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  • Writer's pictureRick

What to Eat in Taman Sri Tebrau, Johor Bahru (新山大马花园) (2022)

Many people, especially travellers from Singapore, will go to KSL City Mall for shopping, movies and dining, and will usually stay inside the mall. Those who are willing to wander out of the mall will be rewarded with many cheap and good local food in Taman Abad and Taman Century.

For those who are willing to go a little further, about 600 metres more, there is another food haven in Taman Sri Tebrau. The name "Taman Sri Tebrau" may not be familiar to most people but just mention "大马花园" (Dai Mah Garden), "Pelangi" or "Sentosa" and it will probably ring a bell somewhere. To be precise, Dai Mah Garden is a night market in Taman Sri Tebrau, Taman Pelangi and Taman Sentosa are areas adjacent to Taman Sri Tebrau.

After nearly 2 years of border closure due to COVID, we are back to Taman Sri Tebrau for more local food. Apart from revisiting the eating places, we will also be adding more places that we did not manage to try by the time COVID-19 invaded the region.

1. Restoran New Lucky (新运海鲜酒楼)

Restoran New Lucky is a Chinese seafood restaurant located near the junction to Taman Sri Tebrau. We were there for crabs and also ordered other dishes, such as sweet & sour pork and kailan (Chinese broccoli). This is a nice restaurant to go if you are travelling in a group, especially for Chinese New Year reunions (reservation may be required) and other celebrations.

Opening Hours:

11:20am to 11pm daily

2. Seng Steam Fish Restaurant (成蒸鱼与肉骨茶餐馆)

Further down Jalan Keris, at the intersection with Jalan Rentaka, is Seng Steam Fish Restaurant that only the locals will know. Most people will not come this far as it is really quite some walking distance unless using cabs or driving. But if the food is good, there is no holding back regardless of how far we have to walk to get there.

Seng Steam Fish Restaurant looks a little run-down from the outside, but never judge it by its look, it is the tastes of their food that count. The restaurant is always crowded on weekends and during lunch time on weekdays. So, go early before all the nice food are sold out.

We ordered four dishes, including their popular boneless, crispy fish with mayonnaise, bak kut teh (pork ribs soup), braised beancurd with preserved vegetables and a small portion of dong po pork belly (东坡肉) and a green vegetable dish. All in small sizes for 2 person to try more dishes. Since we ordered most of their signature dishes, we are all thumbs up for the food.

We did not order their signature steam fish because there were just two of us, but we will be back again to try it and with a bigger group.

Opening Hours:

8am to 2:30pm | Closed on Monday

3. Kedai Makanan Ah Soon (亚顺肉骨茶茶室)

For those of you who like to have bak kut teh, try the pork ribs soup at Ah Soon. Located nearer to the main road along Jalan Keris 1, the coffee shop is easy to get to. And it is very crowded on weekends.

Ah Soon's pork ribs soup is nicely done with mild herbal and can be added with other ingredients such as cuts of pig tail or belly meat, enoki mushrooms, etc. Their sesame oil chicken (麻油鸡) is also another hot favourite among regular customers.

Opening Hours:

8am to 4pm | Closed on Monday

Additional info: There are at least another two restaurants selling bak kut teh along the lane of Jalan Keris 1 and Jalan Sutera 1. There is also a new setup along Jalan Keris. Including Seng Steam Fish Restoran, Taman Sri Tebrau is the place to go for pork ribs soup.

4. Restoran Ah Piaw Wanton Noodle (亚标云吞面)

There are quite a number of shops selling wanton (pork dumplings) noodle around KSL City and in Taman Sri Tebrau and Ah Piaw's wanton noodle stands out among them. Their noodle is made with duck eggs — which seems to be very popular in Malaysian dishes. The sauce used for mixing the noodle is also not oily.

Other than wanton noodle, they also serve Muar otak-otak (spicy fish paste in banana leave and grilled before serving). It's a great place to try two popular Johor dishes at the same time.

Opening Hours:

24 Hours

5. Restoran 59 Abalone Noodle (温59鲍鱼粿条汤)

Restoran 59 is located beside Ah Piaw Wanton Noodle. It's bowl of abalone kway teow (flat noodle) soup contains a lot more ingredients than expected. It has 4 slices of abalone, 2 big prawns, fish balls, oysters, a piece of fish maw, both minced and slices of pork and some greens. I can taste the freshness of both seafood and pork in the soup.

The slices of abalone were also specially prepared — they were not totally defrosted and deliberately placed above the hot soup to prevent it from being soaked and heated for too long. I dipped the abalone in the soup to warm it a little before eating, it is slightly crunchy and not too soft.

Opening Hours:

1pm to 4am | Closed on alternate Monday

6. Zainal's Place

Zainal's Place is located to one end of a row of shophouses along Jalan Keris. I tried their signature mee rebus and sup tulang (soup with two pieces of lamb shank bones) on two occasions.

Zainal's mee rebus is different from other mee rebus that I tried in Singapore. The gravy is not too starchy or soupy, not too sweet and without the sambal chili that is usually added in Singapore. The sauce is more well-balanced. In addition, the mee rebus is added with deep-fried crispy toppings to add some crunchiness — it's unique.

Sup tulang, another specialty, can be added with noodles or rice cake (Malay ketupat). A straw is provided for sucking the bone marrow. The meat is nicely cooked and easily detached from the bones using just a fork. As expected from traditional sup tulang, there is not much meat on the bones.

A piece of lamb shank bone can also be added to mee rebus. I did not know that until I saw someone at the next table ordering it. It will be like trying both dishes on one plate. For those who like to have more mutton, do try their stewed lamb.

Opening Hours:

8am to 5:30pm | Closed on Friday

7. Restoran Yu-Ee Hong Kong Congee (友谊茶餐室香港粥)

Also located along Jalan Keris 1, Yu-Ee serves only Hong Kong congee during the day. More food fares are available in the evening.

Apart from traditional century egg congee, they also serve a variety of other congee, either with minced pork, shredded chicken, cuttlefish, sliced fish, crab, prawns, seafood, frog, or abalone, etc. This is the place to go for congee with different ingredients on each visit. You can even ask for ingredients to be mixed / added to have your "self-concocted" bowl of hot congee.

Opening Hours:

7:30am to 6pm | Daily

8. Restoran Wang Xiang Noodle (万香生肉面)

Located right next to Zainal's Place, Wang Xiang Noodle serves pork noodles in either soup-based or dry-style with sauce. Diners can choose from various type of noodles or rice and add-on with sliced meat, meatballs, tendons or innards. Hakka-style yong taufu (客家酿豆腐) are available as side dishes too.

I had tried both the kueh teow soup and dry kolok mee with sliced lean meat, pig livers and yong taufu. The thinly-sliced meat are fresh, soft and real tender. And the tasty charcoal-boiled soup is not too salty. Note that the chilli is very spicy.

Opening Hours:

8:30am to 5pm | Closed on Monday



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