North-South Highway lunch stop – Pagoh

Pagoh is a very small town, with its commercial centre stretching over just 500m or so. When driving towards JB from KL, Pagoh is after Tangkak and before Yong Peng, making it a suitable candidate as a lunch stop, since it takes slightly over 2 hours to get to Pagoh.

Being the very small town that it is, choices are limited as expected. There are probably no more than 10 eateries in total if you actually combed the entire area. I settled on Gao Yuan Seafood that was almost the only place with an online presence.

Gao Yuan Seafood, tucked away in a corner away from the main crossroad
Gao Yuan Seafood, tucked away in a corner away from the main crossroad

When asked if there was any signature dish, the lady owner was shy to highlight any and simply said the dishes were all “about there”. She did recommend the claypot pork belly with salted fish, a popular dish in Johor (you’ll find this at Yong Peng too), and we took up the suggestion. I noticed that they had a handmade noodles dish and ordered that as well. Anything handmade has got to be worth trying right?

Claypot pork belly with salted fish in dark sauce, a fail-safe dish since the all the ingredients are fragrant
Claypot pork belly with salted fish in dark sauce, a fail-safe dish since the all the ingredients are fragrant
菜胆, i don't know how this translates to English. The thickened broth was tasty though rather salty.
菜胆, i don’t know how this translates to English, maybe Chinese Brussel sprouts? The thickened broth was tasty though rather salty.
Handmade noodles. Very chewy (Q). It's indeed better than the usual non-handmade ones because you can taste the freshness.
Handmade noodles. Very chewy (Q). It’s indeed better than the usual non-handmade ones because you can taste the freshness.

All in all, it was a yummy meal, having a rustic home-cooked feel to it which i prefer over those average restaurant meals where the chefs only bother about serving up the dish quickly (like Rong Cheng in Yong Peng). The only downside was the price, which was a little steep for a restaurant in a small town. The claypot pork belly was RM25 (S$8.40). which might be comparable to prices in KL.

It’s unlikely that i will return to this restaurant, though i think it was worth trying. Tangkak is the place that i will most likely want to go back to for a lunch pit-stop along the KL-JB north-south highway.

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