North-South highway lunch stop – Jasin

Jasin is probably the furthest from the toll station among the lunch places i have checked out along the North-South highway (not counting Kluang which is considered an intentional detour). I was pleasantly surprised by how historical the place is.

Jasin is located in the state of Malacca, and you can tell when you see the characteristic roofs of the Malay traditional houses (in the same style as those in Negeri Sembilan probably) which are not found in Johor. They are a pretty sight, and they make it worthwhile doing this short detour. Coming from KL, i took the Jasin toll exit, stopping at Jasin for lunch, and thereafter returned to the North-South highway via Chin Chin (what an interesting name) and Tangkak. Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Jasin

North-South highway lunch stop – Seremban

If you are heading to KL and you had your breakfast in JB, then Seremban would be the ideal lunch stop. It takes almost 3 hours to get there from JB, and by then, you should be ready for lunch.

We used Google Maps to look for a lunch place and chose Keong Kee Recipe as they had about the highest review score. Unfortunately they were closed. There were many eateries nearby and we settled for Pin Xiang Lou, a huge kopitiam.

Pin Xiang Lou is actually joined together with this bigger kopitiam which goes by the name Happy Mee San Restaurant

Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Seremban

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

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.

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

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

Continue reading North-South Highway lunch stop – Pagoh

North-South Highway lunch stop – Tangkak

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For the longest time, Yong Peng has been the de-facto choice as the lunch stop en-route from KL to Singapore. The taste has become too familiar and a change is desperately needed. I looked up Google maps to see which towns are just off the highway. Tangkak turned out to be a good candidate.

Tangkak is about 2 hours from KL, slightly nearer than Yong Peng. We usually arrive at Yong Peng around 130-2pm, which is kind of late for lunch, so Tangkak works well for those times when we depart from KL slightly late. Today, we departed KL around 1030am, made a quick stop at Seremban to pick up some Siew Pau and arrived at the planned Tangkak eatery around 1230pm. As with Yong Peng, Tangkak town is only a few km off the North-South Highway. Continue reading North-South Highway lunch stop – Tangkak

Where to get breakfast in JB before hitting North-South Highway

This is written specifically for Singapore drivers heading up north to the North South Highway via the causeway. The focus is not so much on seeking out good food but on convenience – to have breakfast at locations near the entry points to the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) which is the most convenient way to get onto the North South Highway.

The oldest parts of town is usually a good place to find food, and in JB this happens to be just beyond the causeway. For years, my go-to kopitiam for breakfast had been Agape. Here you will find delicious chicken rice (Sin Bee Hiang) and a stall selling the staple of JB – Kway Teow Kia. Both stalls are excellent. Agape is closed on Mondays, so i need alternatives in case i come on a Monday. In Taman Pelangi, where Agape is located, there are quite a few eateries along Jalan Sri Pelangi, including Moonlight Cake House, if you’re in the mood for western or confectionery. To get to Agape or Jalan Sri Pelangi, make a right turn into Jalan Kuning from Jalan Tebrau. After breakfast, to get onto EDL, continue along Jalan Kuning and turn right into Jalan Serampang.

Pelangi

Continue reading Where to get breakfast in JB before hitting North-South Highway