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Breakfast @ Gelang Patah Usop Nasi Kerabu Kampung Ulu Pulai

We were on our way to Pontian from Singapore via Tuas checkpoint. As we got up and going before dawn, we needed a place for breakfast that opens early, serves delicious food and good kopi / teh. This was our first time trying Usop Nasi Kerabu.

Usop Nasi Kerubu in Kampung Ulu Pulai, Gelang Patah is easy to locate and about 20 minutes drive after clearing immigration - just follow your GPS. 

It's a nice hyperlocal eating spot. I usually seek out unique hyperlocal experiences than generic global franchises.

The morning sun rays shine directly into the restaurant, so find a shady spot inside if you prefer cooler temperatures. 


We were the only tourists there that morning (which is a good sign 🤭 ). To order, just join the queue at the cashier, pick your choice of food and drink, pay, collect your buzzer, wait and collect your food at the counter when the buzzer is activated. Simple.

The menu is basically nasi kerabu which consists of nasi biru (blue rice), kuah tumis (spiced sauce), kelapa goreng (coconut & fish floss), solok lada (chili pepper stuffed with fish paste), salted egg, shredded vegetables and different choice of sides such as grilled chicken, fried chicken and grilled beef. Price per serving range from RM8 to RM16 depending on the sides chosen.

Nasi Kerubu originates in Kelantan and Terengganu, and is also found in southern Thailand.

Usop Nasi Kerubu restaurant also has nasi lemak, laksam, nasi berlauk, nasi dagang, etc., but I didn't try them this round.

The food is precooked and served at ambient temperature which is customary for nasi kerabu.

I tried a bit of everything since we ordered different combinations to share.

The rice tinted with butterfly pea flower was tossed with shredded cabbage, long beans, daun kasum, ikan kembong / cencaru fish floss with serundeng, herbs, spices, lime, kuah tumis, sambal, etc. Each mouthful of rice was rich, complexly flavourful and aromatic in the way nasi kerabu is famous for. I like it.

Nasi kerabu is a rather complicated and tedious, time consuming dish to prepare at home (it has so many components), so shops like Usop Nasi Kerabu are a blessing for us who like the dish.

Ayam bakar or grilled chicken.

Such a thick chunk of breast meat - truth be told, I didn't have high expectations, thinking that it would be fibrous and bland.

But no, this was tender and flavourful. The seasoning outside was sweet savoury smokey while the white flesh inside was tender and sweet. Yes, grilled chicken is the right order for me here.

In the feeding frenzy, I forgot to try the fried chicken 😅

The dading or beef, despite being rather fibrous and dry like jerky, was quite flavourful. Tastes savoury beefy, I like it.

Solok Lada or chili pepper stuffed with a paste of minced cooked fish (kembong / cencaru), grated coconut, aromatics and cooked by simmering in water and coconut milk.

Salted egg adds quite robust saltiness from the white and umami from the yolk into the already flavourful nasi kerabu.

Hmmmm... They didn't give any customary keropok today 🤔 (I found out later that keropok is sold separately.)

I didn't take any pictures but they have the whole range of the usual drinks from kopi to teh, Milo and juices. My kopi C kosong was rather diluted. Anyway, my favourite kopi on this sector is in Pontian which was our next stop, 30 minutes away.
I'll be back. This is a relaxing, hyperlocal place for breakfast and good for enjoying local culture and traditional comfort food.

Restaurant name: Usop Nasi Kerabu

Address: Kampung Ulu Pulai, 81550 Gelang Patah, Johor, Malaysia

Tel: +6013 771 1733

Hours: 7am - 2pm (Mon off)

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Written by Tony Boey on 12 Nov 2023

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  1. I only discovered Nasi Kerabu in recent years and quickly became a fan of it. The ingredients are interesting and it gets tastier every mouthful. If I may describe, the flavours blend in harmony. The spiciness of the sambal, sweetness of the kerisik and ohhhh, the salted egg 😋😋😋

  2. Raw vege is not my favourite but I've learned to like them somewhat. Lots of different texture, lots of flavours. Truly a unique dish of the East Coast ✨️


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