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

Knowing its history makes food more delicious 🇸🇬 johorkaki@gmail

Hiap Joo 100 Year Old Bakery & Biscuit Factory Johor Bahru 协裕面包西果厂


Update 15 Oct 2019. Most veteran JB foodies would have tasted Hiap Joo bakery's iconic wood fired oven baked banana cakes. Now, they have a crispy crunchy version of the banana cake which I felt could be Hiap Joo's next big thing.


I first tasted the crunchy crispy stiff banana cake back in 2014. It wasn't for sale then. It was made by tossing banana cakes left over from the day's sales into the oven, letting them toast slowly overnight over smothering embers from the day's work. It was given away to friends and regulars as gifts.

When I popped by today, I found out that the crispy crunchy stiff banana cake is now available for sale at RM5 a bag (with 6 pieces inside). They don't have a name for it and just call it "crunch", like a cake version of Roti Kok (baked sugar toast) or cake rusk (as buddy Peter Yeoh pointed out). 


Update: They now call it cake kok. Still at RM5 for 6.

Why should you try it?

If you like crunchy and crispy food, this is right up your alley. It felt like a thick piece of hard crackly biscuit. It has the same taste as the original "soft" banana cake i.e. gently sweet with natural banana fragrance and a bit of smokiness.

Dipping it in my kopi O sui dai (Nanyang coffee with less sugar) added a bit of bitter taste and softened the biscuit's outside a little bit, with the inside still crispy.

Give "crunch" a try, in addition to Hiap Joo's famous spongy banana cakes and coconut buns. Do note that availability of the "crunch" version is limited as it depends on "left overs".


Updated 23 May 2019. The popular Hiap Joo 协裕 bakery, which customers include the Sultan of Johor, has been operating in this hole in the wall shop in old downtown Johor Bahru since 1919. So, this year 2019, Hiap Joo celebrates its 100th year 🎉🎉🎉

Hiap Joo bakery was started by an Englishman and was handed over to the great grandfather of the current owner in the 1930s before the former returned home to England. 

Not much have changed since then, and perhaps today as a piece of living history, Hiap Joo is now more popular than ever before.



Even today, Hiap Joo’s breads and cakes are still baked using wood fire in the same soot coated, clay brick, kiln-like oven since it was founded. 

The wood used to fire the oven are mostly discards from construction sites brought here by building contractors.


Hiap Joo, like many similar set ups in Johor, is a family business. I often see heart warming scenes of the whole three generation Lim family, young and the elders, all chipping in happily together.


I also saw a lot of quiet pride and dedication. Everything is hand made at Hiap Joo, everything fresh everyday. Every step in the process of making the cakes and breads, from start to finish, is made with the same personal touch and commitment.



Today, the key task of baking with the vintage oven is handled by the founder's great grandson James.


The breads and cakes start coming out of the kiln at between noon.


Even the very last step, is done with the same focus and commitment. This banana cake is sliced by hand, and yet every single piece is precisely cut. They are all exactly the same size - if I had not seen it being done with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe that it is hand cut!

All these attention to details all finally adds up in the taste of the cake that attracts queues of regular customers waiting to get their first pick of Hiap Joo’s freshly baked buns and cakes. 

Customers are often seen darting in to grab their cakes and then dashing back to their cars, parked illegally on the curb in the old town's narrow streets.


Hiap Joo’s star attraction is their delicious spongy banana cake. The famous banana cake is slightly charred on the outside with a mild smokey flavour and inside it is bouncy soft, fragrant and moist. 

As no chemical essence or artificial flavourings are used, the cakes are subtly sweet - not sugary. It feels light, spongy and airy, unlike the usual heavy, dense and grease saturated supermarket cakes bricks that leave me feeling bloated and stuffed.


This large banana cake (cut into 10 pieces) costs RM8 (2012 price).


Remember to try also Hiap Joo's coconut buns. The fresh coconut shreds with gula Melaka wrapped by a fluffy smokey bun are juicy and not overly sweet.


As Hiap Joo’s breads and cakes contain no preservatives, they are best consumed within a day and should not be kept for longer than 3 days. This is never a problem for me as Hiap Joo's cakes never lasted more than a couple of hours at home, sometimes they are all gone even before arriving home 😂


Whenever I am in the area I would pick up a banana cake or try the other items on offer at Hiap Joo. Hiap Joo’s cakes are always a joy to bring home to our families to enjoy together.

I was inspired to do this heritage version 😄

Another traditional bakery well worth visiting for its curry puffs and breads as well as it's old time charm is Salahuddin's which is just a stone's throw away from Hiap Joo.

👉 One of only two bakeries left in Johor that still uses a century old wood fired oven to bake their breads and cakes. Enjoy tradition, heritage and delicious food together. The signature banana cake is a Must Try.

Name: Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory 协裕面包西果厂
Address: 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, 80000 Johor Bahru
GPS1.456781, 103.764404 🌐 1°27'24.4"N 103°45'51.9"E
Tel: +607-223 1703
Hours: Daily (Closed on Sunday | opens at 12 noon on Mons)


Dates visited: 1 Jan 2012, 4 Jan 2012, 11 Jan 2012, 26 Dec 2012, 23 Feb 2013, 3 Jun 2013, numerous other times (I stopped counting)


Written by Tony Boey


  1. Banana cake is tasty, slightly too sweet.

  2. Went there on 20th December 2012, the 3rd generation boss is very friendly and no change in the taste since my last bite 15 years ago, in the end bought almost $70 worth of bread to share with my family and friends...really brings back the memories...

    1. hahaha Steven, that's a lot of cakes. Yes, their cakes are really hard to resist :)

  3. Visited 24 May 2013. The friendly shopkeeper told us :

    Bread is available from 12pm onwards and always sold out by 2-3pm.

    Banana cake available the whole day until sold out.

  4. Good to let your readers know that sale of bread starts at 10.30am while banana cake starts at 11.30am!

  5. Sorry it should b 11.30am onwards for bread and 12.30pm onwards for banana cake! Just visited today and was told such!

  6. Does Hiap Joo open on Monday?

  7. Does hiap joo open on sunday now??

  8. Do note that Hiap Joo closes at 5.30pm, not 6pm.

  9. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page

  10. Do you use margerine or butter


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