Jo­hor

It’s not all Le­goland and Hello Kitty Town. Hot spots like Klu­ang, Batu Pa­hat, Muar and Pegerang hold their own charm. Traipse from one town to another to ex­pe­ri­ence their unique brand of small town charm and lo­cal flavours. Cur­rently Jo­hor Bahru is ex­per

Time Out Malaysia Eating and Drinking Guide - - CONTENTS -

The Amer­i­cas

Amer­i­can

Fat­boy’s the Burger Bar

59 Jalan Sutera Tan­jung 8/3, Ta­man Sutera Utama, Sku­dai, JB (07 550 5417/www.fat­boys.my).

Build­ing your own burger has an ad­dic­tive ring to it. Start with the bun – fluffy white sesame seed for tra­di­tion­al­ists, whole­meal for healthy eaters or honey oat for the ar­ti­sans. Beef, pork (pork col­lar meat only), chicken or lamb patty can be topped with, well, nearly any­thing. Our favourites are the su­per spicy chilli queso and a clas­sic fried egg. Ad­ven­tur­ous ones can throw on a few slices of grilled ba­nana or pineap­ple. If you’re not a fan of the bar­be­cue sauce, try their roasted garlic aioli, blue cheese dress­ing, peanut but­ter or even Nutella.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Thur, 5pm–12mid­night, Fri–Sun, 12pm– 12mid­night. $$

Cafes

NEW Anke Uke 26 Jalan Tasik 1, Pusat Per­ni­a­gaan Tasik, Klu­ang, JB (07 708 2270/www. face­book.com/AnkeUke).

Upon en­trance, the wall of ukule­les gave us the an­swer to the name of this cheer­ful lit­tle café. Anke Uke’s Chi­nese name is roughly trans­lated as ‘lit­tle can­teen’, where the hus­band and wife team serve up great cof­fee, sim­ple home cooked dishes on the ever ro­tat­ing menu as well as mu­sic lessons. You’ll have to check out their Face­book page to know what’s on the menu for the day, be it sweet and sour fried fish, ayam pongteh or braised chicken and mush­rooms. The dishes seem com­pletely ran­dom but this is the near­est thing you can get to a home cooked meal with­out crash­ing some­one’s house. Phrases like ‘pas­sion’ and ‘labour of love’ might sound like overly cliché de­scrip­tions, but with Anke Uke, this is in­deed the case. Ukelele and ca­jon lessons are avail­able, but if you’re al­ready adept at the in­stru­ment, you can just en­joy brows­ing the range of ukele­les and buy one. In ad­di­tion to open mic nights, the de­light­ful café also hosts a hand­made mar­ket ev­ery Sun­day from 12noon till 5pm.

Tue–Thu, 10am–6.30pm, Sat–Sun, 10am–6.30pm. Free park­ing. $

NEW Basikal Café, Yong Peng 1 Jalan Kota 7/1, Ta­man Kota Yong Peng, Jo­hor (07 467 3343).

The bi­cy­cle-themed café serves up pretty good cap­puc­cino, we’d give them that. It's popular amongst the young­sters and out of town­ers, and we’re re­ally taken by the quirky dé­cor. From bi­cy­cle chain doors to re­pur­posed benches and even a bike tyre pump re­framed as art, Basikal Café is a nice sur­prise in the small town of Yong Peng.

Free park­ing. Child friendly. Mon–Sun, 11.30am–11.30pm. $$

NEW Brew Orches­tra 19 Jalan Molek 1/5C, Ta­man Molek, JB (012 716 6717/www.face­book.com/ the­bre­worches­tra).

Lo­cated in the new Ta­man Molek area, Brew Orches­tra is decked out in black ac­cents and dé­cor that vaguely re­minded us of a con­cert hall. De­signed by EHKA Stu­dio, this gor­geous café is not only known for their de­sign, but also for im­pres­sive cof­fee and sand­wiches. Sport­ing a team of pro­fes­sional baris­tas from Malaysia and Korea, Brew Orches­tra takes their in­spi­ra­tion from the highly de­vel­oped cof­fee scenes of Mel­bourne and Seoul. With Ky­oto Gen­maicha, Val­rhona choco­late and sin­gle ori­gin beans from Hon­duras grac­ing Brew Orches­tra’s menu; this is not too bad for hum­ble JB, eh?

Mon–Fri, 11am–11.30pm, Sat–Sun, 10am–11.30pm. $$ Chai­walla & Co. Lot 2810 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, JB (012 735 3572/016 768 7440).

Chai­walla of­fers up ‘hon­est tea’ from a pair of old cargo con­tain­ers, which have been stylishly revamped in black and pine. Mostly for take­aways only, cof­fee is avail­able but this café’s spe­cial­ity is in tea. You can choose your base, flavour­ings, top­pings, and the level of sugar to con­coct, for ex­am­ple, Saf­fron Rose Tea and biji se­lasih (basil seeds). Dur­ing the fast­ing month, they’re open from 5pm to 2am.

Free park­ing. Daily, 12pm–1am. $

NEW Cof­fee Loft 29 Jalan Molek 1/12, Ta­man Molek, JB (www.face­book.com/cof­feeloft88).

Bring­ing cof­fee and art to­gether, Cof­fee Loft is a sprawl­ing cor­ner café in Ta­man Molek with smooth in­dus­trial vibes and art­works by lo­cal Malaysian artist Hoe Say Yong adorn­ing the walls. You can’t miss the gi­ant Broad­way–like let­ter­ing on the side of the olive green build­ing.

Free park­ing. Mon–Thu, 12pm–11pm, Fri–Sun 12pm–12mid­night. $$

NEW Cof­fee Val­ley L2–550A, Sutera Mall (07 562 2744); 12A Jalan Trus, JB (07 295 6109/ www.face­book.com/cof­fee­valleyehs).

The qui­etly self-as­sured café has two out­lets, one in Sutera Mall and the other on Jalan Trus in the town cen­tre, pos­si­bly emerg­ing as JB’s an­swer to Sin­ga­pore’s hip­ster Tiong Bahru. A scan through its menu showed up sand­wiches, cof­fee, and some unique desserts like fresh pump­kin cheese­cake, chilled yo­gurt cheese­cake and chunky home­made thick toast. We opted for the peanut but­ter and ba­nana wrap with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Hand­i­crafts and knick-knacks were sold at the Jalan Trus out­let, and it’s a chill place to hang out with a few friends.

Jalan Trus out­let: Thu–Mon, 12.30pm–10pm. Closed on Wed­nes­days. Sutera Mall out­let: Daily, 10am–10pm. $$

NEW Fac­ulty of Caf­feine

106 Jalan Trus, JB (010 226 0311/ www.face­book.com/fac­ul­ty­of­caf­feine).

Founded by a med­i­cal stu­dent and an in­te­rior de­signer, Fac­ulty of Caf­feine serves break­fast and brunch in a tiny space in the heart of JB. Great cof­fee aside, the own­ers at FOC also pay close at­ten­tion to dishes, from the cia­batta beef sand­wich to the garlic bread gen­er­ously topped with moz­zarella and made with fresh chopped garlic. On week­days, it’s a peace­ful café but come week­ends, the limited amount of seats makes it hard go­ing for the ea­ger brunch crowd. Try their rose latte, but if you’re a non-cof­fee drinker, FOC also has a great se­lec­tion of teas and choco­late drinks.

Free park­ing. Tue–Sun, 11am–10pm. $$

NEW Grazia Cafe

80 Jalan Sutera Tan­jung 8/3, Ta­man Sutera Utama, Sku­dai, JB (07 559 6428/ www.face­book.com/grazi­a­cafe).

Di­vided into in­door and out­door seat­ing ar­eas, Grazia Café fu­els your In­sta­gram feed with a care­fully de­signed com­bi­na­tion of good cof­fee, café food, painstak­ingly de­tailed in­te­ri­ors and a wall of travel re­lated quotes. The over­all at­mos­phere is com­fort­able and homely, and we like the fact that they bake their own desserts in house. Nutella ba­nana waf­fles, tiramisu and Swiss rolls are just some of the menu items to ac­com­pany your cuppa. Ser­vice-wise, the friend­li­ness of staff at Grazia gives them an edge over other cafés in town– they even mail post­cards on be­half of their cus­tomers on week­ends.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Tue–Sat, 12pm–11pm. Closed on Mon­days. $$

NEW Maco Café Bak­ery 18 Jalan Ibrahim, JB (07 221 1475/ www.maco.com.my).

Also known as Maco Vin­tage, this café is fa­mous for their de­tailed latte art and mille crepe cakes. With more than 20 flavours of mille crepe cakes avail­able, Maco café aims to give Malacca’s fa­mous Nadeje mille crepes a run for their money. Avid café go­ers are al­ready tout­ing Maco’s cakes as bet­ter than Nadeje’s. Apart from desserts, the lit­tle café also serves thin crust piz­zas and quiches.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Child friendly. Mon–Fri, 12.30pm–11pm, Sat 12.30pm–12mid­night, Sun, 12.30pm– 11pm. $$

NEW Mon­sta Café

157 Jalan Bes­tari 1/5, Ta­man Nusa Bes­tari, Sku­dai, JB (07 556 7128/ www.di­vi­sionby–m.com).

Co-founder of Mon­sta Café Yuan Feng is also a master barista in­struc­tor. Decked out over two storeys, Mon­sta Café is a colour­ful space for good cof­fee and hang-out ses­sions – a city-wide pas­time for JB cit­i­zens. Fea­tur­ing their own cof­fee roaster, the guys here take their cof­fee se­ri­ously. Com­ing into its role as a cof­fee in­sti­tu­tion in JB, Mon­sta Café also has a wide se­lec­tion of pas­tas and ap­pe­tis­ers like na­chos and cheese baked mush­rooms. The sec­ond floor holds a play area for kids and an out­door area with car­pet grass.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Thu, 10am–12mid­night, Fri– Sun, 11am–1am. $$

Roost Café 9 Jalan Dhoby, JB (017 726 7489/ roost­juice­bar.blogspot.com).

Sis­ter es­tab­lish­ment to Roost Juice Bar down on the cor­ner, Roost Café spe­cialises in Western and Asian favourites like fish and chips or chicken chop as well as juices and smooth­ies, which are served in colour­ful lit­tle buck­ets. Great place to sit and chill after wan­der­ing around the streets of JB.

Mon–Sat, 12noon–4pm, 6pm– 12mid­night; Sun, 6pm–12mid­night. $$

Roost Re­pur­posed & Re­cy­cled Juice and Salad Bar 6 Jalan Dhoby/14A Jalan Trus, JB (017 726 7489/roost­juice­bar.blogspot.com).

Sit­u­ated on the cor­ner and close to the ‘rusty mar­ket’ or Bazar Karat, Roost Juice Bar uses re­pur­posed and re­cy­cled items to cre­ate a beau­ti­fully hap­haz­ard at­mos­phere in which to en­joy the range of cof­fees, yo­ghurts, and juices.

Mon–Sat, 12noon–4pm, 6pm– 12mid­night; Sun, 6pm–12mid­night. $$

NEW Scrib­ble Gar­den Café 56 Jalan Ser­am­pang, Ta­man Pe­langi (07 332 1282/www.face­book.com/ Scrib­ble-Gar­den).

No scrib­bling sta­tions for kids, but the mix of Enid Bly­ton and Tolkien should be enough for young and old. The con­cept is sim­ple: clothes, books, cof­fee. With stacks of fash­ion mag­a­zines like Vogue Girl and Ny­lon, this part-time bou­tique of­fers a small sam­pling of cof­fees, crois­sants and sal­ads. Scrib­ble Gar­den is also one of the rare spa­cious cafes in town, as op­posed to the clut­tered prac­tice of stuff­ing as many chairs and ta­bles as pos­si­ble. Try the dough­nut with ice cream en­sem­ble. Scrib­ble Gar­den Café also car­ries items from ar­ti­san Ja­panese bak­ery Mat­sumiya.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Wed–Mon, 11am–8pm, closed on Tues­days. $$

NEW The Sugar Pantry G–03, Block B, Per­mas Mall, Jalan Per­mas Utara, Per­mas Jaya, JB (07 380 6910/ https://www. face­book.com/pages/The–Sugar– Pantry/427620387309490).

Trained in Paris, patis­serie chef Yen used to be a part­ner of Pave in Sin­ga­pore be­fore com­ing back to Jo­hor and open­ing up The Sugar Pantry with her hus­band. The del­i­cate con­fec­tions on dis­play seem to be­long in high end es­tab­lish­ments in­stead of a ran­dom shop lot in Jo­hor. Com­plex lay­ers of flavours and tex­tures in the pas­tries are achieved from Yen’s use of fresh in­gre­di­ents when­ever pos­si­ble. For ex­am­ple, vanilla is ex­tracted from Mada­gas­can vanilla pods. We re­ally like their scones and ly­chee rose with rasp­berry but­ter­cream cake. The clean and min­i­mal­ist café can be ten­ta­tively crowned the best for pas­tries in JB. Fresh juices, teas and cof­fee are also avail­able to com­ple­ment the desserts.

Free park­ing. Tue–Sun, 12pm–10pm. $$

Cheap Eats

Hawker

Gerai Makan Bo­tak

Jalan Paya 2, Kam­pung Paya; Jalan Pang­gung, Kam­pung Masjid Lama; Mengk­i­bol River Hawker Cen­tre.

This fam­ily business has been run­ning for more than 60 years, and has three stalls across Jo­hor. Come here for the

curry noo­dles. The curry, made us­ing a se­cret fam­ily recipe, is tasty and mildly spicy with a hint of grain­i­ness from the ground spices. Packed with fresh tofu, fried fish sticks and cock­les, a bowl of curry noo­dles is rea­son­ably priced at RM6. If you want ex­tra ‘oomph’, try their sam­bal cili.

$

Mee Re­bus Stu­lang Laut 1 Tingkat Bawah, Ban­gu­nan Wisma Naha, Stu­lang Laut.

Any lo­cal worth their salt will able to tell you where this mee re­bus stall is. Over­look­ing the Straits of Jo­hor by the Cause­way, this lo­cal de­light def­i­nitely de­serves its fame. Slurp yel­low noo­dles im­mersed in thick, spicy and slightly sweet gravy gar­nished with sliced green chillies, boiled eggs and fresh bean­curd, this nu­anced mee re­bus is cer­tainly one of the best in Jo­hor.

$

Ta­man Sri Te­brau Hawker Cen­tre Jalan Keris, Ta­man Sri Te­brau.

A few dozen stalls of­fer var­i­ous temp­ta­tions night after night to Sin­ga­pore’s day trip­pers and lo­cal res­i­dents, serv­ing the best of lo­cal Jo­ho­rian dishes from laksa Jo­hor to otak-otak. Make sure you or­der the ais ka­cang done Jo­hor style with choco­late sauce and con­densed milk. Av­er­age price is RM3.

$

NEW Tangkak Beef Noo­dles 20 Jalan Solok, Tangkak, Jo­hor (06 978 3768).

We took a 10-minute de­tour off the North South high­way at Tangkak for their fa­mous beef noo­dles, and in our opin­ion, the 10 min­utes were well spent. Although they have out­lets in KL and Pu­chong, there’s noth­ing like hav­ing it at the orig­i­nal stall. The menu comes with a va­ri­ety of noo­dles, but we rec­om­mend that you or­der an ex­tra bowl of soup to fully en­joy it. Hugely flavour­ful and with gen­er­ous chunks of beef, this is com­fort food at its best. Tangkak Beef Noo­dles is open daily but they won’t open shop if there is no fresh beef for sale at the lo­cal mar­ket on that day. It’s best to call ahead to check it they’re open.

Free park­ing, Child friendly. Daily, 9am–5pm. $$

Ko­pi­tiam

Ah Chuan Wan Tan Mee 130 Batu 36, Jalan Jo­hor.

Tucked away in a cor­ner of the cof­fee shop, Ah Chuan is cham­pi­oned by lo­cals and Sin­ga­pore­ans alike. From the first gen­er­a­tion, the owner still uses noo­dles that are hand-kneaded by the tra­di­tional bam­boo stick, a la­bo­ri­ous and rare prac­tice to­day. Jo­hor’s unique ver­sion of wan­tan mee is served with tomato and chilli sauce with very thin slices of char siew and aro­matic lit­tle morsels of wan­tan.

Daily, 9am–6pm. $

Heng Heng Wan Tan Mee 766 Ta­man Ang­gerik, Jalan Parit Mesjid (012 772 8583).

Es­tab­lished in 1948, Heng Heng Wan Tan Mee is one of the pi­o­neer stalls in Pon­tian, re­puted to be de­scended from the same founder of Ah Chuan. Wan­tan noo­dles in Pon­tian are one of a kind. In­stead of con­ven­tional soy sauce, you will find the noo­dles soaked in tomato sauce, chilli sauce, oys­ter sauce, and soy sauce, almost like a lo­cal ver­sion of pasta. With a home­made recipe for the wan tan and char siew, you’ll be sur­prised to find fish balls in this very au­then­tic Jo­ho­rian dish.

Sat–Thu, 9am–4.30pm. $

Kedai Kopi Lu San 33 Jalan Haji Abu, Muar (016 612 3963).

Muar’s older dwellers will re­mem­ber the glory days of Lu San restau­rant in the ’60s. The restau­rant might not be as popular as be­fore, but its Hainanese curry rice has sur­vived the test of time and re­mains one of the favourite dishes amongst lo­cals. Look for the brick red walls and white­washed win­dows. Kept con­stantly bub­bling in the pot, the rich and thick curry is rem­i­nis­cent of Ja­panese cur­ries. For side dishes, you can choose from salted fish, assam prawn or braised pork and eggs.

Free park­ing. Daily, 9am–8pm. $

NEW Kin Wah Ko­pi­tiam 8 Jalan Trus, JB.

It’s not a true Malaysian ko­pi­tiam break­fast if per­fectly runny half boiled eggs are not present. Kin Wah Ko­pi­tiam’s owner per­son­ally boils, cracks, and serves th­ese kam­pong eggs, with deep orange yolks and wob­bly egg whites. With a dash of soy sauce and white pep­per, you can be sure you’ve started the day right. Other sta­ples at Kin Wah in­clude Hainanese cof­fee, kaya toast and mee siam. If you’ve missed the morn­ing rush, all is not lost. From 10am to 2pm, the nasi padang stall takes cen­tre stage with crowds of lunchtime reg­u­lars.

Break­fast, 7am–12noon. $

Klu­ang Rail Cof­fee Next to Klu­ang KTM Sta­tion (012 728 8802/www.klu­an­grail­cof­fee.com.my).

Klu­ang Rail Cof­fee has ex­panded to var­i­ous out­lets through­out the coun­try, with three out­lets in Klu­ang alone, but the orig­i­nal Klu­ang out­let lo­cated next to the rail­way sta­tion is still the toast of the town. Re­tain­ing all its small town au­then­tic good­ness, Klu­ang Rail Cof­fee serves up de­li­ciously strong cof­fee, per­fectly bal­anced white toast as well as the hum­ble roti kah­win, a type of bun that seem to be de­signed to carry the flavours of kaya and but­ter to greater heights. In true ko­pi­tiam fash­ion, half-boiled eggs are a must on the menu, and for some­thing savoury, their ridicu­lously cheap nasi lemak comes in tiny pack­ets of fluffy rice and punchy sam­bal. We would take a train trip by down to Klu­ang just for this.

Fri–Wed, 7am–12noon, 2.30pm–6pm. Closed on Thurs­days. $

Restoran Pan­dan Jalan Bakawali 37–39, Ta­man Jo­hor Jaya (012 768 0990).

There’s only one thing you need to or­der when you come here – their beefy meat­balls. We are not jok­ing when we say that this popular beef noo­dle shop has a large loyal fol­low­ing. Tourists from Sin­ga­pore of­ten swarm the restau­rant over the week­end. Opt for the dry noo­dle with fried garlic oil and home­made chilli sauce that comes with a bowl of fra­grant and pep­pery soup. The balls are firm to the bite with­out be­ing chewy. There are also beef in­nards avail­able for those with a taste for of­fal. Word of ad­vice: come early to avoid dis­ap­point­ment. It’s al­ways a ‘sold-out’ show just after noon.

Free park­ing. Tue–Sun, 7.30am– 4.30pm. $

Restoran Yi Bao

5 Jalan Maju, Ta­man Pe­langi, JB/15 Jalan Tan­jung 1, Ta­man Desa Ce­mer­lang, Ulu Ti­ram (019 763 1313).

At first glance, you might won­der what all the buzz is about. This grungy­look­ing stall is fa­mous for its tra­di­tional Hokkien mee hoon kueh. A bowl of mee hoon kueh with minced meat balls, slices of lean pork, fried an­chovies and sayur ma­nis will only cost you the sweet price of RM5.50. Do it like the lo­cals and add a runny egg for a smoother soup. From the limited menu on the wall, we like the mee hoon kueh be­cause they are thinly sliced and have a springy mouth-feel. Of­fice work­ers and lo­cals usu­ally pack the place dur­ing lunch hours, so come ear­lier to avoid the queues.

Fri–Wed, 9.30am–7.30pm. $

Shoon Huat Bak Kut Teh 236 Jalan Sutera 1, Ta­man Sen­tosa, JB.

Like most good eater­ies in Jo­hor, Shoon Huat Bak Kut Teh’s shop with its slightly faded red sign­board looks very hum­ble. But there is a rea­son why this bak kut teh stands out among the rest in this lo­cale. Un­like the usual herb-and­pep­per-heavy con­ven­tional bak kut teh, the soup here is clear, sweet and tinged with a hint of salti­ness. The clay­pot bak kut teh is served with pieces of ribs and meat and but­ton mush­rooms. Also, they of­fer free flow of soup.

Ma­mak Be­ri­ani Gam Dahlia 38 Jalan Dahlia 20, Ta­man Dahlia, Tam­poi, JB (019 783 4343).

It’s only in Jo­hor that you can find nasi be­ri­ani gam, an ad­dic­tive ver­sion of biryani that is coated with spices. Pa­tro­n­ised by many lo­cal politi­cians, Be­ri­ani Gam Dahlia serves up a great ex­am­ple of the dish that the owner proudly claims is ‘fin­ger-lick­ing good’.

Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Sun– Fri, 10.30am–7pm. $$

Restoran Be­ri­ani Power 18 Jalan Tukas 2, Ta­man Soga (07 438 8987/ 012 712 0987).

Nasi biryani gam is a Jo­hor spe­cial­ity that can be found all across the state. Restoran Be­ri­ani Power is one of the places that do this dish re­ally well. Once a royal dish, rel­ish this lo­cal del­i­cacy at the very wal­let-friendly price of RM6.

Child friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 12pm–8pm. $$

Chi­nese

NEW Hua Mui Ko­pi­tiam 131 Jalan Trus, JB (07 224 7364).

Hua Mui Ko­pi­tiam has been an in­sti­tu­tion on JB’s culi­nary land­scape since the early days. The menu is a mix of Hainanese and Western, where fat pieces of chicken chop com­fort­ably sit along­side nasi lemak on the menu, while French toast and char­coal- grilled kaya toast are or­dered by the reg­u­lars. Strong lo­cally roasted cof­fee ties it all up nicely. Pretty good stuff. What sets them apart is the re­laxed at­mos­phere, as only a place as old and as es­tab­lished as Hua Mui can have. Get a seat up­stairs to see the an­cient dumb­waiter in ac­tion.

Free park­ing. Daily, 8am–6pm. Closed on pub­lic hol­i­days. $

NEW IT Roo Cafe 17 Jalan Dhoby JB (07 222 7780).

For some com­fort­ingly good chicken chop, head to IT Roo Café. Open since the ’70s, their sig­na­ture style of Hainanese chicken chops are per­fectly thick, with a crispy bat­ter on the out­side and suc­cu­lent on the inside. Even when the crowds get over­whelm­ing, IT Roo still dishes out con­sis­tent chops that live up to their claims of ‘best chicken chop in town’. There is much de­bate over that, but we'll set­tle on IT Roo for now. For some va­ri­ety, or­der the fried rice and sip on their house style root beer.

Child friendly. Daily, 12noon–9.30pm. $

Loke Tien Yuen 55 Jalan Abu Bakar, Mers­ing (07 799 1639).

Loke Tien Yuen is one of the old­est restau­rants in Mers­ing, the small jetty town that many pass by to head to the beau­ti­ful Jo­hor east coast is­lands like Pu­lau Tioman and Pu­lau Aur. Serv­ing Chi­nese food with crafty tweaks cater­ing to lo­cal taste buds, they are known for their steamed fish, prawn dumplings and sweet and sour pork. But in our opin­ion, def­i­nitely ask for rec­om­men­da­tions from the staff as some of the more de­li­cious items are not on the menu. Also, as is the cus­tom of th­ese small town restau­rants, al­ways call ahead to en­sure that they’re open for the day.

Free park­ing. Sat–Wed, 12.30pm– 3.30pm, 6.30pm–8.30pm. $$$ Meisan Szechuan Restau­rant Sec­ond floor, Mu­tiara Ho­tel JB, Jalan Dato Su­laiman, Ta­man Cen­tury (07 332 3800/www.mu­tiara­ho­tels.com).

Even after many years, Meisan re­tains their old world style of great ser­vice and great food. Lux­u­ri­ously de­signed with dark wooden pan­elling on the wall and a hint of gold, this ho­tel restau­rant con­jures up a charm­ing feel of Shang­hai in the olden days. Food is top notch, with a milder ver­sion of Szechuan cui­sine and seafood as the spe­cial­i­ties. Be sure to try the peanut soup and moon cakes.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11.30am–2.30pm, 6.30pm– 10.30pm. $$$$

New Hong Kong Restau­rant 69A Jalan Ibrahim Sul­tan (07 222 2608/www.nhkrestau­rant.com).

Bright and stylish with a good range of Hong Kong dim sum del­i­ca­cies, this restau­rant may not of­fer tra­di­tional Jo­ho­rian fare, but nev­er­the­less, you can come here for a nice change of pace to sam­ple what is re­port­edly the best bak kut teh in town.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 11.30am– 2.45pm, 6pm–9.45pm. Sun, 9am– 3pm, 6pm–10pm. $$$

NEW Mui Tou Restau­rant 1–2 Jalan Jaa­far, Kota Tinggi (07 883 1148/012 723 1057).

This is the per­fect place for tourists on the usual fire­fly trip. Con­ve­niently lo­cated near the banks of Kota Tinggi River, Mui Tou restau­rant has plenty of his­tory. With a wide range of selections on the menu, toasted pig’s feet with home­made sauce, steamed shrimps and taro pump­kin dessert are some of the dishes you shouldn’t be miss­ing out on. Off days de­pend on the book­ing of tours.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 10.30am–10pm. $$$

Restau­rant Or Hwu 214 Jalan Be­sar, Yong Peng (07 467 1204/467 6895).

If you ever hap­pen to visit Yong Peng, this lit­tle town has a Chi­nese restau­rant that spe­cialises in Fu Zhou cui­sine. It’s not the fan­ci­est place to eat, but their au­then­tic Fu Zhou dishes are too good to miss. The ter­rific deep-fried Fu Zhou meat rolls, filled with pork and mixed seafood, are crispy out­side and ten­der inside. Another favourite is Fu Zhou noo­dles that rely heav­ily on fish sauce and soy sauce.

Daily, 12noon–3pm, 5pm–10.30pm. Closed on al­ter­nate Wed­nes­days. $$

NEW Taika Huat Duck Stall 1B, Jalan Sku­dai Batu 8 1/2, (Lee Pineap­ple), Sku­dai, JB.

Au­then­tic places like this in Jo­hor are dwin­dling. Lo­cated be­hind Kuo Kuang pri­mary school, Taika Huat Duck Stall is one of the rare es­tab­lish­ments in Jo­hor that serves great duck meat, where puny ducks be­low 3kg are dis­qual­i­fied. Well known amongst lo­cals, it can be rather dif­fi­cult to find but we would sug­gest that you look for a big tree. The tow­er­ing tree throws its shade over Taika Huat (ru­mour has it that the stall founder planted it there), while lo­cals come for the braised duck sliced just right, with equal amounts of meat and fra­grant crispy duck skin. Or­der a lit­tle of ev­ery­thing.

Daily, 8.30am–4pm. $

Euro­pean & Bri­tish

English

George & Dragon Café

1-3 Jalan Glasiar, Ta­man Tasek (07 232 3761); 204 Jo­hor Pre­mium Out­lets, In­dah­pura, Kulaijaya (www. george­and­drag­oncafe.com).

In­spired by an old English tav­ern in looks and menu, this pub is the place to be if you have crav­ings for a pint and a meaty steak. A re­minder; the café can get quite packed dur­ing fes­tive sea­sons with their spe­cial of­fers so it’s best if you make reser­va­tions be­fore­hand.

Ta­man Tasek out­let: Daily, 12noon–11.30pm. JPO out­let: Daily, 10am–10pm. $$$

Span­ish NEW Eight Lido 8 Jalan Sku­dai, Straits View, JB (07 2227 808/www.eightlido.com).

Lo­cated in a re­pur­posed bun­ga­low along Danga Bay, at Eight Lido you get a view of the scenic Jo­hor Straits while din­ing on its Mediter­ranean menu and ta­pas selections. Fre­quented by ex­pats, gen­eral con­sen­sus is that it’s sur­pris­ing to have a din­ing op­tion of this cal­i­bre in JB (that’s a com­pli­ment). Come here for the ex­cel­lent at­mos­phere – per­fect for date nights.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Fri, 5pm–2am; Sat, 10am–2am; Sun, 10am–4pm. $$$$

French Chez Papa French 38-40 Jalan Jaya, Ta­man Maju Jaya, JB (07 333 4988/www.chez­papa.com. my).

Don’t judge a book by its cover; the plain white sign­board hides the best French cui­sine in Jo­hor. Manned by a French chef, here’s the place to ed­u­cate your taste buds with fine French dishes and a great se­lec­tion of wines. The ta­pas menu starts from 5.30pm while din­ner ser­vice be­gins at 6pm. To be hon­est, we were sur­prised that there’s true French home cook­ing in Jo­hor. Bon ap­pétit!

Credit cards ac­cepted. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 6pm–11pm. $$$

NEW ‘W’ Espresso Sport­ing Club CS01–12, Coun­try Gar­den, Danga Bay, Jalan Sku­dai, Sku­dai, JB (016 716 1098/www.face­book.com/pages/WEs­presso-Sport­ing-Club).

Ring­ing in stel­lar at­mos­phere and con­sis­tent brews, ‘W’ Espresso Sport­ing Club is brought to you by the team be­hind Mon­sta Café. The Sport­ing Club comes from London in the ’60s, turnta­bles, olive green so­fas, taste­ful mu­sic and all. Owner Yuan Feng spent time study­ing in London, hence his ded­i­ca­tion to the theme and de­tails. If Mon­sta Café is the colour­ful and quirky younger brother, ‘W’ Espresso is the grown up sib­ling of the fam­ily. Its Ja­panese-French fu­sion kitchen is helmed by a chef from Fuller­ton Sin­ga­pore, churn­ing out pro­fes­sion­ally plated dishes. They also pro­vide pri­vate din­ing ser­vices. Just give them a call in ad­vance.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 10am–10pm. $$$$

Ital­ian Il Giardino 65A Jalan Perang, Ta­man Pe­langi, JB (07 334 4239/www.jb­ex­plorer.com/ Il­gia­rdino/).

It is not easy to find a good Ital­ian restau­rant in Jo­hor, but the food at Il Giardino is sim­ple yet sump­tu­ous. The restau­rant serves up a vast se­lec­tion of Ital­ian cui­sine like pasta, risotto, and pizza that prom­ise an en­joy­able gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence. If you ever

crave good Ital­ian com­fort food dur­ing your trav­els, Il Giardino is your best bet.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 6pm–11pm. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free Park­ing. Daily, 12pm–11pm. $$$

In­dian

NEW Agneey’s Cui­sine Restau­rant 33 Jalan Ti­ti­wangsa 3/3, Ta­man Tam­poi In­dah, JB (07 235 5063/ www.eightlido.com).

For a rel­a­tively com­fort­able In­dian meal with air-con­di­tion­ing, Agneey’s fits the bill. From ba­nana leaf rice, roti kosong, naans to the best tho­sai in town, the of­fer­ings here are worth check­ing out if you’re in JB. Be warned that their ser­vice staff can get curt when it gets crowded, but go with an open mind. After all, you’re just there for an af­ford­able and tasty meal.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 8am– 11pm. $

An­nalak­shmi 39 Jalan Ibrahim, JB (07 227 7400/ www.an­nalak­shmi.com.sg).

Just like its sis­ter restau­rants in KL, Sin­ga­pore and Perth; An­nalak­shmi is run by vol­un­teers from the Tem­ple of Fine Arts. Since the cooks are mostly house­wives, you get de­li­ciously sim­ple home cooked veg­e­tar­ian fare at very rea­son­able prices. Have we men­tioned that it’s for a good cause?

Ha­lal, Mon–Sat, 11am–3pm.

Chakra Restau­rant 1 Jalan Yu­sof Taha, JB (07 223 9991).

For­merly a pre-war fam­ily home, this restau­rant bills it­self as one of the best In­dian restau­rants in town. To find it, look for the Petronas petrol sta­tion nearby. With dishes like palak pa­neer, chet­ti­nad fish curry, tan­doori and naans, Chakra serves up some au­then­tic North and South In­dian cui­sine.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–3pm, 6pm– 10pm. $$

In­ter­na­tional Gle­nea­gles Ter­race Pu­lau Springs Re­sort, 20km Jalan Pon­tian Lama, Pu­lai (07 521 2121/ www.pu­lais­prings.com).

Part of Pu­lai Springs Re­sort, the Scot­tish–themed Gle­nea­gles Ter­race has an in­te­rior that’s warm and re­lax­ing, serv­ing a range of Western and lo­cal cui­sine. The scenery re­ally con­trib­utes pos­i­tively to the ex­pe­ri­ence of din­ing here – a lush green golf course, plus the Pu­lai Springs Re­sort it­self af­fords a great view of streams and Mt. Pu­lai.

Ha­lal. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–11pm. $$$

Green House 39 Jalan Ros Merah 2/11, Ta­man Jo­hor Jaya (07 351 9929/www.green­house2u. com).

For some detox­ing or healthy ve­gan meals, head to Green House. Ev­ery­thing here is or­ganic and nat­u­ral. They of­fer or­ganic brown rice, whole grains, nuts and seeds, whole­meal breads and buns, and even or­ganic veg­etable de­liv­ery. For the kids, the chef is will­ing to tweak recipes to suit their tastes.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Sat, 9.30am–6.30pm. $$

Restoran Sing­gah Se­lalu 36-D Jalan Sku­dai Batu 3 3/4, JB (07 235 2233).

Since it is open 24/7, it’s no won­der that the Malay-Thai-Chi­nese in­flu­enced restau­rant which means ‘al­ways dropby’ is a fa­mous night spot for the lo­cals. The menu is pretty huge, enough to sa­ti­ate most din­ers. Ayam goreng sos Thai, fried rice, curry prawns and stim teo chew are some of the dishes rec­om­mended by lo­cal pa­trons.

Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Open 24 hours. $

Ja­panese & Korean

Ja­panese

Kage Sushi 133 Jalan Sutera Tan­jung 8/2, Sku­dai, JB (07 556 2043); 127 Jalan Austin Heights 3, Ta­man Mount Austin, JB (07 331 5427).

The for­mer Hik­age Sushi has revamped it­self with a new à la carte menu and name. Con­sid­er­ing the limited op­tions of Ja­panese food in Jo­hor, Kage Sushi is a pretty good choice. Fat slices of fish on sushi, in­ven­tive maki rolls and some sea­sonal items are also avail­able. For those with big ap­petites, Kage’s buf­fets come highly rec­om­mended by lo­cals. The à la carte buf­fet of­fers sashimi, temaki, yaki­mono, and grilled lamb shoul­der.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10.30pm. $$

Kam­pachi

Lot 506, Jo­hor Pre­mium Out­lets, In­dah­pura, Kulaijaya, Jo­hor (07 590 9277/www.kam­pachi.com.my).

Kam­pachi is one of KL’s most ac­claimed Ja­panese brands serv­ing high-qual­ity food in mod­ern grand set­tings. Now open in Jo­hor, Kam­pachi brings a touch of Ja­panese glam­our to the swanky Jo­hor Pre­mium Out­lets.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11am–10pm. $$$$

Kin­sahi 40&40A, Jalan Sasa 4, Ta­man Gaya, Ulu Ti­ram (07 861 7700); sec­ond floor, Plaza Pe­langi, Jalan Kun­ing, Ta­man Pe­langi, JB (07 335 9080); sec­ond floor, Aeon Te­brau City Shop­ping Cen­tre, JB (07 358 1388); Sutera Mall, Sku­dai (07 556 6308); JB City Square, JB (07 222 6188); F09, AEON Bukit In­dah Shop­ping Cen­tre, 8, Jalan In­dah 15/2, Bukit In­dah (07 235 8087).

With a slightly cutesy green logo, Kin­sahi is ba­si­cally the big­gest Ja­panese restau­rant chain in Jo­hor, after Sushi King. Prices lean to­wards the higher end. Some of their out­lets even have veg­e­tar­ian menus, which gives them an edge. Food can be a hit or miss, but as far as Ja­panese restau­rants go, Kin­sahi is a safe bet.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 10am–10pm. $$$

Ni­jyu­maru 24 Jalan Per­mas 10/5, Ban­dar Baru Per­mas Jaya, Ma­sai; 94 Jalan Sutera Tan­jung 8/4, Ta­man Sutera Utama, Sku­dai (07 558 9818).

Ni­jyu­mari’s a slightly more up­mar­ket place, with a pretty good se­lec­tion of

dishes. We love their fresh sashimi, which can be re­ally hard to find in Jo­hor. Their ser­vice can be hit and miss at times, so be sure to make a reser­va­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing week­ends. With pri­vate rooms for func­tions, this is a good place for spe­cial oc­ca­sions.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 12noon–3pm, 6pm–11pm. $$$

NEW Warakuya 43 Jalan Kun­ing 2, JB (07 332 0789).

Open­ing in 2011, Warakuya is the place for your fix of sashimi and teriyaki fried rice, tweaked to ap­peal to the lo­cal palate. Decor con­sists of wood and the restau­rant gets a tad cramped dur­ing din­ner­time. Warakuya has a pri­vate tatami room for those look­ing to have some pri­vacy. Al­ter­na­tively, it’s great for par­ents who want to keep an eye on their young kids.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Daily, 11am–11pm. $$

Malaysian

Malay

NEW Da­pur Jen­dela

49 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee 1/12, JB (012 781 3227/www.face­book.com/ Da­purJen­dela).

Trans­lated from Malay, Da­pur Jen­dela means ‘kitchen win­dow’. The quaint café-like restau­rant serves up home­style lo­cal break­fast such as lem­peng (Malay pan­cake) and ubi re­bus (steamed sweet potato) with sam­bal. Apart from th­ese lo­cal dishes, Da­pur Jen­dela has car­bonara and chicken chops for those who are han­ker­ing for some ‘western flavours’. Tak­ing up two storeys, this restau­rant with its cozy mis­matched fur­nish­ings is of­ten used for lo­cal tele­vi­sion film­ing.

Free park­ing. Tue–Sat, 6pm–2am.

Din’s Cor­ner A1, Pusat Ban­dar, Ban­dar Pe­nawar, Kota Tinggi (07 822 1228).

Din’s cor­ner is one of the first and long­est run­ning restau­rants in Ban­dar Pe­nawar, a small town near De­saru. Well-loved by lo­cals, this typ­i­cal­look­ing Malay eatery serves over 30 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of Malay dishes all day long, but the ones you shouldn’t miss are mee soto and lon­tong ker­ing.

Lat’s Place Pu­teri Har­bour Fam­ily Theme Park, Per­siaran Pu­teri Se­la­tan, Pu­teri Har­bour, Nusa­jaya (1300 88 5287/ www.play­time.com.my).

For kids and adults alike, Lat’s Place is pretty cool. Think of this state-of-theart themed restau­rant as some­thing like din­ner and cabaret. Live an­i­ma­tions of the clas­sic Malaysian comic character in­ter­act with staff and the au­di­ence and the wait­ers sing songs in be­tween serv­ing a set menu of de­li­cious Malaysian dishes. Ev­ery­one is catered for: there are menus for adults, chil­dren, and veg­e­tar­i­ans (upon re­quest at book­ing). Price in­cludes free flow of non-al­co­holic bev­er­ages and one com­pli­men­tary photo for two.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Mon–Fri, 11am–8pm. Sat– Sun, 9am–8pm. $$$

Mee Re­bus Haji Wahid Plaza Angsana, Pusat Ban­dar Tam­poi (07 235 0443).

As the name sug­gests, mee re­bus is un­doubt­edly the best dish in the restau­rant. This popular spot serves mee re­bus with gravy that de­serves a place in the Mee Re­bus hall of fame. Us­ing ground­nuts and dried shrimp, their gravy makes all the dif­fer­ence to this fa­mous com­fort dish. Word of ad­vice, try to avoid the lunch crowd.

Warisan An­jung Seri JKR296, Jalan Petri, Kam­pung Tarom (07 228 1099).

Malaysians don’t live in trees, but here in Warisan An­jung Seri, we do tree­top din­ing. With good qual­ity Malay food at rea­son­able prices, this eatery is lo­cated near the cause­way in a quiet part of town that makes it popular with lo­cals for a date or a night out. There are angk­lung per­for­mances to ac­com­pany your meal at night.

Child friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 12pm–8pm.

Ny­onya Anna’s Kitchen 18K, Base­ment, Jalan Ab­dul Sa­mad, JB (013 7422 168/www.face­book.com/ pages/An­nas–Kitchen/69851640053).

Of­fer­ing Pe­nang Chi­nese food from up north, this quaint lit­tle restau­rant prom­ises au­then­tic food from char kuay teow to Hokkien mee.

Free park­ing. Pork free. Mon–Sat, 11.30am–12mid­night. $$

Seafood Cha Siang Seafood Restau­rant 128 Jalan Sul­tanah, Batu Pa­hat (07 431 2024).

Cha Siang is a haven for all seafood lovers. In­dulge in de­li­cious dishes like bam­boo crab, aloe vera with cel­ery, home­made prawn frit­ters and hot plate oys­ters.

Da­mai Seafood Restau­rant 50 Jalan Kas­sim Noor, Kg. Danga Per­sisiran Per­ling, Per­sisiran Per­ling (07 241 2076/016 775 4646).

Da­mai Seafood is the best kept se­cret in JB city. Take a short drive of 20 min­utes from the city, have splen­did seafood in a rus­tic vil­lage at Da­mai Seafood. You can even opt to have your meal inside a boat. For fish­ing en­thu­si­asts, come dur­ing the day and catch your own fish for din­ner.

Mon–Thu, 12noon–2.30pm, 5.30pm– 12mid­night; Fri, 2.30pm–12mid­night; Sat–Sun, 12noon–12mid­night.

Good Luck Seafood Restau­rant 86 Jalan Telok Ra­mu­nia, Sun­gai Ren­git, Pengerang (07 826 3555).

Drive about an hour and a half from JB with an empty belly ready to be filled up with fresh seafood dishes, cooked Chi­nese style. More no­tably, Pengerang is a fish­ing vil­lage well known for their lob­sters, so do give the baby lob­ster a try.

Hock Kee Yen Seafood Restau­rant Gerai 10, Parit Jawa, Medan Ikan Bakar, Muar (06 987 5986).

The rea­son Hock Kee Yen, lo­cated by the beach at Muar, is a popular haunt for seafood lovers is sim­ply be­cause it is good. Dishes are sim­ple and vaguely rem­i­nis­cent of home style cook­ing, but re­ally flavour­ful. Curry fish head and assam fish are some of the spe­cial­i­ties here. They take a day off on al­ter­nate weeks, so it’s best to call ahead to avoid dis­ap­point­ment.

Free park­ing. Daily, 10am– 12mid­night. $$

Ikan Bakar Wak Jos 8 Medan Ikan Bakar Sabak Awor, Jalan Is­mail, Muar (013 618 5783).

If the thought of spicy grilled fish con­stantly con­jures up images of a

Malaysian gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence, then Ikan Bakar Wak Jos is the place you have to be. This stall serves up dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of ikan bakar. It is the best place to get af­ford­able and de­li­cious grilled fish in Muar.

Jade Gar­den Seafood Cor­ner Jalan Pasar, Kam­pung Sun­gai Ren­git, Pegerang (07 826 5460).

Fish tanks brim­ming with lob­ster greet you when you ar­rive at this restau­rant – try not to get too at­tached as one of th­ese guys might end up on your plate. Chi­nese seafood is the spe­cial­ity here, so pick up your chop­sticks and get ready for some ori­en­tal flavours. Po­lite and friendly ser­vice, rea­son­able prices and de­li­cious lob­ster is the rea­son for the al­ways full nights.

Medan Ikan Bakar Lot 6405, Jalan Al­sagoff, Pon­tian Be­sar (07 687 9546/016 793 6310).

Over­look­ing the Malacca Straits, Medan Ikan Bakar is lo­cated at the Pon­tian Be­sar fish­ing vil­lage. En­joy the pas­toral fish­ing vil­lage sights while din­ing on fresh lo­cal seafood at the open-air restau­rant. The fa­mous spicy ikan bakar and lala are must tries.

Mers­ing Seafood Restau­rant 56 Jalan Is­mail (07 799 2550).

So many Chi­nese restau­rants make it im­pos­si­ble for con­ver­sa­tion be­cause of noisy sur­round­ings. This es­tab­lish­ment of­fers a place for those look­ing for some quiet. There is heaps of fresh seafood year round here, with fresh catches mak­ing their way to the din­ing room daily.

Child friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 11.30pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm. $$$

New Kukup Restau­rant 1 Kukup Laut, Kukup (07 696 0216).

This restau­rant stands on stilts and is sur­rounded by ke­longs, the tra­di­tional plat­forms on stilts from which fish­er­men can ply their trade. It is a famed spot for lo­cals and tourists alike. Be­sides the ob­vi­ous good seafood like black pep­per crabs, ce­real prawns and le­mon squid, the restau­rant gives you a view of the Kukup Jetty. If you come dur­ing the day, you can even go on a boat trip to the ke­longs. Ex­pe­ri­ence a gen­uine pas­toral fish­ing vil­lage in Kukup Laut.

Child friendly. Daily, 10am–9pm. Closed on Lu­nar New Year Eve. $$$

Oa­sis Bay Restau­rant Lot 3522, Jalan Kam­pung Tan­jung Se­labu Mukim Sun­gai Raya, Bukit Pasir (06 985 8500).

A 20-minute drive from Muar will open up a whole new ex­pe­ri­ence at a se­cluded restau­rant sit­u­ated along the turquoise Muar River. The food served is not only scrump­tious but af­ford­able. Clay­pot seafood, fish soup with crab meat, and abalone with hot and cold

sour sauce are some of the spe­cial­i­ties.

Pork-free. Child friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 9am–6pm. $$

Restoran Per­ahu 15–15A Lorong 1, Jalan Zabe­dah, Batu Pa­hat (07 431 8796).

Billed as a popular night spot for lo­cals, this ha­lal restau­rant is a favourite haunt for seafood lovers. This hid­den gem, op­er­ated by Chi­nese own­ers, serves au­then­tic Malay dishes. Pa­trons’ favourites in­clude ikan pari bakar, bela­can bi­hun, hailam kwey teow, sam­bal so­tong and even tom yam. Gulp down some ly­chee juice or air jambu with asam to com­bat th­ese spicy de­lights.

Ha­lal. Child friendly. Dis­abled friendly. Free park­ing. Wed–Mon, 5pm– 12mid­night. $$

Sen­gat Seafood Restau­rant 58 Jalan Be­lanak, Teluk Sen­gat, Kota Tinggi (07 895 5116).

Sick of com­mer­cialised seafood restau­rants in the city? Teluk Sen­gat is only a 90-minute drive from JB city. Here you will find seafood dishes at af­ford­able prices. Or­der your choice of seafood and en­joy a good meal at this open-air restau­rant.

Ha­lal. $$

You Kee Seafood Restau­rant 55 Jalan Pan­tai, Sun­gai Ren­git, Pengerang (013 766 8929).

Sun­gai Ren­git is the par­adise for seafood en­thu­si­asts from Jo­hor and Sin­ga­pore. At You Kee, seafood comes in at the lower end of the price range. Their sig­na­ture dishes are the fried lob­ster topped with melted mar­garine and lob­ster stewed with Chi­nese herbs. Give it a try and you will be ask­ing for more.

Ha­lal. Daily.

South­east Asian Thai Restau­rant Tera–Thai 31 Jalan Ab­dul Sa­mad (07 222 6300).

Right in the heart of JB city, this Thai fine din­ing restau­rant is pa­tro­n­ised by many lo­cal celebri­ties. An au­then­tic Thai menu is the trump card of the restau­rant, but more tempt­ing are the in house spe­cials like som tham krob. Get ready for a hot and spicy ex­pe­ri­ence amidst the calm­ing gar­den of the restau­rant.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Ha­lal. Daily, 11.30pm– 3pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm. $$$

NEW P’Yai Thai Restau­rant 15 Jalan Impian Emas 5/1, Ta­man Impian Emas, Sku­dai, Jo­hor (011 2833 7041).

Open­ing in 2012, P’Yai Thai is one of the more au­then­tic Thai restau­rants around. Decor in P’Yai Thai is sim­ple, con­sist­ing of ele­phant mu­rals on the white walls and bright light­ing. Rec­om­mended dishes from the lady who took our or­ders in­clude seafood in spicy lime sauce, green curry and Thai otak-otak. Of course, one should try their pan­dan chicken, one of the best ren­der­ings we’ve had. Un­wrap the charred pan­dan leaves to re­veal suc­cu­lent chunks of chicken grilled to per­fec­tion, leav­ing a crispy fra­grant mouth­ful of meat. Now we know where to go for great Thai fare.

Child friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Free park­ing. Mon–Sat, 12noon–3pm, 6pm–11pm; Sun­day, 6pm–11pm. $$

NEW Tam Zabb Lao and Thai Restau­rant 48G Jalan Impian Bes­tari 3/2, Ta­man Nusa Bes­tari, JB (07 232 5859).

Serv­ing up sim­ple Thai and Lao dishes, owner Aphinya has had many years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the restau­rant business. From the owner to the crew, most hail from Thai­land and it shows in the con­sis­tent food qual­ity. Rec­om­mended dishes to try in­clude som tam, pork col­lar salad, pan­dan chicken and the mas­ter­fully grilled cat­fish.

Child friendly. Free Park­ing. Wed– Mon, 10am–11pm. $$

Fat­boy's the Burger Bar

The Sugar Pantry

Tangkak Beef Noo­dles

Nasi Be­ri­ani Gam

George & Dragon Café

Ikan bakar

Gle­nea­gles Ter­race

Thai green curry

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