13 Cheap & Good Food Near Johor Bahru Checkpoint
March 04, 2016
Text & Photo by Hazel & Maureen
Johor Bahru, Malaysia – Thinking of making a quick trip to Johor Bahru for some cheap and delicious food? Read this post to find out where you can find cheap and good food near Johor Bahru Checkpoint (or Johor Bahru City Square). There is no need for bus nor taxi, you can get to these places on foot!
Hiap Joo Bakery & Biscuit Factory 协裕面包西果厂 (Halal)
Address: 13 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Operating Hours: 8:00AM – 6:00PM (Closed on Sundays)
Hiap Joo Bakery is one of Johor’s oldest and best known traditional bakeries. It offers good fresh malt-flavoured breads and aromatic banana cakes. If you are here for their banana cake, like us, go earlier to queue even though the banana cakes will only be ready at noon. Hiap Joo is established in 1919 and still uses a hole-in-the-wall wood fired oven to make fresh cakes and breads. This is the best banana cake I have ever tasted. It’s moist, fragrant, and very reasonably priced. As there is limited space in the shop, customers have to queue in a row to get into the shop.
Restoran Kin Wah (锦华餐室)
Address: 8 Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru
Hours: 7am to 12pm
If you want a traditional breakfast, head to Restoran Kin Wah (锦华餐室) near Jalan Tan Hiok Nee “Culture Street” (文化街). This is a simple, no-frills kopitiam selling old school breakfast. This place serves one of the best coffee and half-boiled eggs in my opinion. The coffee is thick, with the right balance of sugar and milk. Bring it close to your nose and take in the distinct aroma of the coffee. Restoran Kin Hua uses kampung chicken eggs for it’s half boiled eggs. The eggs are firmer in texture, but still done perfectly!
Roti Canai Bukit Chagar (Halal)
Address: Junction of Jalan Bukit Chagar and Jalan Ungku Aziz (next to Pine View Apartments and PDRM Apartments)
Opening Hours: 6am to 11am (breakfast only, roti canai often sold out by 10am)
One of the most memorable breakfasts I had in Johor was at Bukit Chagar, where we dug into freshly made Roti Canai. I like their prata because it is thick, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It isn’t too greasy, as well. The prata goes very well with their dhal. For those who like it slightly more spicy, you can add a dab of curry for that extra oomph. We had 5 pratas and the bill came up to less than RM8.00!
Kok Yow Yong 霍有用
Address: Junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Pasar , Old Downtown Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 6:00AM – 1:00PM (Closed on Sunday)
Located at Jalan Dhoby, Kok Yow Yong is a herbal tea shop which is more than 100 years old. Run by two sisters, it serves up freshly brewed herbal tea at RM1.00 per glass. You can have the bitter version or have it sweetened. If you cannot take bitterness, try their chrysanthemum tea instead. They separate the chrysanthemum flowers manually and use other herbal powder to brew the drink. Other than these two drinks, the lady boss also makes an energy booster drink or what we call “special tea”. Do give it a try if you are nearby.
Ah Hua 亚华 kway teow soup (Restoran Sekee 司機)
Address: No. 30 Jalan Segget, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 7:30AM – 2:30PM (Closed on Saturday)
Ah Hua Teochew Kway Teow is one of the oldest kway teow soup shops in town. There are many branches around, but the one nearest to Singapore is just a few minutes walk from the Johor Bahru checkpoint. The most striking feature of this stall is that they still use charcoal to boil the broth. Their recipe has been passed down from generations to generations. However, be prepared to pay as a bowl of kway teow soup here costs RM16.00. You will get a bowl filled with ingredients such as liver, kidney, abalone slices and more. Although the price is a bit steep, they have a pool of regular customers. And, that says a lot about them.
Salahuddin Bakery (HALAL)
Address: 26, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 8:00AM-2:00PM
Another bakery in Jalan Dhoby is Salahuddin Bakery, which has been in business since 1937. This is a family business that’s withstood the test of time. They use a traditional coal-fired oven to bake fresh breads as well. If you look around, there are black and white photographs of the owners and numerous articles hanging on the walls. Try the triangular curry puff; it is loaded with a generous filling.
Tody’s Wine Shop, Kedai Tuak Awam
Address: Along Jalan Sulaiman, Downtown Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
Fancy some coconut wine? Located just behind the Shell Petrol Station (across Jalan Wong Ah Fook) is Tody’s Wine Shop. Toddy is an alcoholic beverage that is created from the sap of the coconut palm. The alcoholic content ranges from 2 to 10%. Toddy is said to help relieve cold symptoms, much like our Chinese herbal tea. I ordered a mug(RM3.00) to try. It tastes and looks similar to barley water. The kick will come in after awhile.
Sang Heng Coffee Shop
Address: 7 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru (Next to OCBC JB Branch)
Opening Hours: 7:00AM – 1:00PM (Closed on Saturday)
Located near OCBC Bank is another traditional Teochew Kway Teow shop that is run by an elderly uncle. The uncle always wears a formal short-sleeved shirt at the stall. If you are there on weekdays, be prepared to queue as most of the office people will be patronizing the shop during breakfast hours and lunchtime.
We tried a bowl of Teowchew Kway Teow soup (RM6.00) and dry fishball noodles (RM6.00). The Teochew Kway Teow Soup comes with pork balls, fish balls, beansprouts, tiny prawns and minced pork. The soup broth is light and comforting. The dry fishball noodles features springy mee kia tossed in a fiery and tangy chilli.
IT Roo Cafe
Address: 17 Jalan Dhoby, Johor Bahru
Business Hour: 10am – 9.30pm
Awarded the “Best Chicken Chop in Malaysia” title by The Star newspaper in 2003, IT Roo operates in a pre-war building which attracts many locals and tourists. There are two types of halal-certified chicken chop at IT Roo – grilled or deep fried. The Grilled Chicken Chop (RM14.00) is my favourite. Using thick and juicy chicken thigh, the chicken chop is grilled till perfection and generously drizzled with either black pepper sauce or mushroom sauce. Some of us preferred the Fried Chicken Chop (RM14.00), with a thick beautiful sauce (but not too much). When you slice the chicken open, what you get is tender meat which goes very well with the chilli sauce.
Restoran Ya Wang 鸭皇药材烧腊大王
Address: No.28 Jalan Segget, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 8:00AM – 6:00PM (Daily)
Tel: +60 7224 8624
Ya Wang is one of the pioneers that sells herbal roast ducks in Johor Bahru. They are also the advisor for Dian Xiao Er in Singapore. As you step into the restaurant, the friendly servers will greet you with a smile and take your order. The restaurant is air-conditioned, which is perfect for the humid weather.
Try their signature herbal roasted duck with char siew and roasted pork. The duck meat and skin are lean and soft. The herbal gravy is subtle and comforting. If roasted duck is not enough to fill your stomachs, you can go for Zi Char and double-boiled soups too. There are set meals catered to different group sizes as well. All prices and dishes are stated on the white board attached to the wall. The dining experience would be more pleasant if there were lesser houseflies around.
Kam Long Curry Fish Head (金龙咖喱鱼头)
Address: 74, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Tel: +6 016-752-8382 / +6 016-796-2228 / +6 016-205-1610
Opening hours: 8:00AM – 4:30PM (Monday to Sunday)
Curry fish head for breakfast? It may seem too heavy for many of us, but Kam Long Curry Fish Head is a must-visit. Just a 5 minutes walk from City Square Mall, and you will see Kam Long Curry Fish Head. Having been in business for over 30 years, Kam Long only sells curry fish head and is well known by the locals and Singaporeans.
The tender flesh of the ang ko li (red snapper) absorbs the curry flavours really well. The spices from the curry enhance the natural flavour of the fish head, without overpowering it. It comes with tofu skin, ladyfingers, long beans and cabbage. What I really enjoy is the tau pok (deep-fried beancurd) which soaks up the delicious gravy thoroughly. If you want to visit Kam Long, I suggest that you come before 11.30am as the queue is shorter. The curry is pretty much sold out by 2:30 pm.
Restoran Hua Mui 华美茶餐室
Address: 131 Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 8:00AM – 6:00PM (Daily)
Tel: +607 – 224 7364
Hua Mui Kopitiam started in 1948 and has expanded to a few outlets in Johor Bahru. The 2-storey coffee shop has super retro furniture and sells traditional Hainanese-style breakfast and signature hainanese chicken chop. Due to its long history and certified halal status, many Muslims/ Malays also dine here. Having freshly made kaya butter bread toasted over a charcoal fire and soft-boiled eggs sounds like the perfect start to any day. The coffee here is excellent – thick and fragrant.
Restoran Reaz Corner
Address: No.24A , Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 24 HOURS
Tel: +60 13-744 0089
Mamak are Malaysians with Tamil Muslim roots. A Mamak stall offers a variety of roti canai, nasi lemak, maggi goreng (Fried Maggi Noodles), masala and more. In 30-year-old Reaz Corner (just a few steps away from Salahuddin Bakery), great Mamak dishes can be expected.
Although their signature dish is nasi briyani Bombay, many come here for their roti canai and masala. They have many regular patrons dropping by for breakfast before going to work. With RM1.00, you can get a plain roti canai (roti kosong); and with RM3.00, their Tosai Masala. Customers will order and enjoy the food first, and pay when they are ready to leave. This is how most of the mamak stalls work in Malaysia.
Born in Malaysia, Hazel loves to travel and immerse herself in different cultures and food. Follow her food adventures on her blog.
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