At a trendy hipster cafe in Johor Baru, Hanna Hussein falls in love with dessert laced with coffee/

IT’S never a “no” if my family requests for a holiday in Johor Baru, even if it’s just a short one. It’s simply because the capital city of Johor state never disappoints me, especially its food!

I may be a little biased since I was born in Johor Baru, although I was raised in Kuala Lumpur and still live in the city. Plus, with hip and trendy hipster cafes popping up, there are more reasons to go on a food hunt in Johor Baru!

So, here we are on a road trip to the southern part of the peninsula behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Jetta Highline. The journey to Johor Baru takes around four hours from Kuala Lumpur, quite a lengthy drive actually. 

Fortunately for us, our ride for the trip is nothing but comfortable, especially for my parents seated at the back. The car interior is not only spacious, the luxurious leather seats are also very comfortable. 

From the rear view mirror, I can see that both of them are very relaxed while admiring the jungle and kampung views along the straight route of North-South Expressway. As the driver, I am absolutely enjoying the driving experience. No doubt, it is a powerful car as it can smoothly change gear and quickly picks up speed when overtaking. 

Well, it is a smooth ride with no heavy traffic during our trip so my co-driver (my sister) starts to list out all the food that we hope to try out during the 3D2N stay. While my parents want to dine at all their favourite local food eateries, my sister and I want to try out something new and hip. 

As a food haven, JB has a long list of must-try foods. Unfortunately, we can’t cover most of them as we only have the weekend. So, here are the eateries we managed to take in.


COFFEE BREAK

Upon reaching Johor Baru, my sister wants coffee so we check out one of the popular hipster cafes, the Just Want Coffee cafe, well-known as JWC.

It is a well-established concept cafe with outlets all over the city. They feature different concepts and menus. Out of five outlets, our choice is Homies by JWC in Taman Molek. It is a bit secluded as it is in a residential area. Parking is limited but we manage to get a bay nearby.

The cafe has a contemporary design with a bright interior and natural lighting, which makes it an Insta-worthy place to chill in. 

While my sister opts for iced-blended mocha, I feel like a cup of hot chocolate. There is a choice of chocolates — original, royal, brandy and grand marnier. I choose grand marnier.

We also order the highly recommended signature dessert, Hot Sizzling Chocolate Brownie, served on a hotplate with vanilla ice-cream on top , which is truly divine. But the cotton candy affogato — a combination of creamy vanilla ice-cream served with nuts and sweet cotton candy drowned with a shot of hot espresso — is the star of the menu. Aaah, such heavenly flavours!

I am not a coffee drinker but I am now falling in love with coffee desserts!

HOMIES BY JWC
WHERE Jalan Molek 1/27, Taman Molek, Johor Baru.
HOURS noon to midnight


FOOD TRUCK FIESTA

The food truck scene is becoming a trendy hangout and Johor Baru is keeping up. One hotspot for food trucks is at the Sentral Hotel Food Truck Carnival during weekends. Free parking is limited but there’s paid parking space nearby.

The carnival is teeming with visitors. The are varied food choices too. It is hard to make a choice since everything looks so good and smells delicious! But I try dishes from few food trucks and my favourites are Korean Hot Spicy Chicken by Deongy Food Truck and fusion pasta by Big Chef OTR.

SENTRAL HOTEL FOOD TRUCK CARNIVAL
WHERE Hotel Sentral Johor Baru, 17, Jalan Tenteram, Tanjung Puteri, Johor Baru.
HOURS 4pm-11pm only on Thurdays – Sundays 


STEAMY SOUPY

Md Aris Yong Tahu in Kg Melayu Majidee is a steamboat legend in Johor Baru.  It is my favourite food since childhood. I remember having this every time I visited my grandparents who live in Larkin.

What makes this yong tau foo special compared with the ones in Kuala Lumpur is the cow’s lungs – yes, you can’t find it in KL. You just grab a bowl and pick ingredients from a bar and wait at your table while they are being prepared. The ingredients are cut into pieces, dipped in hot steaming soup and served with a fresh delicious broth. 

MD ARIS YONG TAHU
WHERE Jalan Kenangan, Kampung Melayu Majidee, Johor Baru.
HOURS 5pm-11pm


CHEESY AND BEEFY

Another popular local dish in Johor is Murtabak. We have murtabak in Kuala Lumpur but it’s not the same thing! In Johor, the murtabak is bigger, thicker, stuffed with generous portions of meat and you can even put cheese in it. Eat it while it is still warm and you’ll enjoy the crispy on the outside, meaty and cheesy inside. Yum!

My favourite stall is Murtabak Majid in Kampung Kurnia.

MURTABAK MAJID
WHERE No. 38 Lot 5581, Jalan Kurniawan, Kampung Kurnia, 80250 Johor Baru.
HOURS 12PM-7PM


GEARBOX GALORE

Restoran ZZ Sup Tulang is another famous eatery in JB and here is where you can get to enjoy lambshank (or gearbox, as the Malays called it). So, here in Restoran ZZ, you can have it as a soup or mee rebus. Try both but my favourite is Mee Rebus Gearbox.  The portion is big and there’s a straw to sip the marrow in the bone.

The restaurant has a village feel as it offers little attap pavilions where you can sit cross-legged.

RESTORAN ZZ 
WHERE Jalan Petri 5/1, Kampung Bahru, Johor Baru.
HOURS 7am-11pm

nhanna@nst.com.my



VOLKSWAGEN JETTA HIGHLINE 1.4 TSI

ENGINE 4-cylinder petrol engine

TRANSMISSION TYPE 7-speed direct shift gearbox 

MAXIMUM TORQUE NM(KG-M)/RPM 250/1,500-3,500

MAXIMUM POWER KW (PS) / RPM) 110(150)/5,000-6,000

TOP SPEED 220 kph

FUEL CONSUMPTION 5 litres/100km

PRICE RM128,990

COLOURS Candy White, Platinum Grey, Reflex Silver and Deep Black

Volkswagen jetta Highline 1.4TSI is a sporty mid-size sedan that comes with 17-inch “Queensland” alloy wheels and chrome grilles which give it a more snazzy look. 

It looks a bit like a Passat as it incorporates the Volkswagen design DNA, featuring elegant design lines and redefined aerodynamics. 

The interior is also handsomely done and looks polished and expensive. It features keyless entry and push start, leather multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifters for easy manoeuvring as well as auto-dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, auto power windows and glove compartment. It has everything a luxury car should offer.

Plus, the Jetta is furnished with Vienna leather seat upholstery, height adjustable armrest with rear aircond vents, 12-way driver electric seat and dual-Climatronic automatic air conditioning system for comfort.

The new Jetta is an energy-efficient vehicle and features a start-stop function, regenerative braking and coasting function. Start Stop deactivates the engine when the car is at a standstill and reactivates when it starts moving, while regenerative braking recycles the lost energy by storing it and using it for acceleration. As a result, fuel efficiency is increased.

It is also said to be one of the most powerful cars in its class and I can vouch for it. The car accelerate smoothly and quickly picks up speed — perfect for a long-distance journey.

Bookings and test drive arrangements can be made at all authorised Volkswagen dealerships nationwide. For details, visit www.volkswagen.com.my

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