>> Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Last weekend, a group of us made a short trip to Muar to celebrate the 4th month of a friend's daughter. Just like how most Chinese celebrate their baby's full moon (1-month old), this Hokkien family celebrates the 4th lunar month of their latest addition to the family :) We were invited to the auspicious celebration in Muar, so we took the opportunity to make this our gathering as well!
As always, whenever we head out of Kuantan in the morning, we'll not want to miss out the opportunity to enjoy some warm, aromatic nasi lemak at Zaman Restaurant.
We didn't manage to order the roti canai as the queue looked 'never-ending' & we wanted to arrive at Muar by 12p.m. We'll have this in another trip.
The queue to get the nasi lemak took us at least half an hour to get our 3-4 packets of rice *ergh* Some people ordered 10 packets, some more, some less, so we had no choice but to wait in line for our turn. Mind you, 1 packet of nasi lemak isn't cheap here, RM2.20/packet.
The rice was really aromatic as it's loaded with coconut milk, pandan leaves & lemongrass. Each packet comes with a scoop of warm rice, a slice of cucumber, half a hard-boiled egg & a ladle-full of sweet-spicy sambal ikan bilis.
Was it worth the wait? I think if you're alone, don't bother. If you're planning to order at least 3-4 packets, then it'll make the wait somewhat worth it 'cause the nasi lemak here is no doubt delicious.
Back to the topic of Muar. We actually ate almost non-stop throughout the entire 2 days 1 night trip! Per way, it just took us roughly 2.5 hours from KL to Muar or 3.5 hours from Kuantan to Muar. Not too bad for a weekend get-away, eh? Here's what I would recommend:
Pork Satay (and Otak-Otak)
Kedai Makanan & Minuman Yong Kee
Jalan Haji Abu
Johor Darul Takzim
This coffeeshop is smacked right in the middle of town. It's a bustling area filled with restaurants, cafes & shops of various trades, so searching for a car park can be quite a challenge here.
The skewers of meat are grilled on a charcoal pit to perfection before it's served with a side of spicy peanut sauce, freshly cut cucumbers & fresh pineapples as well.
I have to say that these were really tasty! The pork pieces were tender, juicy, flavorful & goes very well with the cucumber, pineapple & spicy peanut sauce. I think we ordered like 60+20 sticks of satay in the end for a group of 9 people & this was on top of the other dishes that we ordered!
We also ordered some otak-otak (we're in Muar! Their otak-otak is famous) from the stall next to the satay stall (if you're standing in front of the satay stall, this otak-otak stall in on your right). There are several otak-otak stalls in this area & not all of them are tasty, so you've to keep your eyes opened for the 'better-tasting' otak-otak stall.
This otak-otak is not too bad. I prefer the prawn otak-otak to the fish otak-otak although it's spicier. We actually tried the otak-otak from another stall as well (same coffeeshop) & prefer this one as the texture of the otak-otak has less flour & more seafood pieces.
There were other stalls in that same coffeeshop selling chicken rice & wantan noodles, which had loads of customers, but our tastebuds just didn't go too well with their version of chicken rice & wantan noodles. We're probably too used to the 'heavily-flavoured' rice & noodles back in KL/Kuantan that what we had in Muar was below average/bland (in my personal opinion).
Dry Noodles with Sweet & Spicy Chicken Drumstick/Wings + Vinegar-Braised Chicken Feet
Kedai Kopi & Makanan Cheong Heng
Johor Darul Takzim
Most of our friends who have been to Muar previously were looking forward to having breakfast at this coffeeshop. All they wanted was the braised chicken drumstick. I had no clue how it was & what sort of taste it'll be 'til we were here on the Sunday morning. This place is packed, especially during weekends, as some of their dishes are weekend-only dishes e.g, vinegar-braised chicken feet.
The main dish that we ordered was the char siew noodles. You can opt for the spicy or non-spicy version, but I thought the spicy version wasn't evidently spicy; I could barely taste the spicy-kick! The only difference between the two options is the added chili oil to the bowl of noodles. If you can tolerate a very mild level of spiciness, take the spicy version as it's slightly more fragrant. The texture of the noodles is slightly different from what you can get in KL/PJ/Kuantan. The noodles are slightly thicker but has its 'springy' texture nevertheless. Quite delectable, really.
So this was the chicken dish that they were raving about! We arrived at the coffeeshop late on the Sunday morning, so they ran out of chicken drumsticks already. We just settled for the final 2 plates of chicken wings. The gravy was actually very tasty & appetizing! It trends towards a sweeter gravy with a 'kick' of spiciness (more spicy than the noodles!) & the fried chicken pieces were just well-soaked with the gravy yet not mushy.
We also ordered 2 plates of vinegar-braised chicken feet. This came as a surprise as more often than not, braised chicken feet are just savory with some pieces of black Chinese mushrooms. This version was alike the vinegar-braised pig's trotter/"shuen qu kiok" :D very delicious! Tangy/sourish, sweet & the fried chicken feet were soft enough that the skin falls off the bones easily!
I lost count on how many wantans I had that morning. I probably ate up more than half the bowl of wantan as it was quite tasty & the rest seem to not fancy wantans compared to the other meatier dishes.
Lastly, we tried their curry fish balls as well. The curry gravy was delicious, but I didn't find the fish balls anything spectacular. I won't mind ordering this again as a snack.
Sai Kee Kopi Serbok Sdn. Bhd.
> Muar 434 Coffee (Elephant Bean)
Tel: (+606) 951 3046
Business hours: 8:00a.m. - 5:30p.m. daily
Our friends were also very keen to buy some of Muar's coffee back to KL. I didn't know that Muar was well-known for their coffee, so I just had to try 'em out by buying 2 packets home.
This brand name is apparently the most famous in Muar & they even have a cafe for people to enjoy their coffee together with some cakes & food.
The cafe was nicely decorated with all sorts of coffee packets, coffee-making equipment & antiques that were part of the brand name's history.
It was packed on a Sunday afternoon, so I'm quite sure that there's something good about their coffee, eh?
Otak-Otak Cheng Boi
87, Jalan Lama
Taman Sri Emas
Johor Darul Takzim
Tel: (+6016) 644 9119
Business hours: 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m. daily except Wednesdays (close on Wednesdays)
I didn't have much time to look around & take more photos as we were rushing to head back home before dinner. As you can see from the photo above, you can buy the frozen otak-otak to bring home & steam or you can just order the otak-otak sticks to be eaten immediately.
Love weekend get-aways!