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

Adventurous Culinary Traveler's Blog with 64 million+ reads 📧 johorkaki@gmail.com

Oldest Known Curry Laksa Recipes • 160 Years Old From Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

Meta AI images of curry laksa from the East Indies Cookbook 1866
These three curry laksa recipes are found in Oost-Indisch Kookboek (East Indies Cookbook) which was published in Dutch in 1866 in the city of Semarang, Java.

Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee @ Whampoa 新加坡炒福建虾面


After trying the famous fried Hokkien mee by Bao Er in Balestier Plaza, buddy suggested swinging over to Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee around the corner in Whampoa market.

The queue was long and constant at 5pm.

Edmond Halal Chicken Rice @ Tanglin Halt Food Centre

After our heavy nasi campur brunch, buddy Mark suggested swinging by Tanglin Halt for Edmond Chicken Rice.

Truth be told, we were not jumping at the idea despite Mark's enthusiasm.

Already, we struggled to finish the nasi campur dishes even though everything was so delicious.

Beautiful Murals • Amazing Street Art of Kuching Sarawak

Grilled cuttlefish hawker at Kai Joo Street in Kuching by Leonard Siaw. 

I came to Kuching looking for food adventures (which we found plenty 😁🙏 ), and I also discovered Kuching's amazing street art.

Lan Roti Canai @ Restoran Lido Johor Jaya Dedap 18 丽都咖啡餐室


I must have passed by here many or least a few times before. Restoran Lido, the old school type of Malayan kopitiam where all communities come to relak one corner.

Pin Wan Wan Mini Bowl @ KSL City Mall Johor Bahru 拼碗碗 小碗菜


I was in the good hands of JB makan kaki kaki. After our third coffee 😂 they brought me to KSL City Mall for lunch at Pin Wan Wan Mini Bowl.

Shima's Kitchen Homestyle Malay Delight Nasi Campur @ Holland Drive Hawker Centre


Had always wanted to try Shima's Kitchen Malay nasi campur stall at Holland Drive Hawker Centre. It always has a long queue, especially during lunch time. 

Jin Duo Duo Ice Pork in Mount Austin Johor Bahru 金多多冰镇咕咾肉

I was in the good hands of buddy KK but was a little sceptical when the staff served us a tub with ku lou yok (sweet and sour pork) buried in a mound of ice 🙄

I mean I had this famous gimmicky dish at least two times before but I still couldn't get what is the point of ku lou yok in ice. 

Hock Heng Fish Soup @ Upper Boon Keng Hawker Centre Residents' Favourite 福興鱼汤


Suddenly stranded at Upper Boon Heng Hawker Centre today, I quickly scouted for lunch before the office crowd descended 😬 Hock Heng fish soup had the longest queue of residents, so yeah... I quickly got in line. 

Suqian Hometown of Emperor Xiang Yu 宿迁项王故里

Warrior emperor Xiang Yu 项羽 is one of the most enigmatic, fascinating personalities in Chinese history. I often wondered what to make of him and was excited that we were going to visit Suqian, Xiang Yu's hometown 项王故里 during our 7 day visit of Jiangsu.

Xiang Yu's life is the subject of operas, TV serials and movies

In Jiangsu Must Eat Nanjing Salted Duck 南京盐水鸭

When you are in China's Jiangsu province, especially in its capital city Nanjing, you will see pale looking ducks hanging in restaurant windows on every street (okay... but only a slight exaggeration 🤭). 

Toddy Coconut Wine @ Nesa Relax Cafe in Kangkar Pulai Johor


Today, we found a new place in Johor to drink toddy - at Nesa Relax Cafe in Kangkar Pulai.

So far in Johor, our regular toddy place is in downtown JB

Jin Ling Xiao Cheng Town Takes You Back 2000 Years to the Six Dynasties Era 金陵小镇

After dinner at Confucius Temple in Nanjing, we drove to Jin Ling Town nearby at Niu Shou Mountain. The beauty of Jin Ling Town was stunning - we could see its glowing lights from a distance as our bus approached the attraction. 

Note: We were here on a starless night. The photos are straight out of the handphone camera unedited. 


Hai Yuan Hainanese Coffee Shop White Bee Hoon in Skudai • 100 Year Old Local Hangout 海源

Buddy Ellone has been raving about Hai Yuan 海源 coffee shop in Skudai which made me really curious to try it. Finally made it here today.

Taizhou Morning Tea Breakfast & Skin Wrap Water Culture 泰州早茶 早上皮包水


When you come to Jiangsu, you will hear locals tell you to enjoy your visit by 早上皮包水, 下午水包皮 Skin wrap water in the morning, water wrap skin in the evening 🤔 

eh?!

Jiangsu 7 Days 6 Cities Itinerary • Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Taizhou, Suqian, Yancheng, Huaian 2024

I just came back from an amazing seven days, six cities tour of Jiangsu province in eastern China. We enjoyed so much kindness from people, history, culture, and great food, that it will take me a few months to write up everything in this blog.

For now, here is a brief summary and itinerary of those wonderful, whirlwind seven days. Follow me for detailed articles on Jiangsu food and places in the future. 

Is it Safe to Eat Puffer Fish in China?

During my first trip to Shanghai and Zhejiang province over two decades ago, one thing that struck me was the popularity of puffer fish. I saw them swimming in restaurant fish tanks and ate a couple of times when it was served during meals.

It was delicious. 

Jinshan Temple of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu • History & Legends 镇江金山风景区

Jinshan Temple is located on one of the "京口三山 Three Mountains of Jingkou", at the northwest of Zhenjiang city in China's Jiangsu province.

Dona Bakehouse Cafe @ Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Johor Bahru


Second makan stop today was Dona Bakehouse which was right next door to Hiap Joo banana cake and across Jalan Tan Hiok Nee from Kin Hua coffee shop.

Pasar Kia Chwee Kueh @ Kin Hua Kopitiam 巴剎仔潮州水粿


First stop across the Causeway today, Kin Wah coffee shop at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee for a quick caffeine fix. 

She bought a pack of six pieces of chwee kueh. My first reaction was, "Alamak, it's all carbs. This is our first stop. We cannot afford to squander tummy space like this leh.... 🤔 ".

I was also not excited that the chwee kueh was packed in throwaway plastic box.

At-Sunrice Academy WellSpent Sunday Luxe • Spanish Tapas Sunday with Chef Martinez & Chef Argany

At-Sunrice_Academy_WellSpent_Sunday_Luxe

Attended a very interesting and delicious Spanish Tapas Sunday with Chef Martinez & Chef Argany. The session was part of the WellSpent Sunday Luxe Series organised by the Spanish Embassy in Singapore and hosted @ At-Sunrice Academy (conveniently at Tai Seng MRT).

Happy Crab Geylang 蟹开心

You know, to me eating river prawn is a lot about the creamy head butter. Eating crab is the same. It's all about that terribly sinful 蟹膏 or tomalley and roe.

Kwong Satay Geylang • Hainanese Pork Belly Skewers 光五花肉沙爹


If you love satay, do check out Kwong Satay in Geylang. They make their own satay in their own production facility in Bukit Batok but everything is in their own style - satay, ketupat (rice cake) and all else. Kwong supply raw satay wholesale and retail, and serves it at their own satay stall in Lor 27A Geylang. 

GIANT Kitchen Indian Restaurant & Caterers in Nusa Bestari


Long ago, I recommended GIANT Caterers' restaurant when it was co-located with their catering kitchen in Plentong, Pasir Gudang. Now, GIANT has two full fledged restaurants, one in Tampoi and another in Nusa Bestari. 

Delicious food at good prices, that hasn't changed since I first tried GIANT in 2013 (more than 10 years ago 😮 ).

In case you are wondering, GIANT Caterers is totally unrelated to GIANT Supermarket.

Kam's Roast Express @ Ion Food Opera Orchard Road Singapore 甘牌燒味

Passed Kam's Roast at Food Opera food court in Ion Orchard. Always wanted to try Kam's Roast in Hong Kong but haven't got a chance to go there in the last two decades 🥹

La La Clam Soup Noodle @ Original Lai Foong Coffee Shop near KL Chinatown 丽丰啦啦米粉


The famous la la bee hoon at Lai Foong coffee shop near KL Chinatown was a social media sensation a few years ago. I finally tried it today after the hype long subsided - I generally don't rush in but wait for the dust to settle 😅 In the meantime, the humble la la noodle stall got listed in KL's Michelin guide and spawned a couple of full size restaurants.

Xijindu Ferry Ancient Street Night Tour, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu • 1000 Metres Walk, 2000 Years History 夜游镇江西津渡古街

After our sumptuous, scrumptious Huaiyang cuisine dinner at Zhenjiang Restaurant, we took a leisurely walk at the historic Xijindu Ancient Street 西津渡古街.

It's a fascinating short 1,000 metres walk but we experienced an amazing 2,000 years of China's long history.

Dan Ji Dumpling @ Pudu, Kuala Lumpur • Simple, Humble, Well Loved Local Favourite 丹记水饺面 • 半山芭


We were on our way to another food stall, finding our way in the sweltering heat and traffic grime of gritty Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.

Hing Kee Bukuteh Kepong @ Metro Prima MRT Station, Kuala Lumpur 兴记肉骨茶甲洞大街 (总行)


Our Grab driver hailed from Kepong and shared that he is a fan of Hing Kee Bukuteh there. Kepong used to be one of my old haunts too over two decades ago, long before the days of blogs. We had good bak kut teh back then in Kepong too, so I was curious to check out our driver's suggestion. I also wanted to see how is Kepong today.

Mon Chinese Muslim Beef Roti @ Bukit Bintang • Chicken Version is Nice too


Heard a lot about Mon Chinese Beef Roti at Bukit Bintang before my KL trip, so swung by for a try.

History of Yang Zhou Fried Rice • World's Most Famous Chinese Rice Dish 扬州炒饭的历史

Frying rice in China goes at least as far back as the Sui dynasty (581 - 618). Most cities in the rice culture (southern) region of China have their own version of fried rice dish - China is a fried rice paradise, literally. 

How did Yangzhou fried rice become China's and the world's most famous fried rice dish? 

Yue Jiang Chun Restaurant • Huaiyang Cuisine near Jinshan Temple in Zhenjiang 镇江 • 悦江春 • 淮扬菜

Day 2 in Zhenjiang city in Jiangsu, China. After visiting the vinegar culture museum of China and Jinshan Temple, I was looking forward to the Huaiyang cuisine lunch at Yue Jiang Chun 悦江春 at the foot of Jinshan. 

Last night's sumptuous dinner and lots of walking whetted my appetite 🤭

Zhenjiang Wok Cover Noodle 镇江锅盖面


When you come to the historic city of Zhenjiang in Jiangsu (15 minutes by high speed rail from Nanjing), you will see the humble wok cover noodle 锅盖面 served everywhere in street side stalls, small eateries, restaurants, and also hotels. It is a staple and unique food icon of Zhenjiang. 

锅盖面 is pronounced "ku keh mie" in Zhenjiang dialect.

Zhenjiang Restaurant @ Xijindu Ancient Street 镇江菜馆 (西津渡店)

Zhenjiang_Restaurant_Xijindu_Ancient Street_镇江菜馆_西津渡店

The moment we arrived at Nanjing Airport, we were whisked by chartered bus to Zhenjiang. Our flight departure from Singapore was delayed around 2 hours and immigration & customs clearance at Nanjing took around an hour. 

Curious Origin of Kueh Pie Tee or Top Hat

History_Origin_Kueh_Pie_Tee_Top_Hat

I love kueh pie tee which is a common dish in Nyonya restaurants and homes. But, I always thought it a bit odd as the crispy cup or top hat as it is sometimes called doesn't seemed to be an Asian or Southeast Asian thing. The fillings are similar to Hokkien popiah and the sambal is clearly from the Malay archipelago. But, where did the crispy cup come from?

I have been wondering how kueh pie tee became a quintessentially Nyonya dish. 🤔

Coffee & Toast @ Yong Peng • Maxims Snack Shoppe 大胡子面包小食

We pulled over at Yong Peng town on the way to Malacca. Haven't eaten anything nor had any caffeine since we woke up and left Singapore. I suggested we pull over at 大胡子面包小食 - I've been here a few years ago, liked it and wanted to come back to try more things before writing about it.

Nanjing Chef Queen Xiao Chu Niang Huaiyang Restaurant • Tasty Introduction to China's State Banquet Cuisine of Choice 小厨娘淮扬菜 机场宾馆店

Huaiyang along with Yue (Guangdong), Sichuan, and Shandong are considered the top four cuisines of China. Huaiyang cuisine is the Chinese government's preferred choice when hosting foreign dignitaries at state banquets.

Jia He Grand Chinese Restaurant • Traditional & Innovative Dim Sum & Dishes for the Family 家和

I've been to Jia He Chinese Restaurant twice so far and enjoyed myself with their dim sum and signature dishes. It's one of the restaurants in Singapore that come to my mind when asked where to go eat dim sum in Singapore.

History & Origin of Tempura 天ぷら • Japanese Changed a Portuguese Dish to their Taste


Most of us have tasted tempura, the iconic Japanese fried vegetable, fish, and seafood dish. Many of us like it but some of us may be surprised that the Japanese learned to prepare this dish from the Europeans, Portuguese specifically.

And, it was fairly recently in historical terms. 

Just some 500+ years ago. 

Poh Cheu Soon Kueh & Ang Ku Kueh • Traditional & Modern Chinese Snacks & Desserts 宝洲笋粿红龟粿

Poh Cheu founded in the 1980s as an illegal mobile street stall is in the third generation now.

Poh Cheu is the name of the founder, grandfather of the current owner Jerome who has an accountancy degree.