There was mushroom sauce but it wasn't fresh. The vegetables in the coleslaw were limp and the mayonnaise was stale.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Didn't enjoy this Singapore Katong laksa. Everything in the bowl was not fresh. The thick bee hoon was overcooked.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Recommended for you 👍 Inconspicuous, low profile eatery, and unlikely place for one of the best renditions of Laksa Johor, the Johor icon. Their fried chicken chop was excellent too. Another good option for your Hainanese kopitiam fix.

Thanks Yvonne for your recommendation.

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Hailam Cafe - a Hainanese Coffee Shop in Taman Molek, Johor Bahru

Restaurant name: Hailam Cafe
Address: 38, Jalan Molek 1/10, Taman Molek, Johor Bahru (a couple of shop lots from HSBC branch)
GPS1°31'44.7"N 103°47'27.2"E 🌐 1.529078, 103.790892
Waze: Shell Taman Molek Jb
Tel: 016 788 4222
Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm (Sunday off)

No pork, no lard, no Halal cert

Date visited: 16 Apr 2019


What is Laksa Johor? 👈 click


What other things to eat in Taman Molek 👈 click

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