Makan (Malay for eat) is a synonymous word with Malaysians. We Malaysians really love to eat and we have a lot of good food too! In this post, I am going to reveal some of the must try places to eat in the city of Johor Bahru, or fondly known as JB, the capital city for the state of Johor on the southern part of Malaysia.
Being neighbour to Singapore, separated only by a causeway, JB is often overshadowed by Singapore. In fact, when I was there a few times for work purposes, foreign tourists can be counted easily. Nevertheless, walking around the Old Town area of the city has introduced me to some of the best places to pamper your tastebud.
1. Restoran Hua Mui
This restaurant has been around at the same exact location since 1946. One of the signature dishes here is the Hainanese chicken chop and the coffee is so tasty or ‘kaw’ as we called it. Eating in this restaurant will give you a sense of nostalgic feelings as they still use the classic tiles as floorings. Inside, the spirit of ‘muhibbah’ is truly embraced where people of different races can be seen eating together harmoniously. This restaurant is located at the end of Jalan Trus near the junction to Jalan Dhoby.
2. The Ice Cream Project
One of the latest place to get homemade ice cream, this ice cream cafe makes ice cream in front of your own eyes. Upon entering the cafe, you will see the nitrogen steam swirling in the air. There are a lot of flavours and the ice cream tasted good too. You sure don’t want to miss the fresh ice cream prepared upon order! The outlet is nice and clean but quite small, so better come early or else you have to take-away. The Ice Cream Project is situated on Jalan Dhoby.
3. Steamboat Dataran Bandaraya
Steamboat Dataran Bandaraya is the place to go with your family members for an open air dinner. Situated beside Dataran Bandaraya opposite Thistle Hotel, rows of lorries selling steamboat (or some called it as lok lok) will surely give you a hard time choosing one. There are tables and chairs being set up in the middle, sandwiched between the lorries. Since all the lorries sell the same thing, competition must be stiff but the best ones will attract more customers for sure. Prices are different, depending on the colour of the stick that you choose (the bottom of the stick will be coloured). This place is famous, it is always full during dinner time.
4. It Roo Cafe
It Roo Cafe is another cafe where you can find amazing Hainanese chicken chop. Dubbed itself as having the ‘best chicken chop in town’, It Roo Cafe is situated in a pre-war shophouse on Jalan Dhoby. This restaurant is quite small, it has an airconditioned area inside and al fresco style outside. Pricewise, it is affordable and reasonable. Apart from chicken chop, they also offer other menu such as hailam mee and fried rice. I tried the spicy fried rice and the taste is good!
5. Benggali Bakery oppoosite It Roo Cafe
I do not remember the name of this bakery but it is situated opposite It Roo Cafe along Jalan Dhoby. Benggali bread is famous for its distinctive smell and taste and I love them. In fact, I will normally buy some when I am in Penang since there is a famous Benggali bakery there. This humble bakery sells a lot of bread and they are cooked in a traditional way. Get some Benggali bread and kaya or curry and eat them together. The taste will surely make you want more.
6. Hiap Joo Bakery
Hiap Joo Bakery is one of the oldest bakery in Johor Bahru, having established themselves since 1919. Situated on the historical enclave of Johor Bahru on Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, the smell of the bread being baked will surely attract you to come and buy some. Expect to queue when you visit them as this bakery is so famous. In fact, you have to come early to get the bread as they sold out early. They baked the bread using charcoal in a large traditional oven, which is something rare nowadays. Another hot stuff item that you should buy and try is the ‘kek pisang’ (banana cake). Freshly baked and tasty banana cake is the best. I bet the minions will love it if they know about it!
7. Maco Vintage Cafe
Maco Vintage is one of the newest and latest addition to the cafe scenes in JB. The interior of the cafe is very beautiful and modern yet simple-looking while the food offered are plenty. Their coffees are one of the best and their Belgian waffles are simply astonishing. Maco Vintage is located on Jalan Ibrahim.
Any other makan place in JB worth trying?