Tony Johor Kaki Travels for Food · Heritage · Culture · Diplomacy

International Awards Winner · Singapore Malaysia Food History Blogger 🇸🇬 johorkaki@gmail

Coffee & Tea with Fresh Cow Milk in Singapore @ Madras Coffee House's Kerbau Road

Milton has been telling us about this road side cafe that serves coffee and tea with fresh cow's milk at Kerbau Road in Little India. Six of us dropped by after a scrumptious biryani lunch at Mr Biryani steps away around the corner at Chander Road. (More about Mr Biryani in a future post - it is highly recommended 👍)

Stall name: Madras Coffee House's


Address: 54 Kerbau Road, #01-06, Singapore 218179


Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Little India station (exit E)


Tel: 9499 9945


Hours: 5:30am - 9:30pm (timings need confirmation)

History of Palm Sugar ● Difference Between Gula Melaka, Gula Jawa, Gula Apong

Palm sugar is enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia, southern China (Hainan), Sri Lanka, and India. There are many different types of palm sugar depending on the palm sap it is made from. There are, for example, palmyra, date, nipah, and coconut palms.

There may be different palms but the production process is ancient and the same.

From Kut Teh to Bak Kut Teh ● Did Meat Bone Tea Came from Bone Tea?

History_of_Bak_Kut_Teh

The origin and meaning of the teh in the popular bak kut teh dish is still a riddle today. No one is sure how the teh in bak kut teh came about or even what it really means.

It is clearly a thng (soup) then why is it called a teh (tea)?

Fatt Kee Shou Shi Traditional Cantonese Breakfast @ Albert Centre


Office today at Albert Food Centre. Fatt Kee was one of the few stalls already opened at this early hour and there was a queue of hungry customers getting their breakfast before setting off for work.

There weren't too many items on Fatt Kee's menu - simple humble fare like chee cheong fun, fried noodles, rice dumplings, porridge and yam cake. Old school, comfort food. That's all.

Stall name: Fatt Kee Shou Shi


Address: 270 Queen Street, stall #01-68, Singapore 180270 (stall inside Albert Food Centre)


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Bugis station


Hours: 7:00am - 11:00am (Sun & Mon off)

Tiong Bahru Min Nan Prawn Noodle ● Pro Tip: Ask For Bak Kut Mee

Tiong_Bahru_Min_Nan_Prawn_Noodle

Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre is my office today ☕ For breakfast, I chose Min Nan Prawn Noodle. The queue was constantly about 10 deep but moved along steadily.

Stall name: Min Nan 闽南 Pork Ribs and Prawn Noodles 


Address: 30 Seng Poh Rd, stall #02-31, Singapore 168898 (stall inside Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre)


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Havelock station


Hours: 8:00am - 2:00pm (Mon off)

Soon Heng Famous Toa Payoh HDB Hub Rojak ● Still Going Strong Decades On

I know this famous Toa Payoh HDB Hub Rojak quite well. I mean decades ago when I had to go to the HDB HQ to run errands, I had this popular rojak a few times.

Stall name: Soon Heng Rojak


Address: 480 Lor 6 Toa Payoh, B1-23 Gourmet Paradise Foodcourt, HDB Hub, Singapore 310480


Nearest MRT: At Toa Payoh station


Hours: 11:00am - 9:30pm

Grandfather Food Empire Bak Chor Mee @ Queen Street Bugis Area Coffee Shop 爺爺香菇肉碎面

Had a seminar to attend at 3pm and feeling famish, I looked dashed around the Qwan Im Temple area (Bugis) and stumbled upon a corner coffee shop.

Stall name: Grandfather Food Empire Bak Chor Mee 爺爺香菇肉碎面


Address: Queen St, #269B, Singapore 182269 (stall inside 8383 Eating Place coffee shop)


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Bugis station


Tel: 9140 0009


Hours: 7:30am - 3:45pm

Singapore & Malaysia Bak Kut Teh History 肉骨茶的歷史

Bak_Kut_Teh

Bak kut teh can be found in both Singapore and Malaysia though they differ in form and taste. Generally, the Malaysian variety is savoury herbal in brownish soup while the Singapore version is peppery in lighter colour soup. 

History of Sambal ● Is There Sambal Before the Portuguese? From Piper to Capsicum

The spicy hot relish known as sambal is ubiquitous in Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore cuisine. Sambal can be a condiment or an ingredient in a dish (e.g. sambal kang kong, sambal squid, etc).

Sambal likely came from the Javanese word sambel. The spicy relish is found throughout Nusantara (Malay archipelago) in many varieties, localised according to local taste and availability of ingredients. 

History of Nasi Lemak & Nasi Uduk ● What is the Difference?

Is this nasi lemak or nasi uduk?

Malaysia's nasi lemak and Indonesia's nasi uduk are often considered the same dish. Nasi lemak is ubiquitous in Malaysia and Singapore, while nasi uduk is a staple in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Nasi lemak means "fatty rice" in Malay and nasi uduk means "mixed rice" in the Indonesian Batawi dialect. How are nasi lemak and nasi uduk related, and what does that relationship tell us about the history of Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore?

By the way, the photo above is a nasi uduk box set from Jakarta. Clockwise from top left - shredded fried chicken, coconut milk rice, shredded fried tempe, shredded fried egg, cucumber slices.

Azme Corner Nasi Lemak ● Hidden Gem Uncovered @ Bedok Blk 122

Buddy jio (invited) me to join him to try out a nasi lemak stall in Bedok, popular with locals (but still keeping a low profile below the social media radar).

Stall name: Azme Corner Nasi Lemak


Address: Bedok North Street 2, Block 122, Singapore 460122


Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Bedok station


Tel: 9799 5438


Hours: 9:00am - 2:00pm (Mon & Tues off)

Smokin' Joe ● Good Steaks for the People @ Yishun Park Hawker Centre

I first heard about Joe when a New York Post article declared that Smokin' Joe's fish and chips at Urban Hawker is the best in New York City 😮

Stall name: Smokin' Joe - Western BBQ Charcoal Grill


Address: Yishun Park Hawker Centre stall #01-37, 51 Yishun Ave 11, S768867


Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Yishun station


Hours: 12:00 noon - 9:00pm

Pande Egi Babi Guling in Gianyar • One of Bali's Best According to Locals


My trips to Bali always have the Bali food icon babi guling on the agenda 😬 Our buddy Budi, who is born and raised in Bali brought us to Pande Egi Babi Guling in Gianyar, which is about 30 minutes drive north from the Ubud tourist hub.

Restaurant name: Warung Babi Guling Pande Egi


Address: Banjar Pande, Beng, Kec. Gianyar, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80513, Indonesia


Tel: +62 878 8332 8808


Hours: 8:00am - 9:00pm

Overpriced? Overcharged? Singapore Hawkers

Once in a while, my blog posts on certain hawker stalls will attract a curt retort, "Overpriced". I normally don't reply to such one word "comments" because pricing is a complex, even subjective issue which I feel cannot be dismissed with one or two sweeping words. (I learned from business classes decades ago that pricing makes or breaks a business.)

But, I just need to get this off my chest, even if I am walking on very thin ice.

Toa Payoh Blk 177 Hui Wei Prawn Noodle & Lor Mee 回味蝦麵滷麵


Buddy Tim raved about Hui Wei prawn noodle and lor mee at Toa Payoh Blk 177 coffee shop for two days in a row. He's normally not so effusive, so I was really curious to try them 😃

Impromptu jio-ed (invited) Tim and Aaron to go down to check out Tim's latest discovery.

Stall name: Hui Wei Prawn Noodle Lor Mee 回味


Address: Blk 177 Toa Payoh Central, #01-170, Singapore 310177 (stall inside Epic Haus coffee shop)


Nearest MRT: Five minutes walk from Toa Payoh station


Hours: 7:00am - 1:00pm

Ponggol Nasi Lemak @ Kovan ● Iconic Singapore Chinese Coconut Rice Since 1979

I have a friend who is constantly raving about Ponggol Nasi Lemak. I, on the other hand, am not a fan. Had it once in the 1990s at their Tanjong Katong outlet but never went back since. 

It felt too much like "chap cai png" except for rice cooked with coconut milk. "Chap cai png" was what I endured during the worst work day lunches when I had no time to enjoy my food at leisure because of pressing deadlines.

Stall name: Ponggol Nasi Lemal (Kovan outlet)


Address: 965 Upper Serangoon Rd, Singapore 534721


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes from Kovan station


Tel: 6281 0020


Hours: 5:00pm - 12:00 midnight (Thurs off)

Fabulous Faloodeh ● Did Cendol Come from an Ancient Persian Cold Dessert?

In Iran, there is an ancient cold sweet dessert known as "Faloodeh". In its simplest form, it is rice or wheat vermicelli (noodles), rose water, sugar syrup and ice. "Faloodeh" goes back to 400 BC i.e. it is more than 2600 years ago.

Li Xin Fishball Noodle @ Toa Payoh Kim Keat Palm ● Best Fishball Noodle for $3.50 立兴潮洲魚丸粿條面


Got up at the crack of dawn for Toa Payoh's famous Li Xin Fishball Noodle. The fishballs, though machine made, were quite tasty. The noodles come with a nice robustly savoury, tangy, spicy, lardy sauce.

Stall name: LiXin Chao Zhou Fishball Noodle 立兴潮洲魚丸粿條面


Address: 22 Lor 7 Toa Payoh, stall #01-20, Singapore 310019 (inside Kim Keat Palm Market & Food Centre)


Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Braddell station


Hours: 7:00am - 1:00pm (Mon, Tues, Weds off)

Chiderful "Private Chef" @ Dingy Old City Plaza 吃淂福 ● Ability to Take Hardship & to Eat are Blessings

We gathered at Chiderful @ City Plaza for lunch. Catherine's friend tried it, so Catherine went to try, Chua followed Catherine, liked it, went back a few times with his wife, and today seven of us showed up 😀 We all enjoyed ourselves. Yeah, that's typically how we uncover favourite makan (eating) places - the slow, old way 😬

Personally, I like everything slow - slow food, slow travel, slow conversations.... (yeah, I know, the choice of slow is a luxury of the privileged in today's world 🙏 )

Stall name: Chiderful Eating House 吃淂福


Address: Shop #02-73 City Plaza, 810 Geylang Road, Singapore 409286


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Paya Lebar station


Tel: 9895 9972


Hours: 1:00pm - 9:00pm (Mon off)

Yi Xin Cheap & Good Vegan Food in Chinatown Singapore 一心素食

This was my second time at least at Yi Xin Vegan Food. When we walked past Yi Xin's busy corridor, I can't help but want to have it again (even though we had eaten enough elsewhere).

Restaurant name: Yi Xin Vegan Food 一心素食


Address: 43 Temple Street, Singapore 058584


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Chinatown station


Tel: 93666002


Hours: 8:00am - 8:00pm (Sun off)

Hong Lim Tanglin Curry Puff #02-34 vs Tanglin Curry Puff Original #02-36


Buddy Peter spotted two curry puff stalls at Hong Lim Complex with almost the same name and type of curry puff. Curious, he bought one from stall each for us to try.

Stall name: Hong Lim Tanglin Curry Puff & Tanglin Curry Puff Original


Address: Hong Lim Complex, 531A Upper Cross Street, #02-34 & #02-36, Singapore 051531


Nearest MRT: At Chinatown station


Tel: 84183937 (stall #02-34) ☎ 9740 8408 (stall #02-36)


Hours: 8:00am - 4:00pm (stall #02-34 Sun off)

Bali Holiday Itinerary Highlights • Island of Gods & Food

This is my diary of my Bali trip from 20 to 26 Dec 2022 written as we go. We were doing slow travel with no fixed itinerary, making it up as we go (my preferred way to travel). This post of some of our observations and notable moments in Bali is in chronological order.

Memorable Miri Sarawak Holiday Highlights • What to See, Do, Eat in Miri


The city of Miri is Sarawak's oil town and an underrated destination. The atmosphere here is laid back, blessed with the riches of the South China Sea, natural wonders like the Niah National Park and Caves, cuisine is diverse, delicious yet unique, the culture and people are friendly and fun loving. Its attractions are organic and authentic, and therein lies its appeal.

Easily accessible from Singapore, Miri is an enriching yet affordable getaway with a difference.

Miri is the second largest city in Sarawak, East Malaysia (after Kuching). Located right at the border with Brunei, it is about two hours flight time from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Miri has a population of less than half million people. It is a young city, founded only in 1910 by Royal Dutch Shell when it dug the first oil well on Canada Hill.

Must Try Chinese Nasi Lemak in Kuala Lumpur @ Jalan Peel • Chow Kit • Taman Muda Ampang (ex-Pudu Market) • Sentul

Nasi_Lemak

Nasi lemak is a ubiquitous and well loved staple dish in Malaysia and Singapore. It comes in many forms, reflecting our diverse communities. In its basic form, nasi lemak is typically just a small mound of white rice cooked by boiling or steaming with coconut milk, a bit of salt and sometimes aromatics like pandan leaf. The aromatic rice is eaten with sambal (spicy hot relish made with chili pepper), deep fried dried anchovies, fried peanut, boiled egg, and cucumber slices.

Li Fu Coffee & Toast @ Teck Ghee Court Ang Mo Kio • Aromatic Eggy Kaya & Good Nanyang Kopi 利福


It's the morning after Argentina overcome Croatia 3 - 0 in Qatar World Cup 2022. Half of Singapore was stoned (from lack of sleep 🥱 ). We met up at Teck Ghee Court Hawker Centre for some hyperlocal breakfast.

After chwee kueh, Aaron got kopi and toast from Li Fu Coffee & Toast stall.

Stall name: Li Fu Coffee & Toast 利福


Address: 341 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Teck Ghee Court Food Centre, stall #01-31, Singapore 560341


Nearest MRT: 10 minutes from Ang Mo Kio station


Hours: 5:00am - 2:00pm (Tues off)

Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh @ Owen Road • Farrer Park • Reminds Me of Johor Bahru Teochew Style 興興砂锅肉骨茶


Met up with buddy Jasmine at Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh at Owen Road which I had never tried before.

Restaurant name: Heng Heng Bak Kut Teh 興興砂锅肉骨茶


Address: 107 Owen Road, Singapore 218914


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Farrer Park station


Tel: 6292 4913


Hours: 7:30am - 2:30pm (Tues off)

Wedang @ Golden Mile Food Centre • Mee Rebus & Tauhu Goreng


We were at Golden Mile Food Centre at 4pm looking for something to tide us over till dinner later. 

Stall name: Wedang


Address: Stall #B1-19, Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road, Singapore


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Lavender station


Hours: 12:00 noon - 8:00pm (Sun & Mon off)

Pastaria Abate @ 86 Neil Road • Our Simple Christmas Lunch & Panettone

We had an early Christmas lunch and panettone at Pastaria Abate at 86 Neil Road.

Restaurant name: Pastaria Abate


Address: 86 Neil Rd, Singapore 088846


Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Maxwell or Outram Park stations 


Tel: 6909 0672


Hours: 11:30am - 11:00pm

Quanzhou Niu Pai Stewed Beef Ribs • Halal Culinary Legacy of the Maritime Silk Road in China 泉州红烧牛排骨


The port city of Quanzhou in China's Fujian province has a popular braised beef rib dish. The dish is meaty beef ribs stewed with spices which are familiar to people who live in Southeast Asia and India. Examples include star anise, peppercorn, cardamon, clove, cumin, fennel seeds, nutmeg, chili pepper, etc., as well as curry powder.

How Singapore Got its Name • Hindu Origin & Meaning of Name Singapura • Narasingha Fourth Avatar of Vishnu

Origin_Meaning_Name_Singapura

It is generally accepted that the name Singapura came about when Sang Nila Utama, a Srivijavan empire prince from Palembang (in today's South Sumatra) spotted a fierce looking animal when he landed on the island of Temasek in 1299. The prince asked his grandfather Demang Lebar Daun what animal it was and was told that the creature was a lion or singha (in Sanskrit).