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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Johor Makan Trip - Part 1

After much long planning and talk, we are finally able to do our makan trip again. This is the second one this year, code name, Gems of the South by our semangat logistics plus cameraman. We are heading to Johor this time, the route will take us to Seremban>Muar>Batu Pahat>Johor Bahru. This round, we have 6 cars, my Ranger as usual followed by an Unser, an Alfa, an Avanza, a Jazz and a CRV ;).

We met up at our lead planner's place at Bukit Mahkota, or rather his resort out of the state :P. Thanks to a morning call I have arranged, I was, thank god, not late this time! In fact, I was the first person to arrive at the rendezvous point at 7.20am. Soon, most of the convoy arrived and as usual we get our walkies working, setup our GPS and get going soon enough.

From Bukit Mahkota, we took the old road instead of the highway, since its a beautiful morning and the weather is cooling. N36 lead us to cut through Mantin town before heading into Seremban. At Seremban, things got havoc when we reached our makan spot, the Seremban's wet market. We were told that Tau Kee wantan mee is good but its closed that morning.

Anyhow, at the market we find our individual parking and soon made our way to the market. The food court is located on the top floor of the market. I reached there at 8.30am, immediately head to the stall famous for the Mee Hoon Sotong as told by my colleague, the moment I reached there, they sold the last plate! At 8.30am, they have sold their last plate! At 8.45am I can see them washing up and getting ready to close for the day. Amazing, I think I should start selling this in KL, hehehe... anyone got recipe ar? :P

Anyhow, I then ordered mee hoon sotong from another stall, its basically mee hoon deep fried, then serve with sauce, braised pork plus yau yee (sotong/squid). It's not bad, I would imagine the one I failed to order would have been good. As most of the makan trip's member rushed to order their beef noodles, I went to stall in the middle, can't remember the stall name, maybe some of the makan members can remember. Anyhow, I ordered the dried one as it looks interesting with its own beef gravy and not the usual dark soya sauce. My kawan Blake whom I ordered the soup based beef noodles for later gave me a funny look of course, let's not get there.

To my surprise, the dried beef noodles is really good. Firstly, the gravy is like a thick dry beef sauce, which is served with slices of tender beefs along with other ingredients like peanuts, small pieces of salted vege I think, looks like it but don't taste salty. The noodles used are the thick vermicelli or better known as lai fun usually used in assam laksa. This is one of the best dried beef noodles I had so far, will definately want to come back for more next time!

After breakfast, as the rest are meeting up to continue the journey, I drove to the Ayer Keroh toll in Malacca to pick up my passengers. We eventually met up with the convoy at Tangkak toll which we exited and took the small state road to Highway 23 going passed Sungai Mati to the town of Muar. The entrance to this seaside town leads passed the Muar River before you arrive at the main town area. Its my first time to Muar, so I am glad I have the tour guide sitting in my truck broadcasting through the walkies.

From there, we head to Jalan Haji Abu and parked our vehicles and had lunch at the Kim San Public Cooked-Food Market, (GPS: N2 2.801 E102 34.131) what a name, hehe. Anyhow, looks like a coffee shop to me. Speaking about coffee, you will notice that most of the shops in town have this Cawan Mas coffee brand signboard all around town. Turns out that this is a famous local coffee brand, I actually brought some later and it's good. Also the other unique thing is that the town seems to have sky high antennas to receive Singapore's TV.

Back to Kim San, well, the whole road reminds me of petaling street, as you can see food stalls on both side of the roads and next to it are a few more shops selling food. So much to eat, really didn't know where to start. The moment I reach the entrance of Kim San, our kawan Jack is already there ordering food, I joined him to check out this funny round cake shape glutinous rice with slices of char siew (pork) on top of it. If you buy at least 3 pieces then the stall owner will heat it up for you on a flat pan, action also, must be 3 at least. Next to it are other stalls, selling grilled otak-otak in banana leaves, soya bean drink, etc.

The glutinous rice is ok, quite nice, I ordered a char siew with siew yok rice, a generous portion of meats were given with the rice and its RM2.50 per plate to my delight. The otak-otak is good and fragrant being wrapped with banana leaves.

As we leave the place, I bumped into this stall selling Muar Satay, looks unique, 40 cents a stick and I ordered some to try. The satay looks like its being marinated and dried on thick sauce. As they bbq the satay, they pack cucumber and pineapple then top with peanut sauce. When the satay is ready, its packed with the sauce, taste really great, love it.

After that our cameraman took on a holland tour around Muar town looking for the popular Yong Sheng Confectionery at Jalan Sayang. This place sells just kind of biscuits and local food produces. The only thing that caught my attention here is the Cawan Mas coffee.

As the weather brews, we decided to move on to our next destination, Batu Pahat. We took J31 and head further south passing by all the different parit, funny how every town after that starts with parit, first its Parit Bakar, then Parit Samsu, Parit Jawa, Parit Jamil, Parit Penyengat, etc. Anyhow, someone on the walkie mentioned that Parit Jawa have good assam laksa, so when we are at the Parit Jawa town, we decided to follow a signboard that points to a place selling Assam Pedas. We soon reach this food court next to a muara by the sea. Looks like its a small fishing village as we can see houses by sea after the food court. The crowd at the food court is ok but you can see the roads are busy with vehicles coming in and out that area. As we all get down, we realised that Assam Pedas is actually fish head curry. Since our stomach is still quite filled, we decided to move on after some of the folks took their drinks and photos ;).

Our hero in Unser says that his GPS shows an alternative route back to the main road, so everyone just followed. At first it was small tarmac kampung road, soon its red mud road, but dry and still bearable for most. But later, some part of the road starts to get muddy, you can see some of the cars getting reluctant or thinking about doing a u-turn. But since our hero leader keeps going, we continue, some hits the grass, some just follow, some struggle and I just wham and makes the road worst for those behind me as Joe put it, oppps :P.

After a trails of plantations, we finally made our way out to the main road again heading to Batu Pahat. As the day gets cloudy, we speed up and made our way to Batu Pahat. Quite a busy town with a lot of activities, again, its my first time and again, I have the Batu Pahat local guide in my truck too :). The local guide took us to Chop See Kee to eat wantan mee at Jalan Jerenang (GPS: N1 51.207 E102 55.637). I was told that this place have been in business for more than 50 years, and from the look at the grandma serving us drinks, Jack said, "from the age of the old lady, I am sure its been around that long" hehehe... indicating that she is probably the one whom started it.

Anyway, as we know the wantan mee in the south is slightly different, you don't get the usual dark soya sauce and its mixed with chili sauce. Not bad and something different. I like the feeling of being at small Malaysian towns, feels different and away. Anyhow, from there we move on to a visit the one of the biggest industry in Batu Pahat, the Tua Pek Kong business. You will be amazed how many temples this place have. Route J17 from town lead us to Kampung Segenting in Minyak Beku, its a small village by the sea. That's where the temple lies, there you can see Tua Pek Kong 大伯公, Ma-Zu 妈祖 as well as Palace of Sea Dragon (海龙宫).

This seaside temple is quite scenic, however the main attraction here is not just the sea, but a man made cave that houses 2 giant Arapaimas fish. Its said that if you touch the fish, you will get good luck and prosperous when you buy number. So, the first thing I did there is find the cave, get an available hole and wait for the fish to come! Hehe... but the chicken me hold back when the fish faces its head on me, from close range, no joke, its huge and scary. I only manage to touch the body as it swims away. No wonder didn't kena number after that :(

Since everyone is feeling lucky after the visit, plus we feel we had to do the right thing, and that is go buy number! Hehe... so we stopped to invest in town and contribute to the local economy before heading to the route 50 passing Seri Gading and Parit Raja to get into the NSE at Ayer Hitam toll. From there, we just cruise down heading straight for Johor Bahru.

Con't in part 2...

1 comment:

Jack Hii said...


"The otak-otak is good and fragrant being wrapped with banana leaves."

I dun think its banana leaves? Coconut leaves?