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

Travel, people & food storyteller with 63 million+ reads since 2012 🇸🇬 johorkaki@gmail

How to Never be Sold a Fake Mao Shan Wang Musang King MSW Durian Again 猫山王

Mao-Shan-Wang-Durian

There is no doubt that the Mao Shan Wang 猫山王 or Musang King is the most popular and also one of most prized of all durians now. (The Mao Shan Wang is named after Gua Musang town, the main fruit trading centre in Kelantan, Malaysia. The cultivar is originally from the town of Tanah Merah, also in Kelantan.)

Lunch @ Todak Seafood Restaurant in Johor Bahru. Second Visit

Todak-Seafood-Restaurant-Johor-Bahru

We went back to Todak seafood restaurant yesterday at lunch. Our intention was to pig out on the RM38 per kilo crabs we had during our previous visit. We were going to try the crabs in every cooking style - a degustation, as they say in foodie circles.

Best Singapore Food - IKYU Japanese Restaurant

Singapore-Food-IKYU-Japanese-Restaurant

Bing invited me to a preview session of IKYU Japanese Restaurant's 5-course Miyazaki Beef Promotion (which will be available from 21 Aug to 5 Sep 2013). Read more.

Poh Kee 宝记 Teochew Noodle Soup in Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru

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When people ask me what is my favourite food, mee pok doesn't come to mind. But whenever I am at a food centre, after going around a couple of times looking, more often than not, it is the mee pok stall that I settled for. When I am far from home and miss home food, it is mee pok that I think of, not char kway teow, and certainly not chili crab.

So when my friend Jeff shared on Johor Yummy group about his favourite mee pok shop in JB, I wasted no time to check it out. You can trust Jeff's word on mee pok - his brother runs the famous mee pok shop in Permas Jaya, JB.

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When I saw that customers were spilling over the side walks at 11:00am at Poh Kee 宝记, I knew this has to be something special. Somehow, popular old style noodle shops in JB look similar in the way the people gather :) 

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I approached the lady boss hesitantly and mumbled half audibly something to the effect of "老板娘 (lady boss), your food is very nice. May I take some photos of you at work?" The lady boss's spontaneous response immediately put me at ease :)

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Soon the friendly boss, Mr. Tan, joined us at our table to chat. Mr. Tan was in the logging industry in Indonesia before retiring and returning to Johor Bahru. Since returning to JB, Mr. Tan sold wanton mee for a while in Taman Pelangi and when the opportunity arose about a year ago, he moved here to start this Teochew kway teow stall.

Mr. Tan and his wife are food lovers and have been making and enjoying old style Teochew kway teow soup all these years. So, when the time came to make it a business, it was almost second nature for the Tans. Furthermore, the Tans already had a following from their wanton mee stall and friends from their logging business. Within a year, Poh Kee Teochew noodles stall became a famous name in JB.

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My friend Euginn's RM5 bowl of mee pok comes with 3 pork balls, a fish ball, a few slices of fish cake, some small prawns and a small handful of minced lean pork. There was also a small bowl of prawn and pork soup.

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My RM7.00 bowl had the same ingredients except for a larger mound of mee pok noodles.

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The broad mee pok noodles were gently crunchy, pleasingly al dente. The sauce was subtly spicy from the home made chili sauce and had savoury hints from lard and soy sauce.

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This prawn is not big but it is a wild sea prawn. Mr. Tan said that only this species of wild sea prawn can produce that distinctive prawny umami (savoury) flavour in the soup.

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To me, Poh Kee's handmade fish ball set it apart from the rest. Poh Kee's fish balls are 100% fish meat with no starch added. They are bouncy but in a nicer way than those perfectly round "ping pong" starch/fish balls.

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Mr. Tan gets up at 5:00am each business day to make these fish balls using Ikan Parang. Only a small quantity is made each day - just enough for the day's business. So, everything is fresh.

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The thin slice of fish cake. Same flavour as the fish ball but a different mouth feel.

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Each bowl comes with three pork balls. Bought from supplier so they were average, though good enough.

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The pork bone and prawn soup was savoury and the prawny umami flavour was distinct. 

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The pot of lard at Poh Kee 宝记. For some people, just a dollop of this potent liquid makes all the difference it devine :)

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Another customer's RM5 mee kia. I like Poh Kee's style of minced pork - Lau Tee another famous mee pok stall in JB has the same style of minced lean pork. Finely ground pork with little fat, blanched in the savoury prawn broth. At average stalls, the minced pork is coarser and has more fat.

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Poh Kee is another excellent Teochew noodle stall in JB worth trying.

Restaurant name: Poh Kee 宝记 Teochew Noodle Soup
Address: 75, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad/ Century, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/Uz9Qf
GPS: 1.480886,103.756985
Hours: 7:30am to 2:30pm (alternate Thursdays closed)

Address: Junction of Jalan Biru and Jalan Merah, Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru (stall inside San Low seafood restaurant) 

Map: http://goo.gl/maps/5Qb11 
GPS: 1.472161,103.774784 
Hours: 7:30am to 3:00pm

Non Halal


Date visited: 12 Aug 2013

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New Homegrown Cold Dessert Shops in Johor Bahru

Along with the fast growing food scene in Johor, many new cold dessert shops are sprouting up all over Johor Bahru. Along with the big crowd of familiar foreign franchises, there is also a small sprinkling of homegrown start ups. These new and small players are holding their own very well, and here're two that I've tried and like.

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Cremoso Gelato is the baby of Jeff who works in the financial sector. Jeff's love for gelato - that creamy, smooth and dense Italian ice cream - led him to learn the art of gelato making in Singapore. The next step was to birth his own gelato shop in City Square Mall and before long, Cremoso Gelato was such as hit that another outlet, a kiosk in KSL City Mall, was born.

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Cremoso Gelato offers 16 flavours of house made gelato with local flavours such as mango, passionfruit, and of course, the irresistible durian! 

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Cremoso's star attraction is their "Signature Creations". This is gelato ice cream "fried" with a variety of ingredients such as strawberries and crushed Oreo biscuits on a -18°C cold stone. 

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Cremoso Gelato's Signature Creations are served in crispy waffle bowls freshly baked at the shop.

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Elaine, one of the partners at Moshi Moshi Dessert and Tea shop

Moshi Moshi dessert shop is the brainchild of two young Johor couples who are passionate foodies. Their love for good food even took them to Taiwan to learn how to make traditional ice cream by hand. They were so taken by handmade ice cream that they decided to open their own dessert shop in JB.

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Handmade sesame seed ice cream with taro balls, red beans and grass jelly on sorbet

Moshi Moshi serves their hand made ice cream on an icy bed of sorbet and garnished with a choice of yam balls, grass jelly, chewy "pearls" and many others. The flavours are based on local fruits such as mango and coconut.

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Handmade taro ice cream with mangoes, jelly and "pearls" on a sorbet bed

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My favourite peanut ice crean with red beans, chewy "black pearls" and grass jelly on coconut sorbet

Only 100% real fruit is used in Moshi Moshi. Whenever we visit Moshi Moshi with friends, we always end up with two, if not three rounds of ice cream. Try it. Moshi Moshi ice cream always impresses.

The next time you are craving for a cold dessert, why not give these homegrown cold dessert brands a try?

New-Homegrown-Cold-Dessert-Shops-Johor-Bahru

Restaurant name: Cremoso Gelato/ Coffee
Address: Level 4, City Square Mall, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/Ex0Mz
GPS: 1.461570,103.763519
Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm

Parking: Paid parking in City Square mall
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert


New-Homegrown-Cold-Dessert-Shops-Johor-Bahru

Restaurant name: Moshi Moshi Dessert and Tea
Address: 19, Jalan Mutiara Emas 10/19, Taman Mount Austin, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/qIHvc
GPS: 1.551693,103.785181
Hours: 11:30am to 11:30pm

Parking: Free parking at shop front
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert

Asam Pedas Mak Pon in Parit Jawa, Muar, Johor

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Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jawa-Muar-Johor

I've heard a lot about the famous Asam Pedas Mak Pon in Muar and was delighted when Tourism Malaysia Johor brought us there as part of the Johor Food Trail 2013 edition.

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The stall is run by Mak Pon (who else? :P) and her daughter.

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Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jawa-Muar-Johor

Asam Pedas Mak Pon is always packed, especially during weekends and public holidays.

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The sight of those large Ikan Merah (Red Snapper fish) heads and aroma of asam pedas sent my salivary glands into overdrive straightaway. 

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Local sea catfish or Ikan Mayong - something which I want to come back for. Missed this, this time round as Tourism Malaysia was doing the ordering and they didn't pick this :P

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The hot selling Ikan Kembung.

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Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jaw-Muar-Johor

The fish were large, thick and super fresh. The heads were huge with generous amounts of meat.

The traditional soupy asam pedas gravy was a blend of tangy, savoury and spicy - in that order. Personally, I prefer asam pedas that is spicy, tangy, savoury (the way they do it in Batu Pahat).

Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jawa-Muar-Johor

To me the main attraction of Asam Pedas Mak Pon and the other asam pedas stalls in this food centre in Parit Jawa is their fresh fish.

Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jawa-Muar-Johor

Why is the fish so fresh? Well, Asam Pedas Mak Pon is definitely less than 100 foot steps from these fishing boats. So, you can imagine, the fish is literary straight from the sea to the table :)



I will be back at Parit Jawa because I like the chunky ocean fresh fish, charming fishing village ambiance and it's an easy 45 minutes drive from Muar city. I also want to try the Chinese style asam pedas warung under the trees just steps away from Medan Asam Pedas.

Asam-Pedas-Mak-Pon-Parit-Jawa-Muar-Johor

Restaurant name: Asam Pedas Mak Pon
Address: Stall no. 6, Medan Asam Pedas (off Jalan Jabbar) Parit Jawa, Muar, Johor (south of Muar city)
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/Jmg4D
GPS: 1.950661,102.635049
Hours: 8:00am to 4:30pm (Fridays off)
Halal

Date visited: 25 Jun 2013

Agneey's Cuisine Indian Restaurant in Tampoi, Johor Bahru

Agneey's-Cuisine-Indian-Restaurant-Tampoi-Johor-Bahru

My friend Jo-Hann introduced me to Agneey's Cuisine Indian Restaurant - he has been eating here since his childhood. Actually, Agneey's Cuisine is an old name in Johor Bahru that needs no introduction for the Indian community here.

You Char Kway Streetside Stall in Pemas Jaya, Johor Bahru

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My friend Ian introduced me to his favourite you char kway 油炸粿 stall which he visits at least once a week.

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This street side stall is located at the alley way beside the well known Sin Yong yong tau foo shop. Diagonally across the road (Jalan Permas 10) is the 7-11 shop.

This humble but very popular stall is run by Mr. Liew and his young son and daughter. The small 3-man team runs like Swiss clockwork serving a constant stream of customers from all walks of life. From workers on their bikes to well heeled customers emerging from luxury sedans.

The Liew family team got their work process neatly worked out :)

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You-Char-Kway-Johor-Bahru

Mr. Liew, the boss, prepares the dough. When Mr. Liew kneads and tosses it, his dough looks soft like small pillows.

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Liew junior fries the dough under dad's watchful eye.

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Junior Liew may be young but you could see from these you char kway that he has got good technique :)

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Customer's bagful of hot and fresh you char kway ready to go :)

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Ms. Liew mostly handles the sales but will sometimes take over the frying to give her little brother a break.

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The Liew family moved from Raub in Pahang and have been running this street side stall for 5 years.

I asked Mr. Liew what made him bring his family from Raub to Johor Bahru? "求生存 Seeking for survival" he replied in an instant.

Through sheer hard work, providing good food at a reasonable price, Mr. Liew's you char kway stall is now well established in Permas Jaya.

Mr. Liew's fried goodies have good mouth feel and are not overly greasy. The goodies are always fresh because they are made on the spot and the turnover is very high. In fact, customers are usually waiting to get the goodies straight and hot from the wok. Mr. Liew sells his food at 80 sens per piece.

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Liew junior striking a confident pose, frying the tau sar 豆沙 balls.

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Mr. Liew's hottest seller - tau sar ball with black sesame seeds.

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Master Liew frying the peanut balls.

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The peanut ball with white sesame seeds is loaded with a generous amount of crunchy crushed peanut filling. My personal favourite :)

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You-Char-Kway-Johor-Bahru

The ham cheem peng 咸煎餅 - see how airy and puffy the bread is?

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Mr. Liew's very popular donuts.

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You-Char-Kway-Johor-Bahru

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Some of the other fried goodies from Mr. Liew that you may wish to try.

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Mr. Liew uses bottled vegetable oil to fry his food.

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Liew's stall is across the road from the 7-11 shop

Restaurant name: Liew Kee you char kway (street side stall)
Address: 21, Jalan Permas 10, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, Johor Bahru (next to Sin Yong yong tau foo shop)
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/eoixO
GPS: 1.497145,103.815345
Hours: 3:00pm to 7:00pm (Sunday off)
No pork, no lard, no Halal cert

Date visited: 3 Aug 2013