Johor Bahru 2D/1N Work Trip

I was in Johor Bahru for work last week! I ate at the famous Woon Kiang Kuey Teow Kia in JB but didn’t manage to eat other local food since we had an event there. We mostly ate near the hotel, branch office or the airport at other times. Our HQ team was staying at Midori Concept Hotel – we arrived slightly past lunchtime and headed over to the shops nearby for food.

Grandma Traditional Tastes was one of the few restaurants still open at 3 pm. We ordered their Traditional Curry Seafood Bamboo Pot, which is a medley of prawns, mussels and squid inside an open bamboo tube. The broth is a curry sauce base which tastes really good with rice.

Signature Golden Crust Beancurd is their version of in-house fried tofu. The exterior was crispy and it had some kind of seaweed crust. There’s a bit of gravy at the bottom and some mushrooms and broccoli to round up the tofu with vegetables.

Signature Ice Gu Lao Pork With Lemon was our choice of protein. This is sweet and sour pork served inside a bed of ice! It’s one of their flagship dishes. The gu lao pork is cooked normally but chilled down inside the ice until it becomes cold. It’s unusual and different. I think it works better as an appetizer than a main dish to go with rice though.

I grabbed a boba at The Yunique Tea for dessert. This is a bubble tea from Taiwan with a similar logo to Daboba (bear) but with a cap on the bear.

We headed over to Woon Kiang Kuey Teow Kia for a very late dinner later that night. This is a JB institution which is open till late – or more like, early in the morning. There’s a busy station with various cuts of pork and pork innards.

The place was packed even at midnight on a working weekday!

This is everything we’ve ordered – there’s braised chicken, braised egg, tofu, stomach, liver, intestine, pickled vegetables and lean pork.

You eat the dishes with this kueh tiaw kia soup dish. This is a thin, flat noodle inside a mild tasting broth.

I like it. I can see why people enjoy these things. It’s not my first choice since I prefer more heavily seasoned food but I’m glad I tried it. They’re very popular!

Breakfast the next day was a quick Malaysian style spread of kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs at the café below our JB branch office.

We had Korean BBQ at Mount Austin for lunch!

This was a set for 8-10 pax with seafood, pork, kimchi soup and pancakes.

🔥

There were a whole bunch of us and we all ate our fill.

We were slated to fly back to KL that night so the four of us from HQ grabbed a quick bite to eat at the airport.

This is Lavender Bistro & Café in Senai Airport. It was still Ramadan at the time so they took a really long time to serve our food coz we ate around buka puasa.

I liked my order of salmon on crusty focaccia bread. I haven’t been to JB in at least 8 years so it was good to be back.

LEGO Friends LIVE @ Legoland Malaysia

LEGO Friends Concert

LEGO Friends LIVE is actually products and cartoons turned into real people for a musical. These are the little one’s favorite characters in LEGO! She watches the cartoons religiously and knows all about Andrea, Mia, Emma, Olivia and Stephanie. Her bigger sister is more into Chima nowadays.

LEGO Friends Dancing

Little E was looking forward to seeing the LEGO Friends characters in real life! smirk

LEGO Friends Stephanie

We were at Legoland over the weekend and we actually spotted the characters of Lego Friends twice – once when we were having breakfast in Legoland Hotel on the first day and the second time just as we were entering the park on the second day.

LEGO Friends Legoland Malaysia

Unfortunately, we were in the midst of eating the first time so we didn’t go out to take photos with the girls of Lego Friends and we wanted to get a family photo with a LEGO character the second time and by the time we were done the cast had finished their photo session and walked past us to get ready for their first show.

Real Life LEGO Friends

We could actually enter the Legoland Theme Park at 9:30 am since we were staying at the hotel (a full 30 minutes before everyone) and I’ll write about both the Legoland Water Park and the Legoland Theme Park separately.

LEGO Friends Cast

I just wanted to talk about us experiencing the first ever LEGO Friends musical performance in Asia!

Giant Balloons

There’s giant balloons which they threw to us and we bounced around back to them – a nice interactive touch!

LEGO Friends LIVE

It was quite a surreal experience – having watched the cartoons from the little one’s iPad, it took a bit of processing to see real life people looking and dressed up like LEGO Friends characters and *acting* like them too! They each have different personalities which are amped up in the musical performance.

I filmed a video of the sound check, skit, interaction between the real life LEGO Friends and a bit of the start of the concert. I loved how they really got into character – the kids enjoyed it, and so did we! I got the little one a nice purple t-shirt of LEGO Friends too (the bigger one wanted a LEGO Chima one).

LEGO Friends Real Life

We had an awesome time, it’s a good thing we made the time to drop by LEGO City Stage to see this musical. More about our family Legoland trip soon! :)

Greetings from Legoland Malaysia!

Greetings from Legoland Malaysia

We’re here on a 3D/2N adventure with the kids before school starts! We were at the Legoland Water Park for the whole day yesterday and we’re going to the Legoland Theme Park today. It’s a good thing we’re staying at the Legoland Hotel coz guests can enter the park earlier at 9:30 am before it opens to the general public.

The rooms are gorgeous, will write more about it when I come back. It’s time to go get some breakfast – we had room service last night coz the kids were tired and it wasn’t good at all. Unfortunately, most of the items were cold and one dish was inedible (stringy, dry chicken) but otherwise the experience here is great. The service and attentiveness of the staff is awesome!

*cue Everything is AWESOME!!!!* smirk

Shoplot hotels

zoom inn hotel

These things are popping up like mushrooms. I’m currently in Johor and staying at Zoom Inn Boutique Hotel in Danga Bay for a night. I got it online for about RM 90+ and realized that the walk-in rate is only RM 78. There are three shoplot hotels within the area (not including Tune Hotel) and from looking at all (the room wasn’t available until 3 pm) this seems to provide the best price-comfort consideration.

game over room

Ill omens and portents. (!!!) Game Over all over the room. I’m not sure I want to see that whenever I open my eyes. smirk However, it is pretty creative, each room is has its unique theme and decoration…and the repeating game over is tethered to a quasi picture frame of someone playing a console game. Very artsy fartsy.

sliding either or door

Either-Or sliding door for toilet and shower.

lcd tv shoplot

The large LCD TV right at the foot of your bed is awesome though – it has all the premium channels but I only watch Discovery Channel or National Geographic variants/spinoffs. I’ll be happy with those channels.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Pretty comfortable for a night
  • Good selection of cable channels
  • Friendly and apologetic staff
  • Creative rooms

Cons:

  • Weak to non-existent WiFi
  • Room is dark
  • No writing desk

bloodstains duvet

It also has stains on the duvet that looks suspiciously like blood. I can only imagine what the previous occupants were doing but since their hairs are still sticking to the pillows, a multitude of entirely unwanted vivid scenarios come into mind.

I’m still waiting for housekeeping to change the sheets.

Speaking of creative, MilkADeal is having an awesome deal for novelty 8 GB USB drives in a variety of designs.

usb drive
RM43 instead of RM68 OR RM54 instead of RM89 for Limited Edition 8GB USB Drive + Free Delivery within Peninsular Malaysia from USB Boy. Only 200 vouchers available! [Up to 39% OFF]

I collect USB drives, though not to this extent, but it’ll be perfect for Secret Santa gifts. :)

Lontong kering @ Warong Saga

hb hanis

How does breaking your fast with royalty sound? Warong Saga has been operating for decades near the old cemetery in JB. The proprietors running it are the second generation and contrary to popular belief, it’s named after pokok saga instead of Proton Saga. ;)

lontong kering

Anyway, Warong Saga’s main claim to fame is their lontong kering. JB makes the best lontong kering in the country, or so they’ll have you believe. Lotong kering is a breakfast meal of nasi impit (compressed rice), a potpourri of vegetables (long beans, leeks, potatoes) and a piece of chicken rendang.

pokok saga

The entire dish is then doused with a generous amount of peanut sauce. It’s a pleasure to use the nasi impit to wipe the gravy from the plate before devouring it. The multitude of textures and flavors in lontong kering makes it an ideal breakfast.

nasi impit

The walls of Warong Saga is adorned with sultans, prime ministers (both ours and Singapore’s) and other people of historical importance and it attracts a healthy local crowd for breakfast.

warong saga

This place is a bit hard to find for non-locals but if you follow the old royal cemetery and watch out for a small shop by the road you’ll see it. The lontong kering and the chill, relaxed atmosphere in Warong Saga makes it well worth the trip! :)

Mee rebus tulang gearbox

mee rebus tulang gearbox

I just had the best mee rebus tulang gearbox at Restoran ZZ Sup Tulang in JB. This is one of those local foodie treasures that you need a local to bring you to.

zz sup tulang jb

The place is a rather chaotic assembly of huts and trees. The huts with the thatched roofs is meant to keep the sun and rain off your head and I found that dining in nature whets the appetite like nothing else.

mee tulang gearbox

What is mee rebus tulang gearbox? Well, it’s basically Malay style noodles with an interesting component – the tulang gearbox part. Tulang gearbox is basically the large bones from a cow, usually from the shank. There is still quite a lot of meat, cartilage and tendon on the bones but when you request for it “gearbox style” it comes with a straw.

bone marrow straw

The straw is for you to suck the marrow out of the huge bones.

hb tulang gearbox

The portion of the noodles in mee rebus tulang gearbox is a bit small for me but the gravy is sinfully rich and delicious. It leaves you hankering for more. It’s about RM 8.50 and comes with 4 good sized bones.

tulang

You’ll find at least one HUGE bone in there and you’re supposed to insert the straw deep inside it and suck in all the marrow and juices. It’s a visceral experience like no other. The bone marrow is sweet, warm and hearty. It’s simply the best mee rebus tulang gearbox I’ve had!

On being photogenic

hb jayne

You know, I’m not a particularly photogenic person. The concept of angles and poses is like an arcane art which I never quite mastered. People tell me I look better in real life than in photos.

I was browsing through my photos from JB (the most recent one that I just came back from) and saw this photo of me and Jayne drinking in the hotel room at night. We were both in our PJs and Jayne had this priceless expression on her face which I found hilarious.

She’s one of those people who’s really photogenic – the camera just adores her. It’s a great skill to have, but I guess it’ll forever elude me…it’s like how I can never style my hair properly unless it’s done by a hairstylist. :x

The famous curry fish head in JB at Kam Long Restaurant

jb famous curry fish head

There is a Chinese style curry fish head place in JB that seems to be VERY popular among the locals. Kam Long Restaurant serves curry fish head and curry fish head only. It’s their flagship, signature dish and…the only item on the menu. ;) I have heard about the prodigious queues forming just to get a taste of this very dish and I was very keen to check it out.

kam leong restaurant

The funniest thing I heard (which I didn’t get the first time) was from Lainey bff who told me – DON’T WRITE ABOUT IT. Geddit? I didn’t the first (or second time) either. smirk

curry fish head

Anyway, it just so happens that I was reading The Dead Cockroach’s review of the place the day before we were heading down. We drove along Jalan Wong Ah Fook twice and still couldn’t find the place so we stopped and asked for directions several times.

fish head

Okay, the problem with this place is that you can’t exactly see the Kam Leong Restaurant signboard while you’re driving. It’s obscured by some pull down canvas shutters to keep the sun out. It’s actually not hard to find – you just have to drive down from the BEGINNING of Jalan Wong Ah Fook and stop at the first traffic light.

queue

You’ll be able to see the queue of people outside the humble restaurant – just cross the road to join in.

curry fish head prep

It should be noted that the queue is not strictly first-come-first-serve. The small size of the restaurant and the limited seating arrangements allowed us (a group of two) to share a table with other people while if you’re in a larger posse, you might have to wait longer until a table clears.

steaming curry fish head

Well, since there’s only one thing to order, we went for the famous curry fish head for two people. It’s RM 18 inclusive of rice and you best be able to read Chinese coz there are no other languages on the menu. In fact, there is no menu, save for a small signboard beside the industrious kitchen.

kam leong curry fish head

I have to admit, the Chinese style curry fish head is very good. Lainey finished her rice, which is quite uncommon and I loved the curry sauce. They put in a lot of vegetables too – okra, long beans, tofu and so on but the fish head is the centerpiece and it does not disappoint.

hb lainey

The flesh of the fish is tender and juicy and the curry sauce complements the fresh fish head very well. My only complaint is that there isn’t enough fish meat to go around so if you’re feeling particularly hungry, order +1 people more than your group. :)

Anyway, I’m heading to JB again in a couple of hours despite just coming back early this week. Heh! We were in JB for Freedom. There’s another one this Saturday right in KL so don’t miss it! I’ll be going to the Freedom in Penang at the end of the month too!

The most WTF sign I’ve seen

pencuri

HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS LADIES!!!

(and gentlemen)

Spotted at a JB toilet. It basically says “Beware – Thief. Don’t hang your pants here. Thanks.”.

Surreal. In other news we’re staying at Zon Regency Hotel by the sea and Gods be good it’s a duty free haven.

 jb food

I can’t say much about the quality of food (it’s alright but nothing to write home about – wait till my next post for an awesome JB specialty). However, it IS exactly like the photo in the menu so no one can say that it’s false advertising.

jb view

The best thing however is the ambience – it’s al fresco dining beside the sea…and yes, you can see Singapore yonder.

duty free

…and the alcohol? Duty free prices baby. :D

6 Corner, Senibong Seafood

senibong

Senibong is a seafood haven located at Permas Jaya in Johor. I was very keen to try out this place since it has a reputation for having the freshest seafood in town. The restaurant we went to has been featured in Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, a local food TV feature. It turned out to be a truly extraordinary dinner!

jetty

Kampung Senibong is situated right by the sea and and boasts a long row of restaurants serving a wide range of various aquatic creatures.

catch

Senibong itself is a village of seafood restaurants and all of them display the catch of the day – everything ranging from the relatively mundane fish to exotic stingrays.

dining

I could be mistaken but I believe most, if not all, of the restaurants are halal. This is also another attraction since my experiences with halal seafood is limited, to say the least. The seafood I’ve eaten is usually cooked Chinese style and I thought it’ll be awesome to sample Malay style seafood. :D

sea

Senibong seafood is really just a long alley inter-spaced with private jetties owned by the restaurants. I imagine that’s where the fishermen unload their catch to be sold to the eateries. It manages to balance the fine line between commercialism and a quaint village like ambiance. I found the place very warm and inviting.

senibong seafood

The lot of us descended to 6 Corner, one of the restaurants in Senibong. Dusk was just setting in and you can see the sea stretching out from the dining area.

6 corner

I was told you can even glimpse Singapore from that vantage point.

bulb

Regardless, there’s just something about the sea breeze that whets your appetite like nothing else. :)

mussels

The first dish that came out was mussels cooked in a sweet and spicy sauce. The gravy was delectable! I nearly finished my plate of rice just from eating the mussels and the gravy inside.

fish

I thought nothing could surpass that but then came the fish. It’s deep fried and cooked with Thai chilli sauce and pineapples. I’m not sure what type of fish they used but it didn’t come with a lot of bones, which is always a good thing. I sat on a table that has the fewest people, just so I could eat more of the food. smirk

fish sauce

It turns out that the fish wasn’t sufficient so I was thick skinned enough to “borrow” the adjoining table’s dish. Heh! It really is that good. Who would have thought Thai chilli sauce and pineapples would make such a mouth-watering gravy?

vegetable

This is the obligatory vegetable dish. I’m not keen on vegetables, especially when there are other more delicious fare on the table so I can’t comment on this. I ate some anyway.

egg

This is just a plain egg omelet but 6 Corner somehow manages to elevate this simple dish into something extraordinary. The seasoning goes very well with the egg and the omelet neutralizes the stronger taste of the seafood dishes.

prawns

The deep fried whole prawns with chilli dipping sauce is awesome. I don’t know what they put into the batter but it tastes great and it’s crunchy enough to eat the entire thing whole – head and all. I also like the boat dish that it was served in.

calamari

I’m more blasé about the deep fried calamari. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but the other dishes were so divine that this feels bland in comparison.

tomyam

The tom yam soup is one of 6 Corner’s specialties as well. It’s very appetizing and spicy but it came rather late in the game so everyone was pretty full by then.

crabs

Just as we though the parade of dishes was ending, there was one last encore – black pepper crabs. I loved the sauce but I was too stuffed to eat more than a token claw.

dinner

It feels like I’m heaping lavish praises on the seafood here but I can honestly say that this is one of the best seafood dinners I’ve ever had in ages. It was truly an extraordinary feast. I ate so much I think my companions were taken aback. smirk



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