North-south highway lunch stop – Yong Peng 688 coffee shop

Yong Peng remains the best lunch stop, timing wise, when traveling down to JB from KL. 688 coffee shop is a lively place with 5 stalls, which is considered a high stall count for Yong Peng. There is the drink stall that also sells Bak Kut Teh, Assam fish and porridge. There’s also a chicken rice stall, a Wanton noodle stall, a Tze Char stall and a soup stall (fish balls, pork ribs etc.).

Chicken rice. Notice the coffee is the typical thin type common in the region, and it looks very milky, though it doesn’t really taste milky.
Continue reading North-south highway lunch stop – Yong Peng 688 coffee shop

North-South Highway lunch stop – Tangkak revisit

I started off from KL fairly early in the morning and i wanted to have a quick lunch stop. Well, more like a snack stop. As with Yong Peng, Tangkak is just a short distance from the Toll booths, so it is good for a quick stop.

Everyone probably goes to the beef noodle shop. Not for me when i want to grab a quick bite and run. From Google maps, the eatery that caught my attention was Lok Pin Hotel & Coffee shop, conveniently located on the main street. From the name, you would know that it harkens from the days (many decades ago) when it was popular to run a hotel and coffee shop as part of the same business. It certainly reminds me of Chong Kok Kopitiam in Klang, which uses 中国酒店 as its Chinese name, meaning China Hotel. Except, Lok Pin Hotel is actually still in operation.

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North-south highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir revisited

This was my 3rd visit to Bukit Gambir, and this time, i went to the restaurant 侨興 that was marked on Google maps. There must be a good reason for a restaurant to be highlighted in Google Maps, especially when it shows up at low zoom levels. True enough, 侨興 is one of the few restaurants has been around for ages in Bukit Gambir.

Located along probably Bukit Gambir’s only remaining row of old wooded shop houses

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North-South highway lunch stop – Kampung Serom

Having passed by Kampung Serom 3 after having lunch at Sungai Mati not too long ago, I vowed to check out this place, and so i did. Except for a Char Kway Teow stall, there was no other food to be found here, so it’s not recommended for lunch, unless you just want to check out this place.

What attracts me to Kampung Serom 3, as usual, is how old the place is. The two rows of shophouses by the road look like they are at least 60 years old. Locals seem to enjoy hanging around the 3 kopitiams (especially at the two that does not serve food). Just sitting around and sipping kopi.

Johor style wooden shophouses

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North-South highway lunch stop – Sungai Mati

Sungai Mati means dead river, literally translated. Only now that I’ve read the Wiki entry do i understand why it is named so. You can see the Ox-bow lake from Google Maps (see below).

Ox-bow lake

The detour from the North-South highway into Sungai Mati takes about 25 minutes, which is quite acceptable for a lunch break. Moreover, as with Yong Peng, you don’t have to back-track to the same Toll plaza for re-entry onto the highway, so you save a bit of time. Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Sungai Mati

North-South highway lunch stop – Simpang Renggam

Simpang Renggam is less than an hour from JB, so it makes sense as a lunch stop when driving up north from JB if one were to leave JB before noon.

There are ample eateries in Simpang Renggam, and we chose Restoran Tai Kai Hock (大家福酒楼) since they are quite highly rated on Google. They are basically a Tze Char restaurant and the standard is above average.

Their signature dish is the crispy duck, and indeed it is pretty good. Overall the food is value for money, and well worth stopping over for lunch.

 

North-South highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir

Bukit Gambir is under 2 hours from KL and 1.5 hours from JB, so it could work as a lunch stop from either direction. It is a sizeable town, comparable to Yong Peng, and offers quite a few dining options during lunch time. It is very near Panchor, and easily accessible from the Toll booth.

I Googled and found a restaurant that has unfortunately already shut down, but just behind to it, there is a Tze Char restaurant that probably has been operating for a long time – Bee Hiong Guan. It is housed in a purpose-built building, and the high ceiling made it feel breezy and airy. It is very clean too. Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir

Long Weekend Johor Getaway

So, where were you over the long weekend just passed? For a cheap getaway, nothing beats crossing over to neighbouring Johor. This time, we ventured up the east coast which we haven’t been to before (not counting Desaru that is). This turned out to be an excellent choice since the north-south highway was jam packed with holiday makers who ended up getting caught in multi-hour traffic jam.

The islands off Johor east coast, especially Tioman, are the popular destinations in this area, but we avoided those as we wanted to avoid crowds. Instead, we headed to Rompin, where there is a decent beach that is not busy. Continue reading Long Weekend Johor Getaway

North-South highway lunch stop – Panchor

Today i found my new favourite lunch stop along the North-South highway – Hin Thoy restaurant at Panchor. It is easily accessible from the North-South highway – merely 8 minutes from the Pagoh toll exit.

Panchor is a quiet village by the Muar river, and i love the sense of serenity here. This was much more pleasant than the other nearby towns, Yong Peng and Tangkak, and even Pagoh.

All quiet on the river promenade

Exceptionally calm waters

Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Panchor

North-south highway lunch stop – Ayer Hitam

Today i drove a little faster (okay way above the speed limit actually) and got to Ayer Hitam at 1230pm (in just 2.5 hours from KL), just the right time for lunch. Ayer Hitam is just off the highway, making it a convenient lunch stop.

If you Googled for Ayer Hitam food, you’ll invariably find Tang Chuan among the top search results. Tang Chuan sells Pau and other Dim Sum, not quite the staple people will usually choose for a lunch meal. We certainly did not feel like having Pau for lunch. After doing a quick survey, i settled for Meng Heng, located at the corner unit of the row of shops across the road.

For completeness sake, let me quickly mention that the Kopitiam next to Tang Chuan, called New Mui Thye, had two stalls open at lunch time, selling chicken rice and noodles. The corner unit at the other end of the same row of shops as Tang Chuan sold Wanton noodles. The two shops directly across the road from Tang Chuan sold mixed economy rice (什菜饭), and these two took in the lion’s share of the local lunch crowd. None of these eateries looked appealing, honestly speaking, and from intuition, i felt there was something about Meng Heng that seem just slightly more convincing.

Screen capture of Restoran Meng Heng from Google Street View.

Meng Heng sells various types of noodles, as well as mixed economy rice. I just found out they have been around for more than 60 years. Okay. Wow.

We ordered three types of noodles, and they did not disappoint.

Curry pork ribs. The curry has an obvious Tumeric taste, and overall, it was rather tangy, which i think is characteristic of Johorean curry. The pork ribs were very tender.

Laksa. Came with pretty good (stiff rather than soggy) fish cake.

Minced pork noodles. This was very fragrant and tasty.

The noodles used was chewy flat yellow noodles, a welcome change from the more common soggy round yellow noodles. There was a lot of (too much) oil in the noodles but no obvious taste of lard, which sat well with me as i do not like a lot of lard in my food.

I don’t have a photo of the coffee which we did order, but as mentioned in the news article, it was pretty good. Yes, despite the coffee being a little milky, as is typical of the coffee around this region (from Batu Pahat to Pontian in the south), there was enough of aromatic coffee taste to convince me i was drinking coffee instead of milk.

Just so that i can check Ayer Hitam off my list of food to try along the North-south highway in Johor, we went to sample the Pau at Tang Chuan after finishing our meal at Meng Heng.

Unfortunately, they don’t sell the glutinous chicken rice anymore

I would say the Pau were indeed nice. We sampled the big Pau and the Char Siew Pau. Both were more savoury than sweet, which suits my preference just nice. The filling were juicy and tender. The coffee from here, however, was no match to Meng Heng’s.

There was a steady stream of customers, and i think the internet lent a huge helping hand

To conclude, i would say Yong Peng is still the best place to do lunch along the North-south highway if you’re not in a hurry.