San Lou Cafe – Hidden Gem in JB Serving Cheap & Delicious Zi Char
My husband is becoming a food expert in Johor Bahru because he goes across the causeway at least once a month to eat with his friends. When we finally arranged for a food trip last month, he excitedly brought us to this hidden gem in Stulang Darat. “I want to bring you to check out this cafe,” he said. Of course, I look at him in disbelief, because he is not a cafe person to begin with!
True enough, we ended up at a carpark situated in the midst of 3-storey flats. I thought we had lost our way. I saw an old school playground and a temple in the neighbourhood. But as we walked towards the end of Block B, I saw San Lou Cafe (三楼咖啡屋). Not the kind of cafe I had imagined, but a rather laid back eatery that serves really delicious zi-char dishes that are very affordable.
It’s a family-style restaurant and everyone here is very friendly. Before finding a table, we went into the kitchen to pick a fresh fish and decide on the cooking style.
I may not be accurate with the names of the fish, but the cook recommended threadfin and croaker, cooked in two different ways — steamed with preserved radish, and with assam. The steamed fish was covered with spring onions and preserved radish, which elevated the umami of the whole dish. You can taste the delicate sweetness of the fresh fish. The steaming Asam fish curry was my favourite. The whole table was slurping up the sweet, sour and spicy gravy.
The stir-fried clams here were probably the best I have tasted. They were slightly briny but very juicy and fresh. After eating the clams here, I don’t think I would order it anywhere else. We also had omelette with fresh krill (small shrimps) and Sayur Manis. It’s my first time eating mani cai with eggs; I usually have them in my bowl of mee hoon kueh.
This is an excellent eatery where you can truly experience JB food. Our meal only cost RM 98! What a steal!
San Lou Cafe
Address: 16, Jalan Stulang Laut, Taman Stulang, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Phone: +60 12-791 7868
Opening Hours: 7am to 2pm, closed on Thursdays