Johor Kaki Travels for Food

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

Monday, 4 June 2018

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.

The size of the bazaars vary from just a dozen of stalls to more than 100. They are conveniently located at where people live. It is a tradition for all communities to visit the Ramadan bazaars. For me, I enjoy bazaar hopping, visiting as many different bazaars as possible during Ramadan.

Most bazaars are in full swing by 5pm and most food sold out by 7pm.

The main purpose of Ramadan bazaars is for people to buy food for Iftar - to break fast at sunset together with their families at home. In Johor, feeding Instagram is not at the top of most people's minds, so most of the food are familiar traditional fare at affordable prices. All food sold are Halal.

Ramadan is also a time to enjoy some traditional snacks like lekor - fried fish cake from Terengganu. Ramadan bazaars are good best places to try out and enjoy a wide variety of traditional Malay dishes. It's a feast for all our senses - see the colours, smell the sizzle, hear the buzz, taste the flavours and feel the spirit of the communities together.

I have visited many Ramadan bazaars in Johor Bahru - the following are some of the delicious but non Instagrammable food at JB Ramadan bazaars.

1. Nasi Kukus

I bought nasi kukus with a fried chicken thigh from this stall at Dewan Badminton in Masai for RM7. I realised that most of the time, I buy nasi kukus at Ramadan bazaars as I enjoy the aromatic steamed rice and the flavoursome freshly fried mildly spiced chicken. Nasi Kukus is a traditional dish from Kelantan which I fell in love with when I first tried it in Kota Bahru nearly 20 years ago. Simple nasi kukus which simply means "steamed rice" has became a comfort food for me.

2. Ikan Bakar

Most Ramadan bazaars have at least one Ikan Bakar or spicy grilled fish stall like this one at Taman Suria. The favourite fish is small stingray which are laid flat on a banana leaf on sizzling black iron griddles and smothered in a thick fiery looking blanket of spicy sambal chili paste. Every stall have their own secret recipe of spicy sambal paste. The fish will be slightly charred outside but the inside will be tender and juicy.

3. Kambing Golek

Grilled, mildly spiced whole lamb are sometimes seen at the larger bazaars. This one is at Taman Suria. I love the mildly spiced tender juicy sweet meat that still has the underlying gamey taste of lamb. I also like the aroma of lamb as it is being grilled over charcoal.

4. Ayam Golek

Most of the bigger bazaars will have an ayam golek stall - chicken marinated with mild spices roasted over charcoal on rotating spits. I get excited by the sight of bellowing white plumes from the ayam golek stalls. They are like smoke signals telling where me the bazaar is as I drive around to locate them.

5. Ayam Percik

One of my favourites is ayam percik, a dish from Kelantan. It's large pieces of chicken marinated in sweet spicy sauce, skewered with bamboo and grilled over charcoal. The slightly charred chicken is served with a thick gooey sweet mildly spicy sauce.

6. Roti John

A unique dish in Singapore and Malaysia, it is a spongy soft French loaf butterflied, browned on a sizzling hot plate and folded, sandwiching a fried omelette filled with chopped onion and minced mutton. It is often eaten with thick dribbles of ketchup, chili sauce and mayonnaise. There are many variations to ingredients inside the omelette like using cheese, mushrooms, chicken, beef, sardine etc.

7. Murtabak

Murtabak is sold everywhere in Malaysia all year round and every Ramadan bazaar has at least a couple of murtabak stalls. Murtabak is made by spreading kneaded flour dough thin and wide, and then folding eggs and fried minced beef or mutton into it. The big envelope of eggs and minced beef / mutton is then fried on a sizzling flat greasy iron griddle till it is crisp and well browned outside.

8. Lekor

Lekor is a common snack in the Peninsular east coast but not as widely available in Johor on normal days. During Ramadan, most bazaars have at least one lekor stall. It is made by kneading mashed fish meat with sago flour and seasoned with salt. The stubby fish and sago "sausages" are then deep fried till lightly browned. The resulting snack is quite stiff, chewy and gives off a slight fishy taste and aroma when we chew it. It is filling and can be addictive. Eaten with chili sauce but I prefer it neat.

There is so much more to see, buy and taste at JB Ramadan bazaars. There's putu piring, putu bambu, cendol, roti jala, kacang pool, nasi Arab, nasi briyani, lemang, all kinds of satay, all kinds of kueh, all kinds of drinks, and more.

What do you like to buy at Ramadan bazaars?

The following are the few bazaars in JB that I have blogged about before.

Address: Junction of Jalan Dadik 21 & 16, Taman Puteri Wangsa, Ulu Tiram
GPS: 1.579085, 103.810553 | 1°34'44.7"N 103°48'38.0"E

Address: Jalan Suria 18, Taman Suria, Johor Bahru
GPS: 1°30'17.0"N 103°45'40.7"E | 1.504731, 103.761304 

Address: Jalan Kota Tinggi, Kawasan Perindustrian Pandan, Johor Bahru 
GPS: 1°32'03.6"N 103°47'00.2"E | 1.534324, 103.783388

Address: Jalan Kemuliaan 4, Taman Universiti, Johor Bahru
GPS: 1.529897,103.620249

Address: Junction of Jalan Skudai and Jalan Tampoi (beside Plaza Angsana)
GPS: 1.495472,103.705497

Address: Junction of Jalan Dato Jaafar and Jalan Sentosa (MOVED) 
GPS: 1.495955,103.751047

Address: Jalan Tasek 62, Bandar Seri Alam, Masai, Johor
Waze: Dewan Badminton Cleveland, Seri Alam

The links below have more details on these Ramadan bazaars:

Puteri Wangsa 👈 click for details
Taman Suria 👈 click for details
S'Mart Pandan 👈 click for details
S'Mart Pandan 👈 click for details
Taman Universiti 👈 click for details
Plaza Angsana 👈 click for details
Stadium Larkin 👈 click for details (moved)

Bazaar in Bangsar Kuala Lumpur  👈 click for details

May I take this opportunity to wish Muslim readers and your families, Ramadan Murbarak and Selamat Iftar.

Date: 4 Jun 2018

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1 comment:

  1. how is this not instragrammable? Such beautiful sights of food!


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