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

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Tanjung Pinang Dragon Boat Race. Sembahyang Keselamatan Pelantar Laut


Tanjung Pinang has two annual dragon boat races - an international race organised by government bodies and another one, a lesser known century old inter-kampung (village) race organised by local communities. This post is about the traditional local inter-village race which I had the privilege to visit recently.

Putri Minang Nasi Padang in Tanjung Pinang @ Jalan Bakar Batu

One of the must do things when visiting Indonesia is to eat at a Nasi Padang stall or shop. It is boiled white rice eaten with dozens of side dishes of fried meat, fish, seafood, rendang, vegetables, sauces, curries, and sambals. So far, we have eaten at 5 or 6 Nasi Padang shops in Tanjung Pinang, and the one I would recommend is Putri Minang.

Da Bao'en Temple of Great Gratitude & Porcelain Tower of Nanjing 報恩寺.琉璃塔

Nanjing Must See. Da Bao'en Temple & Porcelain Tower of Nanjing 報恩寺.琉璃塔

One of the most memorable highlights from my visit to Nanjing in Jiangsu, China was Da Bao'en Temple 報恩寺 and the legendary Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing 琉璃塔. Well, not really - these are 2015 reincarnations of the originals which were sadly destroyed in 1856 during the Taiping Revolution.

Hong Kong Style Kitchen @ Toa Payoh Lor 4 Market & Hawker Centre Singapore 港式小炒


We enjoyed a nice and simple lunch at Hong Kong Style Kitchen 港式小炒 in Toa Payoh Lorong 4 market and hawker centre. It's a good go-to place for reasonably priced and tasty homely HK style dishes when no one wants to cook at home 😄

Ah Tan Wings Har Cheong Gai Chicken Wings @ Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Ah Tan Wings Har Cheong Gai Chicken Wings @ Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Ah Tan Har Cheong Gai Crispy Chicken Wings is extremely popular in Singapore. I stumbled upon the stall at Yishun Park Hawker Centre, a couple of days ago. Having heard so much about the famous crispy chicken wings, naturally we ordered some to try.

Kun Shu (Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia) HK Dim Sum @ Toa Payoh Vista Market 根叔 (美食世家)

Kun Shu Food Stall (Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia) @ Toa Payoh Vista Market 根叔 (美食世家)

Followed Uncle Bob this morning for brunch at Kun Shu Food Stall at Toa Payoh Vista Market in Singapore. Kun Shu Food Stall is the place where foodies in the know get restaurant standard, authentic Hong Kong dim sum by a veteran HK chef at a hawker centre. (Kun Shu Food Stall is also known as Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia.)

Pak Kong Chicken Rice in Ipoh 怡保白宫鸡饭

Pak Kong Chicken Rice in Ipoh 怡保白宫鸡饭

One of the main things I wanted to score for this trip to Ipoh was a good chicken rice as Ipoh has the best reputation for chicken rice in Malaysia. Pak Kong Chicken Rice 白宫鸡饭 was recommended to me by Barry the owner of Mama Noodles Cafe (where I just had breakfast).

Eating Jalebi in Kuala Lumpur - A Happy Sweet Treat from Ancient Middle East

Exploring the gritty, dusty streets of Kuala Lumpur around Pudu Raya, I frequently stumbled upon stacks of attractive golden honey glazed biscuits like these outside eateries and sundry shops. The shopkeepers told me that they are "jalebi", a sweet snack from India. Jalebi is ubiquitous in KL now but I remember seeing it only a couple of times in Singapore's Little India at Serangoon Road.

Best Singapore Roast Meat List. Mei Mei Roast Duck 妹妹李记烧腊

Best Singapore Roast Meat List. Mei Mei Roast Duck 妹妹李记烧腊

It happens... you know, after trying a few stalls we found nothing very inspiring while stomach space hit ¾ full. We needed something to save the day. While nursing his kopi O siew tai pok, Seetoh suggested swinging over to Ubi Road 1, to Kay Lee Roast Meat's former roast chef's kopitiam stall. (Kay Lee Roast Meat was the legendary roasts shop sold to Aztech Group for S$4 million in 2014 - every Singapore foodie knows this story.)

Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant in Singapore Chinatown 老成都川菜馆

We were in Singapore's Chinatown for a preview of Chinatown Crossings, a memorable promenade theatre performance which I will write about soon 😄 Before the 2.5 hour show which involves walking the streets of Chinatown, eat first lah.... 😄 We popped into Old Chengdu Sichuan Cuisine Restaurant 老成都川菜馆 at Pagoda Street. Having tried it in China, I have always been curious about Sichuan food in Singapore, so this was an opportune time to try it.

Johor Bahru is World Top 4 Food Destination according to Research

Johor Bahru is World Top 4 Food Destination according to Research

Just like unfancied Iceland is rocking the world of soccer now, unheralded Johor Bahru food is finally recognised on the culinary world stage.

Johor Bahru is ranked 4th in the world (congratulations to Ipoh, Kaohsiung, and Nagoya in the top 3) as the best place in the world to visit for local food, according to survey of over 56,000 global travelers (probably the largest such study ever done). The results are based on global traveler surveys so they differ from lists published by media, which are chosen by reporters or editors. It is also not a commissioned article sponsored by tourism authorities.

Kuala Lumpur Nam Heong Chicken Rice in Chinatown @ Jalan Sultan 南香鸡饭

I have been hesitating about whether to write this post. Nam Heong Chicken Rice founded in 1938 is to KL what the original Swee Kee is to Singapore chicken rice. By most accounts, today's Nam Heong Chicken Rice is but a pale shadow of its heydays but I have to have a record of my own impressions of such an iconic and historically important part of Malaysian food history.

Mama Noodle Cafe Ipoh 怡保 | 老妈子秘制米浆老鼠粉

Mama Noodle Cafe Ipoh 怡保 | 老妈子秘制米浆老鼠粉

When I exited the North South Expressway at Ipoh, the first thing I did was to pull over at the first row of shophouses to ask for good food tips. Local folks were helpful and friendly as always. I asked for their favourite kai si hor fun (chicken noodles was my first target) and the gentleman punched in "Moon De Moon" in my Waze App.

Waze took me to Moon De Moon, but my heart sank when I saw the coffee shop closed, as it was their off day 😞

CLOSED Lim Kee Orchard Goreng Pisang Fried Banana Fritters @ Maxwell Road Food Centre


These must be the most famous fried banana fritters (pisang goreng) in the world. How many fried banana stalls can count Prime Ministers, Presidents and Royalty from several countries as their fervent fans? I only know of the legendary Lim Kee (Orchard) 林记油炸芎蕉.

Nam Heong Ipoh Soho - AI Powered Hainanese Coffee Shop


When I first read about the robots at Nam Heong Ipoh coffee shop in KL and Ipoh, I wasn't excited at all. I assumed that it's just an unimaginative, overused gimmick. Replacing humans with robots would just mean less human touch and therefore poorer service, right?

Well, that was exactly what I thought, until I met Andy Goh owner of Nam Heong Ipoh and understood from him the ground breaking concepts behind the robots. So, never judge a restaurant by its robots 😂

Disclaimer: This is just my own interpretation of my casual chit chat and jovial banter with Andy. 

Modern Chinese Cuisine @ KS Treasures in Taman Sentosa in Johor Bahru 美乐轩 Update 2019

Modern Chinese Cuisine @ KS Treasures in Taman Sentosa in Johor Bahru 美乐轩

Last night, buddy John invited me to join him at KS Treasures Restaurant in Taman Sentosa in Johor Bahru. His family are regulars here since falling in love with Chef Benson's food last year. Truth be told, there are very few Chinese restaurants that offer food of such finesse in JB.

Review of Restoran Ka Poh Ipoh Curry Hor Fun in Johor Jaya 嘉寶●怡保河粉●咖哩面

Restoran KaPoh Ipoh Curry Hor Fun in Johor Jaya 嘉寶.怡保河粉.咖哩面

I drove by Restoran KaPoh in Johor Jaya, Jalan Dedap 7, dozens of times but never knew that it is a nice little Ipoh eatery until JB foodie veterans Derrick and Kim pointed it out to us. That's the thing - many times in life, good things are right there in front of us but we just couldn't see it until someone enlightened us. Thanks Derrick and Kim.

Ipoh People's Favourite Roast Pork - Chee Kong @ First Kwong Chow 浙江烧肉

Roast -Pork-Chee-Kong-First-Kwong-Chow-浙江烧肉

Coming to Ipoh where the majority of the Chinese community here are Cantonese, tasting Ipoh's Cantonese roasts is a Must. When we asked Ipoh locals for Cantonese roasts recommendations, most folks pointed us to Chee Kong at First Kwong Chow in Taman Pertama.

Seremban Restoran Asia Laksa 亚洲茶餐室 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

For the drive down south from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, my preferred stop for food and caffeine is Seremban as it is about 50-60km away (less than an hour's drive). It lets me get clear of KL traffic before enjoying my driving break. One of my favourite stops is at Restoran Asia for their famous curry laksa - but do note that the laksa stall is closed on Weds and Thurs.

Soong Kee Beef Noodles in Old Downtown Kuala Lumpur 頌記牛肉丸粉

I was exploring the area around Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown when I stumbled upon this quiet looking shop front - this is something unusual in this part of KL where everywhere and every corner is overcrowded with people and vehicles. A man peeked curiously inside, pushed open the glass door and disappeared into the darkness behind it.

The curious cat in me stepped forward and pushed open that glass door.

Lai Foong Beef Noodles near KL Chinatown 丽丰海南牛腩面

For beef noodles, I like mine with chunky meaty cuts of beef - it's like eating a mini steak with noodles and beef stock 😄 In Kuala Lumpur, one good place to get this type of beefy noodles is Lai Foong Restaurant.

Ipoh's Nasi Ganja Legend - Yong Suan Nasi Kandar


Ipoh has a famous nasi kandar stall in Yong Suan coffee shop which is so addictive that its fans called it Nasi Ganja or rice with cannabis.

Restaurant name: Kedai Kopi Yong Suan

Address: 2, Jalan Yang Kalsom, Taman Jubilee, 30300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Tel: +60 5254 4314

Hours: 9:30am - 6:00pm (close at 5pm on Sat)

Moon De Moon Ipoh Shredded Chicken Kai Si Hor Fun 怡保鸡丝河粉


Coming to Ipoh, one of the Must Try dishes is 怡保鸡丝河粉 Ipoh Shredded Chicken Hor Fun. (Kai see hor fun in Cantonese.) During my recent trip to Ipoh, every local we asked pointed us to Moon De Moon in Kampung Simee, which is a residential district (about 10 minutes off the North South Expressway).

Rustic Old Town Nam Heong Coffee Shop in Ipoh 南香茶餐室

Rustic Old Town Nam Heong Coffee Shop in Ipoh 南香茶餐室

One of the Must Do things when visiting Ipoh is to taste their iconic white coffee. Make that doubly memorable by pairing coffee with dim sum, in the uniquely Ipoh way. One of the pioneers of Ipoh white coffee with dim sum is Nam Heong at 2, Jalan Bandar Timah. Humble Nam Heong kopitiam was the inspiration behind the global brand, Old Town White Coffee.

Kuala Lumpur Chinatown Shin Kee Beef Noodles 新九如牛肉粉

I was done for the day of food hunting in KL's Chinatown and was making my way to the Pasar Seni MRT station when I walked past Shin Kee Beef Noodles 新九如牛肉粉. I walked well past the little shop but did a double take while I waited to cross the road. Isn't that the lady boss from the side lane beef noodle stall inside KL's Chinatown?

That beef noodle stall was my first meal in KL's Chinatown, over two decades ago.

Lim Beef Mee. JB Sri Tebrau Beef Noodle Stall that Opens Weekends Only

I've heard a lot about Lim Beef Mee 老林牛腩面 in Sri Tebrau Hawker Centre but didn't have a chance to try it until last night as this stall opens on Saturday and Sunday only, and they sometimes have unscheduled off days 😂

My 8 Favourite Food at Ramadan Bazaars in Johor Bahru

The Ramadan Holy Month in 2018 started on Weds, 16 May and will continue for 30 days until Thurs, 14 June. During Ramadan, there are temporary street bazaars all over Malaysia - it is a Ramadan tradition.

One of the Best JB Char Siew. Meng Kee Hong Kong Roast in Kakilang Kopitiam 明记港式烧腊饭档

Meng Kee Hong Kong Roasts in JB Kakilang Kopitiam 明记港式烧腊饭档

I have good friends who tip me off whenever they chanced upon good food finds - Thanks Chris. Then, I have buddies like Aaron who would taunt me with late night pictures like these char siew from Meng Kee in Kakilang Kopitiam (coffee shop) whenever he is in Johor Bahru. It's a great way to motivate me 😂

Grand Buddha at Ling Shan near Wuxi in Jiangsu China 无锡靈山大佛


My 7 day trip to China's Jiangsu province was filled with so many memorable moments - one of the biggest moments was our visit to the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan 靈山大佛 in Wuxi. Standing at 88 metres, the Grand Buddha at Ling Shan is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world.

Morning to Night Kway Teow Kia Food Trail in Johor Bahru ⭐⭐⭐⭐


We were crazy enough to go on a whole day kway teow kia trail today.  Our morning till night trail of some of JB people's favourite KTK stalls covered:

👉Taman Tasek 南滨园
👉Rong Shu Xia / Ka Hoe 榕树下
👉Solid Cafeteria 祖传
👉San Lou 三楼

We ate ourselves silly, so you don't have to.