13 Cheap & Good Food Near Johor Bahru Checkpoint
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, start your food adventure by 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 bakery offering 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 by noon. This bakery shop is established since 1919 and still uses hole-in-the-wall wood fired oven to make fresh cakes and breads. This is the best banana cakes I have ever tasted. It’s moist and 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. The moment they open, you will see the queue forming up and waiting to purchase the banana cake.
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 an 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 nicely thick with the right balanced of sugar and milk. When you bring it close to your nose and take a deep breath, you can smell the distinct aromatic coffee smell. Restoran Kin Hua uses kampung chicken eggs for it’s half boiled eggs. These are free range hens that are injected with growth hormones. It is done perfectly and also firmer in texture. A great breakfast to start with!
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 breakfast I had in Johor was the Roti Canai at Bukit Chagar . I like their prata because it is thick, crispy outside, softer inside, and not-too-oily. The prata goes very well with their dhal which is mild and not too spicy. For those who like it hot, you can add a dab of curry for that extra oomph. We had 5 good pratas and it costs 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, there is a herbal tea shop which is more than 100 years old. Run by two sisters, you can enjoy a glass of freshly brewed herbal tea with a choice or bitter or sweet version at RM1.00. If you cannot take bitter herbal drink, try their chrysanthemum tea. They will separate the chrysanthemum flowers manually and uses other herbal powder to brew the drink. Other than these two drinks, the lady boss makes energy booster drink or what we call “special tea”. 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 known as 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 walking distance from Johor Bahru checkpoint. The uniqueness of this stall is that they still use charcoal to boil the broth. Their recipe has been passed down from generations to generations. But, be prepared to pay as a bowl of kway teow soup here costs RM16.00. You will get a bowl filled with luxurious ingredients such as liver, kidney, abalone slices and more. Although the price is a bit steep, regular customers will be back to fix their cravings. My dad used to have it when he was young and stepping into the coffeeshop does give the nostalgic moment.
Salahuddin Bakery (HALAL)
Address: 26, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 8:00AM-2:00PM
Another bakery shop in Jalan Dhoby is Salahuddin Bakery which has been in business since 1937. This is a family business that passed down to generations. They use the traditional coal-fired oven to bake fresh breads as well. All the bakeries are displayed on the table instead of shelf just like the old times. If you look at the surroundings, there are black and white photos of the owners and featured articles hanging on the shop. These are all the precious memories passed down in years. The owner Salahuddin tends the shop while waiting for customers to pick their choice. Try their triangular shaped curry puff. It is loaded with generous fillings inside.
Tody’s Wine Shop, Kedai Tuak Awam
Address: Along Jalan Sulaiman, Downtown Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 10:00AM – 4:00PM
Fancy for some coconut wine? Located just behind the Shell Petrol Station (across Jalan Wong Ah Fook) that faces Komtar JBCC is Tody’s Wine Shop. Toddy is an alcoholic beverage that created by Mr Maniam from the sap of the coconut palm. Containing alcohol level ranging from 2 to 10%, Toddy is said to help relieve cold, just like our Chinese herbal tea. This old rustic shop only has two big tables one at each left and right. I ordered a mug to try which costs RM3.00. The colour of the drink looks similar and taste like barley water too. The kick will gradually start after taking a few sips. It would be best to served with ice cubes during hot weather.
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 to OCBC Bank, you will find another traditional Teochew Kway Teow shop run by an elderly uncle. The uncle always wears a formal short sleeve shirt at the stall preparing the orders for the customers. If you are there during weekdays, be prepared to queue as most of the office people will be patronizing the shop for breakfast and lunch. Sharing table is highly possible as the old shop house has limited space.
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 in it. The soup broth tasted light and best for anytime. The dry fishball noodles has springy mee kia with fiery and tangy chilli tossed in.
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 the pre-war building which has attracted 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 it open, what you get is the white and tender meat which goes very well with the chilli sauce. It’s not very oily.
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
You will never miss this huge fat duck icon hanging outside the restaurant and located within few minutes walk away from City Square Mall and JB custom checkpoint. Ya Wang is one of the pioneers that sells herbal roast ducks in Johor Bahru. They are also the advisor for Dian Xiao Er herbal roasted duck in Singapore. As you stepped 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 flavour gravy is subtle and comforting. Pour the gravy over the rice and you would probably need another plate soon. If roasted duck is not enough to fill your stomach, Zi Char is served in Ya Wang as well. There are set meals available based on numbers of people in a group. Double boiled soups are available here as well which changes everyday. All prices and dishes name in group are stated on the white board attached on the wall. If only they can solve the houseflies’ issues, the dining experience would be more pleasant.
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 seems heavy for many of us, but Kam Long Curry Fish Head is probably one of the locations you want to skip lunch crowd. All you need is 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 it is well known by the locals and Singaporeans.
The tender flesh of the ang ko li (red snapper) came off the fork easily. The flesh is so soft, absorbing the curry flavours really well. The spices from the curry enhance the natural flavour of the head without overpowering it. Together with tofu skin, ladies finger, long beans and cabbage, it’s a complete meal on its own. What I really enjoy is the tau pok (deep-fried beancurd) that soaks up the delicious gravy thoroughly. If you want to visit Kam Long, I suggest you to 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 here since 1948 and has expanded to having a few outlets in Johor Bahru. This 2-storey coffee shop has super retro furnitures and sells traditional Hainanese style breakfast and signature hainanese chicken chop. Due to its long history and certified halal status, Muslims/ Malays will also dine here. Having freshly made toasted kaya butter bread using charcoal and soft-boiled eggs and chit chatting with old friends are commonly seen in Hua Mui. The coffee here is excellent – thick and fragrant, which is best paired with the kaya bread. If you are passing by in the morning, you will see many elderly uncles having traditional breakfast.
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 origin. Mamak stall offers different varieties of roti canai, nasi lemak, maggi goreng (Fried Maggi Noodles), masala and many more. In Reaz Corner (just few steps away from Salahuddin Bakery), they offers great mamak dishes for over 30 years.
Although their signature dish is nasi briyani Bombay, many come for their roti canai and masala for breakfast. They have many regular patrons dropping by for breakfast before going to work. With RM1.00, you will get a plain roti canai (roti kosong) and RM3.00 for their Tosai Masala. Customers will order and enjoy the food first and only pay when you are leaving. This is how most of the mamak stall works in Malaysia.
Born in Malaysia, Hazel loves to travel and soaked herself with enrich cultures and food. Follow her food adventures on her blog.
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