Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The day we "Balik Bandar" (KL-JB)

I always have this little irk whenever someone asks me "Tak balik kampung?" or "Kampung kat mana?". Not because i am ashamed of being called a kampung girl nor am i being a bloody stuck-up girl who has forgotten her roots. It's just not particularly correct because my home in JB is really NOT a kampung and Johor Bahru is a city. Moreover, both my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandma all reside in JB town too. Hence as much as it's merely a figure of speech because we Malay originally are all from kampung, but truthfully, my kampung is actually a bandar.

Anyway, we were really looking forward to this trip since the last time we went back was during
Hari Raya and every visit prior to that were all short ones (including the one during Hari Raya) due to our nature of work. So this time, we drove down south for a few days' stay after the last minute two-night stint in KK. We started our journey at 10.30pm from the LCCT Airport and finally arrived at my parents' home at 1am.

I had this idea in mind where this entry would be exclusively about
makan-makan because JB is such heaven when it comes to excellent food (i couldn't wait for the indulgence - yes, this skinny girl loves food! And what's more, my little nephew was there too! Mum is looking after him because my SIL was away in Terengganu for a training course). We already had a list of requisite places to visit in our minds, however i would be lying if i say that i am not at all disturbed by the development in JB and i personally feel that i need to have a write-up on this. So this entry will be anything but a short one, let me warn you.
[Sha, if you're reading this, i'm sorry to have to put up more entry on local food].
First, i thought of bringing hubby to a stall, near the fire station in Larkin for their famous
Kacang Pol, but when i woke up to hit the shower, i saw Kacang Pol was already on the dining table served for breakfast. Obviously dad had gone out early in the morning to get them. Mum must have told him that i asked about it the previous night. Sigh. Felt kind of bad, but was grateful nonetheless. (But i forgot to take a pix, sorry).

Later in the afternoon, we went to
Ayer Molek for an ice kacang session. This is a place where i have been to all my life, along with my brothers and cousins when we were kids. Grandpa used to treat us with the ice kacang after dragging us around JB town (and left us in the hot, steamy car under the scorching sun) while he went off to meet his suppliers and customers. The place is right next to the Immigration office building, opposite the Istana garden. Gerai Tan Kee serves the best ice kacang in the world, seriously! (Ok, i may be exaggerating, but i honestly never tasted any ice kacang that came as close to the one they have here elsewhere). They also offer local desserts and appetisers to die for like the rojak (buah), tahu bakar, sotong kangkung, ice jelly, cikong sejuk/panas other than the ice kacang! Hubby loves the charkueh rojak.. Everything isso yummy! I can drool just by typing about it.. hihihi. We actually made a second comeback on our third day of stay and i wish i had a bigger belly to stuff myself with the cikong. Yummmm... (gluttony alert!!)

The ice kacang yang tersangat sedappppp.
You must think that the above pix was suppose to be the other way round, right?
Well it's no accident, friends. The one below is him gorging on the second helping.. tsk tsk..
The ice jelly.
(It's shaved ice covered with fruit cocktails on top and sweet orange coloured jelly at the base.
Squeeze the lime, and you'll get a heavenly dessert!)

Hubby tried it for the very first time and concurred that it was indeed very good! We also had tahu bakar but i'm sure you know how they look like. Words can't do justice in describing how delicious the ones the have here. On top of that I had Nasi Ayam Goreng (from the stall next to Tan Kee's) which you can never find at any other place in Malaysia. It's different from Nasi Goreng Ayam, mind you - where you'll get ayam goreng alongside your fried rice. The nasi ayam goreng is fried rice served with chicken (as used in chicken rice) cooked in sambal and served with the chicken rice soup.

That night, we went to another eatery next on the list (it's a steamboat restaurant) called "Rawa" at Taman Pelangi. They serve chinese dishes and the steamboat is gooood! Our fav is the Lemon chicken in which they prepare like no other. The fried rice and Singapore beehoon are awesome too!

on the right is the almost finished Singapore fried beehoon.
We went to Singapore the next day (details on the trip will be posted next).

On the fourth night, it was
ikan bakar night at Gerai Tip Top. It's another hawker stall which used to be at the famous Tepian Tebrau. They are now located at a brand new place near the English College at Kg. Mohd Amin. The crowd was already flooded with patrons but we somehow managed to get a seat for 4 as the owner opened a small table specially for us, *grinning from ear to ear*! You can also get similar snacks & desserts as served at Gerai Tan Kee here but as i said, the one at Ayer Molek is the best! They don't even come close though located just a few minutes drive from one another. But the ikan bakar holds a different story altogether. Before, my family and i never actually had ikan bakar at eateries because they tend to smell for not being properly cleaned until being introduced to the ikan bakar here by hubby (then a mere friend of my brother's) years ago and it immediately changed our perception! The spicy sambal is devilishly lip smacking! If you are a fan of ikan bakar and happen to be in JB, you MUST try it!

He digs the crispy baby crabs. The otak2 isn't the typical orange coloured otak2. It's different.
A good different, i mean. Otherwise, tak le tinggal 2 je when the crabs baru sampai ;)

Ikan pari bakar smeared with the marvellous spicy sambal........

On Saturday night (our last night in JB), we get to dine at an old restaurant which serves local dishes as well as Western food. They are well known for their Chicken chop which was featured a couple of times in the newspaper and rated the
BEST Chicken Chop in town by The Star in 2003. The cafe is situated in the heart if the town at Jalan Dhobi. I've been meaning to bring hubby to this place for so long and i finally get the opportunity this time round. We were lucky mum made a reservation or else we would have to wait for seats as the place was full!

the place is called IT ROO CAFE, don't ask me why.

Now, this is a before & after pix. It was Deep fried Chicken chop and Chocohcino for me.
Tinggal tulang je on the plate. What does that say??
Yes, i eat A LOT :)

The crowd (with 2 familiar faces).
You can also sit outside if you're a smoker or that if you prefer the "fresh" air.

The walls are mounted with loads of old photos. Old radio, old clock, old F&N bottles are also being displayed as decor....
Oh, my eldest brother (left) arrived the night before to see how his kid was doing. Rindu katanya.. heh

Before i start my ramblings on the heart-rending development of the town, my makan-makan entry ends with breakfast bought from Warung Saga on the morning we were to leave the city. Even though mum said the lontong is no longer as good as before, my say is that it was still much better compared to other places and we picked up 9 pieces of Murtabak from Kg Melayu Majidee the day before to distribute to family and friends in KL. The only thing i did not get to eat was goreng pisang. I know you can get good goreng pisang in KL too but Johorean eat their goreng pisang with sambal kicap. KL takde..

[On second thoughts, think i'll post a separate entry on my observation on the city's dev & infrastructure because it'll be too long an entry here].

Anyway, here's another reason i enjoyed the stay as mentioned earlier:
he's grown so big in so little time!

Camera shy? Kalau ikut mak dia, tak kot... hehehe
Isn't he adorable? Tapi, dua2 pun cute.. that's baby Harris with my atuk.



syioknye mkn2 @ jb
bn ages since i last njoyed the food
kn balik ni!
there's one chinese restaurant 'huang moi' ke sumwhere tgh2 town tu
dulu mmg acara WAJIB makan there
& also sedap corner
& ns lemak mana lagi @ taman perling
& mee rebus lan janggut (kalu x silap)
& rojak asma @ angsana
& jb's yong taufu is simply yummylicious!
& season cake house
& etc etc etc

bile itu kakak coming back fr kursus? ye lah! haris makin nmpak besar!

pure_evs said...

my mouth is watering....wonder when hubby wants to "balik his parent's 'kampung'"....

AZRA said...

bukan huang moi la.. HWA MUI.. kekeke.. IT ROO CAFE nye tokeh tu sepupu sepapat dia la..

& sedap corner - pun dah lama x makan.. love the ubi kayu in syrup makan ngn santan
& ns lemak mana lagi @ taman perling - ni x pernah try pulak..
& mee rebus lan janggut - lan janggut dah arwah dah.. sedap kan mee rebus dia. I liked it better than Hj wahid's
& rojak asma @ angsana - ni pun sedap
& jb's yong taufu is simply yummylicious! - oh yesssssss! Next time nak kena makan ni!!
& season cake house - now sold to a s'porean. The owner bukak a new cakehouse & cafe 'lavender'. The food is good!

btw, ilie is back. Last thurs sampai. :)

AZRA said...

hey evs,

since the toks are here now, surely u guys won't be going back as frequent. But u are welcome to stay at Jln Bawang, though ;)


hah ye la hwa mui
memory rusty ok!

owh ya, lavender cakes pon canteks2 & sedap jugak kan...

Shahnon said...

hi there!
thanks for linking my blog. :)

er.. goreng pisang & sambal kicap?? first time dengar. heheh

BiTchy IdEaLisT In Th3 MaKinG said...

Azra, kat JB jek ABC letak koko wei.. Tempat lain mmg confirmed takde..Hehehehe

ms ngantuk said...

hah i pon penah mkn byk kali at hwa mui tu. famous yek.
btw yer blog ni mcm mkn2 travelogue, interesting!

AZRA said...

shahnon: hi! i find myself reading more about politics nowadays. That's how i landed on your blog.

Goreng pisang with sambal kicap sedap ok.. should try next time u go Johor! ;) Thanks for dropping by!

b*tchy idealist: yeah man, kat hawaii lagi la takde,kan?? hehe

ngantukalways: an accidental traveller. so happens we have the opportunity to travel more nowadays. Tapi after this he'll be busy again..

myself n kids said...

u make me hungry... hahaha!
"bestnye jalan2".. as usual.. dat's my remarks to evryone bile nmpak diorang berjalan sakan :P.. sbb i cant afford to dat at the moment.. it's 8.30pm n m still in d ofis!

btw, little harris dah besar!! feel like cuddling him tight! mama dia dah balik ke?

AZRA said...

hi there myself n kids,

thanks for dropping by. 8.30pm still in d office?? It's ok, you get paid. Nway, mama harris dah balik last week :)