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

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

Solan De Cabra Spanish Blue Bottle · TDS 252 Staple Mineral Water

Solan De Cabras is a still mineral water with low mineral content of TDS 252 mg/l (Total Dissolved Solids).

It's an odourless, flavourless, low mineral, clear still water sought after for its health benefits for centuries.

Bario Pineapple 🍍 Manna of the Sarawak Kelabit Highlands

They say there are two things you must try in Bario, one is their rice and the second is their pineapple 🍍

Their rice is really amazing, especially wrapped in daun isip leaf, the traditional nuba laya way.

The next must try is Bario pineapple.

Nuba Laya · Kelabit Traditional Rice Cake with Bario Rice


They say go to Sarawak must eat, if not at least buy home some Bario rice. I was excited about it and tried it a few times.

But truth be told, I couldn't get the proportions of Bario rice and water right when cooking it at home with an electric rice cooker 😬

So, I was not sure what the fuss about Bario rice is, until I tried nuba laya, that is.

Nuba laya was Bario rice epiphany for me.

Farmstay Relau, Bandar Baharu, Kedah · Ideal for Families & Groups

I stayed two wonderful and restful nights at the beautiful Farmstay Relau in Bandar Baharu in Kedah.

Farmstay Relau

Address: 34950 Serdang, Kedah, Malaysia

Tel: +6012 458 0853

Miri Sarawak Fried Kway Teow · Traditional Unique Old School 传统独特古早味美里炒粿条

After a few trips to Miri Sarawak, I realised that fried kway teow is the preferred staple of most Mirians.

Idli is from China? Riddle of Achaya's Kedli 发糕

Idli is a culinary icon and staple, especially in south India. It is a white fluffy rice cake with three defining elements - it is made of rice, fermented and cooked by steaming.

Funazushi · Southeast Asian Roots of Sushi

I encountered pekasam in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia and was fascinated by the dish which in Malaysia is mainly confined to the northern Peninsula states of Perlis and Kedah i.e. the rice belt.

What is Hor Ka Sai Coffee? 虎咬狮 · 好架勢


Ellone introduced me to hor ka sai coffee at her Ah Song Hakka Mee outlet in Impian Emas, Johor Bahru.

It's a blend of Nanyang kopi (sock brewed Robusta coffee with condensed milk) with Milo (chocolate flavoured malt powder).

94 Toa Payoh Big Cockle Laksa · Yi Hao Coffee Shop

Toa Payoh block 94 laksa is the latest laksa darling in Singapore social media now.

Stall name: Toa Payoh 94 Laksa

Address: 94 Lor 4 Toa Payoh, #01-30, Singapore 310094 (stall inside Yi Hao coffee shop)

Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Braddell station

Hours: 7am - 2pm

Best Moments in Sarawak · Miri · Bario · Mulu Itinerary · Much More to Discover

Sarawak is becoming one of my favourite travel destinations because there is so much more to discover. I've been to Miri a few times since a decade ago, but everytime I return, it delights me with new discoveries 😁

Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck · Orchard Road Singapore

Kaki kaki jio-ed (invited) me to Imperial Treasures Super Peking Duck at Paragon Shopping Centre level 5.

Restaurant name: Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck

Address: 290 Orchard Road, #05 - 42 / 45, Singapore 238859 (inside Paragon Shopping Centre)

Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Orchard or Somerset station

Tel: 6732 7838

Hours: 11:30 am - 2:45 pm | 6pm - 10 pm

San Shu Gong Private Dining @ 135 Geylang · Teochew Cuisine

Aunty Judy invited me for dinner at San Shu Gong Private Dining. It's a nice evening of good Teochew cuisine and great company.

Restaurant name: San Shu Gong Private Dining 三叔公私房菜

Address: 135 Geylang Road, #01-01, Singapore 389226

Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Kallang station

Tel: 6741 0344

Hours: 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm | 6pm - 11 pm

Who Were the Cholas? Did they Leave Legacies beyond Stone Monuments?

The Chola dynasty lasted 1,500 years from 300 BC to 1279 - making it the longest lasting dynasty in history.

During this time, the Cholas achieved a lot, not only in India but also in Southeast Asia, all the way to China's doorstep.

The Cholas left some majestic monuments which remind us of their golden age but little else remains (or so it seems). I suggest that the Cholas also left edible monuments i.e. their cuisine throughout Southeast Asia. These edible artefacts could provide another window of insights into the Cholas which stone monuments didn't.

Golden Mile Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken & Wantons with Tobiko! 香港豉油鸡

Buddy Marcus enthused about a relatively new Hong Kong soya sauce chicken and wanton noodle stall at Golden Mile Food Centre.

Stall name: 香港豉油鸡 Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken

Address: 505 Beach Road, unit #B1-56, Golden Mile Food Centre, Singapore 199583 (near to the ATM machines)

Nearest MRT: Five minute walk from Lavender station 

Hours: 10am - 6pm

Origin of Kuih Karas · Keukarah · Kue Sarang Semut & Sri Lankan Aasmi · Legacy of Ancient Indian Traders

During my recent trip to Kedah, I tried kuih karas, the northern Malaysian state's food icon. Kuih karas is a tiny fan shaped biscuit, fried till golden brown. It is brittlely crispy, wiry, crunchy and tastes mainly sweet. 

The snack is mainly found in Kedah though it has spread all over the Malaysia through the centuries. Mainly known as kuih karas in Malaysia, it is also called kuih sarang semut (ant nest cake) and kuih jala (net cake).

SEORAE Korean BBQ Singapore · Good Value · Tasty Food · Great Locations


When Ben jio-ed (invited) me to catch up at Seorae at Northpoint City in Yishun, I was looking forward to the meet up as I have not seen buddy for some time. As for the venue, truth be told, I am usually not overly eager to go to no chef, own self cook places like BBQs (and steamboats), especially if they are expensive. I mean, pay so much, still got to cook ourselves meh.... ?

But, Seorae turned out to be a pleasant experience which I don't mind going back to.

Restaurant name: Seorae Korean Charcoal BBQ (Northpoint City)

Address: 930 Yishun Ave 2, B1-37 Northpoint City (North Wing, Singapore 769098

Nearest MRT: At Yishun station

Tel: 83803200

Hours: 11:30am - 10pm

Pekan Rabu Soul of Alor Setar ● Historic Wednesday Market that Opens Everyday

Coming to Alor Setar, a stop at Pekan Rabu or literally the Wednesday Market is a must. I lost count of the number of times I've been here. Pekan Rabu has a sort of sentiment heart tugging pull as it is the heart soul of the city. I said soul because heart may connote location while soul refers to spirit which is closer to what I mean to say.

Pekan Rabu Alor Setar

Address: Kompleks Pekan Rabu, Jalan Tunku Ibrahim, 05000 Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

Tel: +604 733 5929

Hours: 10am - 8pm daily

Lao Yang Cafe 老楊 Kopi 店 ● Pig Friend Dog Buddy Curry Rice 猪朋狗友咖喱饭 ● Miri Sarawak

We needed to catch some quick breakfast before getting on our flight from Miri to Singapore.

Restaurant name: Lao Yang Cafe 老楊 Kopi 店 

Address: Jalan Krokop 2, 98000 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia

Tel: +6014 991 9817

Hours: 6am - 2pm

Sing Chiong Restaurant Bekenu ● Famous Live Wild Soon Hock (Tutu Fish) & River Prawns 勲漳茶餐室

The little town of Bekenu between Miri and Niah has Sing Chiong Restaurant which is well known for their live wild Soon Hock fish and giant river prawn dishes.

Restaurant name: Sing Chiong Restaurant

Address:  Lot 214, 215 Bekenu Bazaar, Sibuti, Sarawak, Malaysia

Tel: +608 571 9196

Hours: 7am - 4pm (Weds off)

Nancy Harriss Homestay Bario Sarawak ● Twin Pioneer Aircraft Wreck & Milky Way

We spent two wonderful nights at Nancy Harris Homestay / Guesthouse (not enough 😬). We love the food, activities, facilities, environment, and people here. This is a good base for your extraordinary (literally speaking) holiday in Bario, Sarawak.

How to Take Public Bus to Changi Airport Budget Terminal T4?

Take bus 24, 27, 34, 36, 53, 110, or 858 to Changi Airport T2 basement bus stop. Take the lift to level 1 and take the T4 shuttle bus (from the bus stop located beside the T2 multi-storey carpark). The T4 shuttle bus runs round the clock. This service between T2 and T4 is complimentary (free of charge).

Step by step details.

Origins of Vietnamese Phin & Indian Drip Filter Coffee ● The French Connection


I am a big fan of Vietnamese drip filter coffee since my first taste of it in Los Angeles in the early 1990s. Yeah, many of us had our first taste of things Vietnam through its diaspora.

Fell in love with it with the first sip - the robust, deep bitter sweet taste and the sharp caffeine kick that jolted us back to life from the long flight from Singapore. It was like jump starting flat batteries.

94 Toa Payoh Prawn Noodle @ Yi Hao Coffee Shop ● Low Profile Neighbourhood Favourite

Passing by the block 94 corner coffee shop after lunch at block 92, I noticed this prawn noodle stall had a long queue. So I marked this stall down for a future visit 😁

Stall name: 94 Toa Payoh Prawn Noodle

Address: Lor 4 Toa Payoh, Block 94, Singapore 310094 (stall inside Yi Hao coffee shop)

Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from Braddell station

Hours: 7am - 2pm (Sun off)

One Night at Talula Hill Farm Resort in Kluang ● Terraces at Gunung Lambak Foothills

Spent a night at Talula Hill Farm Resort during my recent excursion in Kluang. Social media is abuzz with the newest destination in Kluang.

Talula Hill Farm Resort Kluang

Address: PTD 40612, Jalan Padang Tembak, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6019 375 5818

🌍 Corporate Website

Kedah Royal Museum · Insights into the Kedah Sultanate

One of my favourite places to visit when I am in Alor Setar is the Kedah Royal Museum housed in a former palace built in 1736 in the heart of the city.

I have a firm conviction that knowing the history of a place makes the food tastes more delicious 😋

Yum Yum Food & Beverage in Kluang ● Under the Radar Tze Char

Evonne brought us to this nondescript coffee shop which we would have passed by without noticing had she not picked this shop for our first lunch for this Kluang excursion.

Restauran name: Yum Yum Food & Beverage (formerly Restoran Xiang Hong)

Address: 50, Jalan Haji Manap Nordin, Taman Kluang Baru, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia (at intersection with Jalan Tan Kim Seck)

Tel: +6016 770 9532

Hours: 11am - 2pm | 5pm - 9pm (Fri off)

Hua Heng Kuey Teow Johor Jaya ● Famous for their Wild Caught Fish 樺興粿條湯

Was in Johor Jaya to run errands this sunny morning. (Forgot my jockey cap 🥵 ) Stumbled upon a "new" neighbourhood shop with customers spilling over to the five foot way.

Restaurant name: 樺興粿條湯 Hua Heng Kuey Teow

Address: 9, Jalan Dedap 16, Johor Jaya, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6019 795 7337

Hours: 7am - 3pm (Thurs off)

Tin Dredger TT5 Museum Tanjung Tualang Perak ● What to do in Ipoh

The historic Tanjung Tualang TT5 tin dredger is a majestic sight you should not miss when you go to Ipoh for food. I always wondered what is and what goes on inside a tin dredger, so yeah.... so glad to be able to visit this unique, fascinating museum. 

Tanjung Tualang Tin Dredge No. 5

Address: 9th KM, Jalan Tanjung Tualang, 31000 Batu Gajah, Malaysia

Tel: +6014 904 3255

Hours: 9am - 5pm (Sun closed)

Opera Food Court @ Ion Orchard ● Song Fa Kway Chap & Braised Duck

We arranged to meet for lunch at the Song Fa Kway Chap outlet at Food Opera at Ion Orchard.

Stall name: Song Fa Kway Chap

Address: 2 Orchard Turn B4-03/04 Stall, #14, S238801 (mini restaurant inside Food Opera food court in Ion Orchard)

Nearest MRT: At Orchard station (at station, exit to Ion Orchard and proceed by escalator down to basement 4)

Hours: 10am - 10pm

De A Mano Always Handmade Private Chef in Kluang Johor Malaysia

Evonne was excited to bring us to De A Mano in Kluang, a Western cuisine private chef place our mutual friend Sarah recently discovered. Sarah celebrated her birthday here and she loves the food and experience at De A Mano.

Restaurant name: De A Mano

Address: 21, Jalan Ismail, Kampung Masjid Lama, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6011 7395 4791

Hours: By appointment only ● 12 noon - 3pm | 6pm - 10pm 

Memorable Tok Panjang @ Allspice Institute ● Peranakan Culinary Extravaganza

So excited that buddy Jasmine invited me to the tok panjang at Allspice Institute located at Bukit Merah Central in Singapore. Tok panjang are grand occasions, special events for the hosts as well as guests.

Allspice Institute (culinary & hospitality school) 

Address: 162 Bukit Merah Central, #07-3545, Singapore 150162

Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Redhill station

Tel: 6377 9303

Hours: Tok panjang is by prior arrangement / appointment only

Mama Jac's Nyonya Kitchen Private Chef 📞 9456 8298 to Book

Gilbert organised and jio-ed me to join the gang at Mama Jac's Kitchenette. I found out later that Mama Jac is booked solid for the rest of this year (2023), and this was Gilbert and Cass' sixth time here 😯 This was Lily's fourth time. So, I am in the company of Mama Jac's hardcore fans. This was my first time and thanks Gilbert for squeezing me in 😅

Mama Jac's Kitchenette private chef is by appointment only 📞 9456 8298 to book.

MTR Vegetarian South Indian Restaurant in Singapore ● Mavalli Tiffin Rooms

Buddies brought me to MTR Vegetarian when I said I wanted to learn more about South Indian cuisine. MTR is a great place to start on my South Indian journey. Grateful for buddies who always support my learning journey 🙏 Thank you!

Restautant name: MTR Singapore

Address: 440 Serangoon Road, Singapore 218134

Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk Farrer Park station

Tel: 6296 5800

Hours: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm | 5:30pm - 10:00 pm (Mon off)

Nanjing Impressions @ Plaza Singapura Orchard Road ● Salted Duck & Lion Head My Favourites

Wanted to try Nanjing Impressions @ Plaza Singapura and we were finally here 🕺

Restaurant name: Nanjing Impressions

Address: 68 Orchard Rd, #04-46, Singapore 238839 (restaurant inside Plaza Singapura)

Nearest MRT: At Dhoby Ghaut station

Tel: 6352 7877

Hours 11:00am - 3:00pm | 5:00pm - 9:30pm (no afternoon break on Sat & Sun)

Okinawa Food KK Kitchen Japanese Cuisine @ 92 Toa Payoh

After enjoying Okinawa cuisine at Shinn Sato at Orchard Plaza recently, I was excited to hear that there is a coffee shop stall in Toa Payoh serving Okinawa dishes.

Stall name: K. K. Kitchen

Address: BLK 92 Lor 4 Toa Payoh, #01-264, Singapore 310092 (food stall inside Ocean 92 coffee shop)

Nearest MRT: 10 minutes walk from Braddell station

Tel: 9679 2503

Hours:10:30 am - 3 pm | 4:30pm - 8 pm (Tues off)

Bak Kut Teh a Poor Coolies' Breakfast? Maybe Not

A report on "Comparison of Coolie Workers' Wages in the Past and the Present" in "Nanyang Siang Pau" on January 8, 1934.

This 1934 report is the earliest known document mentioning the "bak kut teh" dish.

Paloh Mee Sua @ Lai Wang Coffee Shop ● Feel the Kick with Every Mouthful 来旺茶餐室

During our trip to Kluang, Evonne brought us to her primary school teacher Mrs Khoo's regular hangout in Paloh for her favourite red rice wine mee sua. 

Restaurant name: Lai Wang Kopitiam 来旺茶餐室

Address: 37 Jalan Abu Bakar, Kampung Muhibbah, Paloh, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6019 743 1668

Hours: 7:00am - 2:00pm (Thurs off)

Chola Indian Roots of Southeast Asian Cuisine

The Chola dynasty ruled south India for over 1,500 years from 300BC to 1279. The Cholas is one of the longest ruling dynasties in human history. During its heyday, the Chola empire was an economic, political and cultural powerhouse in South India and Southeast Asia.

Mekong River & Singapore River ● Different but Same

Singapore River and Mekong River cannot be any more different. One is nearly 5,000 km long (4,909km to be exact), the other is..... 3km or 3.2km to be exact. One runs through six countries - China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The other runs its entire course in the tiny island state of Singapore, itself only 729 sq km in total in land area.

Little Myanmar @ Peninsula Plaza near City Hall MRT ● Home Away from Home

Always knew there is a Little Myanmar in Peninsula Plaza but never stopped to take a real close look until now. Over the past one year, I am delighted to discover that Little Myanmar is a wonderful enclave with so much to see, eat and learn. It's a little gem of authentic Myanmar in Singapore.

Little Myanmar / Burma

Address: 111 North Bridge Road, Singapore 179098 (Peninsula Plaza)

Nearest MRT: At City Hall station (use exit D)

History of Lahpet ● Myanmar Pickled Fermented Tea Leaf ● Unique Myanmese Tea Culture


Recently, I tried Myanmese pickled fermented tea leaf. The olive greenish colour fermented tea leaves were soaked in oil and blended with bits of raw garlic and chili pepper. The fermented tea leaves were soft, very gently chewy and moist, wrapped in oil. It tasted somewhat unfamiliar at first. It has a certain subtle smell (like pickled bamboo shoot), slightly tannic in the mouth and tasted bitter with a bit of spicy heat from garlic and chili. (There are non spicy versions too.)

Now I am hooked. 

History of Vietnam Rice Paper Spring Roll

Besides pho and banh mi, another iconic Vietnamese dish is 
gỏi cuốn or Vietnam spring roll. Okay, there is also Vietnamese coffee 😄

Gỏi cuốn is literally "salad roll" but is conventionally called "spring roll".

Food as Living Edible Monument ● Stories of People & Kingdoms through their Cuisine

Monuments are usually made of stone or metal. Unlike artefacts made of wood or leather which can be burned to ashes by enemies, drowned by floods, swallowed by forests, or simply reduced to dust by time, stone and metal can withstand the passage of many seasons.

Mohinga @ Ye Yint Cafe in Peninsula Plaza Little Myanmar

Roaming around Little Myanmar in Peninsula Plaza, we got a little famished and decided to stop for a quick, light snack. Stumbled upon little Ye Yint Cafe which looked well patronised by Myanmese (though it was well past the lunch peak).

Restaurant name: Ye Yint Cafe

Address: #03-36, 111 North Bridge Road, Singapore 179098 (shop inside Peninsula Plaza)

Nearest MRT: 5 minutes walk from City Hall MRT station

Tel: 63392420

Hours: 10:30am - 9:00pm

Origin of Cambodian Fish Amok Trei ● Thai Hor Mok ● Lao Mok Pa ● Malay Otak Otak

Cambodians consider amok trei their national dish, Thais believe that hor mok was created in their Royal kitchen, Laos have their mok pa while the Malay archipelago has a similar dish called otak otak or "brain". So where did this dish come from and what is the relationship between Cambodian amok trei, Thai hor mok, Lao mok pa and Malay / Indonesian otak otak?

History of Vietnamese Coffee ● Tastes Better with Arabica

Coffee culture is a relatively recent phenomenon in Vietnam being brought here by the French only in the 1850s. But, today Vietnam is the world's second largest coffee bean exporter and have their own distinctive style of coffee.

Tong Sheng Cheese Bee Hoon Malacca vs Old World Singapore 东升园 vs 老世界

The first time I tried cheese bee hoon was at the Old World stalls in Singapore - first at their Hougang outlet, then again at their Yishun outlet. It was mind blowing as Old World overload the dish with umami and wok hei as a badge of honour.

Restaurant name: Restoran Tong Sheng

Address: 377 & 378, Jalan Melaka Raya 6, Taman Melaka Raya, Malacca, Malaysia

Tel: +6016 776 7811

Hours: 11:30 am - 2:00 pm | 5:30pm - 10 pm (Mon off)