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

The best Malacca chicken rice, according to me

This is a topic that invites much debate, and there will never be a conclusion. Pardon me for borrowing the popular phrase spoken among Indians: “according to me”, I say Chung Wah is the best.

It is often mentioned that chicken rice sold at Jonker Walk are hype and are to be avoided. My tastebuds tell me otherwise. Chung Wah sells the most awesome chicken rice at a touristic location. To me, what really sets Chung Wah apart from the rest is the minimal use of soy sauce. You can see from the featured photo above that there is hardly any gravy. That’s because the chicken is already packed with enough juiciness and aromatics to need to be supplemented with much soy sauce at all. Continue reading The best Malacca chicken rice, according to me

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

Klang Bak Kut Teh and Kopi, round 2

My better half was feeling “gian” (or yearning in the Hokkien dialect) for Klang Bak Kut Teh (BKT). Specifically Teck Teh’s BKT. Well, the ever curious me decided to check out the other popular BKT places in Klang instead. Anyway, I was guessing that most of the better known BKT restaurants would be closed on this day, the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. I was right.

For the record, I found out that Seng Huat and Teck Teh were closed. The other BKT place I was planning to visit, Lai Choon, was also not open. I suspect this would be the standard practice, that these restaurants would remain closed at least up to the 3rd day of the Chinese New Year. So, if you’re wondering if you could visit any of these three, then you better have a back up plan. No worries though, because you will definitely be able to satisfy your craving for BKT during the Chinese New Year, as it is said that there more than 400 BKT restaurants in Klang, and some of them are bound to be open. Continue reading Klang Bak Kut Teh and Kopi, round 2

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.

Where to pump petrol before entering Singapore from North-South Highway

It is no secret that petrol prices in Malaysia is about one third that in Singapore. At present, the price of RON97 is RM 2.05 per litre, whereas it costs S$2.05 (before applying discount) per litre for RON95 in Singapore. Topping up your tank before returning to Singapore from Malaysia means huge savings, especially for cars with bigger tanks. Some even perform the rather unsightly maneuver of rocking their car in an attempt to get that little bit more petrol into the tank.

Cars returning to Singapore after travelling on the North-South Highway will have to decide where to pump petrol, and it’s best to plan ahead exactly where. One might say this is an easy decision – just choose the station nearest to the immigration checkpoint. Under optimal conditions, when there is no queue at the checkpoint, this is a sensible choice. However, when there queue, pumping at a petrol station near the checkpoint may cost you more time to clear the immigration, since your queue will virtually start at the petrol station. It is demoralizing, i can tell you.

Let me go straight to the point and show you the three options you have in choosing the petrol station:

1. Petrol station near checkpoint

For the second link, obviously the Shell station just before the Tanjung Kupang CIQ is the one, and probably 90% of the cars returning to Singapore will pump petrol here.

Continue reading Where to pump petrol before entering Singapore from North-South Highway

Malaysia destinations – Cameron Highlands

Can this be Malaysia?
Can this be Malaysia?

Cameron Highlands has quite a few things going for it to become a holiday destination in Malaysia: the cool climate, which brings about agri and eco tourism encompassing horticulture, tea plantations, strawberry farms and nature trails, and traces of the colonial past. These were reason enough for us to spend 2 nights on holiday here. Continue reading Malaysia destinations – Cameron Highlands

SS2 Durian

Try this: go to google.com, type SS2 in the search bar and observe the first suggested search entry that appears. That’s right, it is “SS2 Durian”. You could say SS2 is synonymous with Durian, and i think that warrants my writing a blog entry about eating Durian in SS2. Continue reading SS2 Durian

JB Durian trip 2

Here we go again, making a trip to JB for Durian. Now is certainly the ripe time to go, with Durian supplies ramping up and prices coming down. In my opinion, the prices are still not that cheap. I’ll just quickly state here the prices of those varieties i have sampled for your information (per kg):

Lao Tai Po (老太婆) RM 25 (pictured above – sweet and creamy)
Sultan RM 30
D101 RM 38
Tekka (Bamboo) RM 38
Mao Shan Wang or Musang King RM 48 Continue reading JB Durian trip 2

Johor Durian trip

It is July and it is time for more Durians! This time we ventured further north, all the way to Malacca.

Information on the whereabouts of Durians, whether Durian orchards or stalls selling Durian are scarce as ever. My first target location was an organic Durian orchard near Batu Pahat. Believe it or not, I managed to determine the location of this place based on the markings on a lamppost. No other clues were given except the name of the road and a photo of the roadside. The photo carried the caption “very easy to find us”. Yeah, right.

Undeterred, I started searching using Google Street View, traversing the road, Jalan Sungai Suloh, where they’re said to be located. I found a patch of land that looked promising, and upon comparing the markings on the lamppost, to my amazement, they were a match! Continue reading Johor Durian trip