Thursday, December 26, 2013

Food in Johor Bahru- Tan Hiok Nee Road and Eight Lido

Tan Hiok Nee was a rich and famous person in Johor Bahru (JB). Born in 1827, he had a humble beginning as a small textile retailer but his turned to be the most prominent businessman after sultan of Johor granted several concessions to him. Well, we are not going to have a history class here. You can find more information about Tan at Wikipedia

One of the streets at the center of Johor Bahru has been named Tan Hiok Nee Road to commemorate his contribution to the state. Tan Hiok Nee Road is located at the southern end of Wong Ah Fook Road, around 400 meters south from JB City Square. Streets nearby are Dhoby Road, Pahang Road, Trus Road, and Segget Road. Parking our car was the biggest problem around the area. The streets were always congested and we had to park our car a few streets away. Illegal parking might be risky as we noticed frequent policemen patrol around the area. A feast ended with a fine ticket on the windscreen was the last thing that we wished. In our last visit to JB, we went to the street two consecutive days for food and we would like to share what we found at Tan Hiok Nee Road.

Tan Hiok Nee Road has been transformed into a Chinese cultural and heritage street.

The street was well decorated. We saw a few people did some drawing in front of the shop lot (lower left). A wall with the words "It is more blessed to give than to receive"- a verse taken from the Holy Bible (lower right).

The arch of Tan Hiok Nee Road was flanked by two kopitiam. By random, we visited the left one- Kedai Makan Old Street Corner (upper left). The kopitiam had enough ceiling fans to keep us cool in the middle of the day (upper right), and served several traditional Chinese delicacies which for us, up to the standard to be recommended to all of you. By the way, the coffee served, both hot and cold were really good.

The shop next to Old Street Corner- Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory attracted our attention with the people gathered outside of the shop (upper left). Well, the bakery was unique with the baking done by a big brick-made oven heated by firewood (upper right). Yes, wood! The old-fashioned oven was so big that it took up more than half of the shop (lower right). Well, we were lucky to grab ourselves one box of banana cakes (with RM8). The taste- excellent! As the factory only bake the bread once in a day, so we will see the queue only when the bread is almost done during the noon time. For the rest of the time, we can get other products such as buns and cakes quite easily. Hiap Joo which operated since 1919 was rated 5 out of 5 in Tripadvisor. The location- 13 Tan Hiok Nee Road.

We tried the noodle with beef tripe (lower left) and beef (lower right) at Triple K. Both were excellent. Well, one down side- the shop was warm even with the air-conditioners on. The shop seemed to be renovated, but the back side of the shop looked unappealing. Recommended? Yes, but be prepared to be sweaty. Anyway, the shop is located at the opposite side of Hiap Joo Bakery at 65, Tan Hiok Nee Road. Price per person was about RM10.

The shop was old. The owner had been cooking Teow Chew noodle there since 1969. According to the newspaper cutting, the soup for the noodle was cooked with firewood. We tried the dry noodle and noodle with soup. The noodle was good, but the overall taste were not what we had expected. The soup was a bit tasteless (for us). Well, that's Teow Chew noodle. If you wish to try some, please visit Kedai Makanan Sang Heng at 7, Tan Hiok Nee Road (beside HSBC Bank). Price per person was around RM5.

IT Roo was crowdy during lunch hours. The air-conditioning room was fully occupied during our visit. No choice, we took a table outside the shop. It was warm. Dubbed itself as "the best chicken chop in town", haha, it could be more appropriate to state as "the cheapest" with the price range from RM15 - RM25 per serving.

The air conditioned room was fully occupied (upper left), with some decorations on the wall (upper right). We tried steak with black pepper gravy (lower left) and roasted chicken chop with mushroom. The taste, to be frank, second upper. However, by putting the price and the location into our consideration, we might visit it again. IT Roo is located at 17, Dhoby Road (corner lot at the junction with Pahang Road).

If you happen to make a brief stop at JB, we would recommend that you grab some banana cakes from Hiap Joo Bakery and take a cup of coffee at Old Street Corner. If you opt for a more filling meal, then Triple K is a good choice. How about IT Roo? A big yes if you are fancy about western food, particularly chicken chop with fair price. Anyway, frankly speaking, we can get nice chicken chop all over Malaysia (price is another story), so in case you have travelled a thousand miles to JB, we would suggest that you should try something more "indigenous". You can find out more about our sharing on nice food in JB here.

Not to forget one more place that we visited for nice Spanish food- Eight Lido. Our friend Chia En recommended us to visit the nice British-style bungalow at Lido Beach for its nice environment. Well, she was right, that place was excellently decorated on the inside and well landscaped on the outside. But we almost left immediately after we knew that it served Spanish food. Come on, going to JB for Spanish food just didn't make sense to us. 

However, after a short discussion, Kelly urged us to stay, as she mentioned that if we wish to just take a try on Spanish food, that will be our best chance, for the price for the same type of food minus the nice environment in Kuala Lumpur cost double the figures in the menu. Well, too bad, we stayed and took Spanish food in JB.

Alright, the price was half compared to Kuala Lumpur, how about the quality? We had never tried Spanish food before but Kelly did, for a few times. Her comment- excellent. The food tasted authentic with unbeatable freshness. 

 The smoking section of Lido Eight. The non-smoking section was fully occupied during our visit.

 The outdoor dining area facing the strait.

Food for our dinner- Costilla de res estofada en salsa de vino tinto (braised beef ribs in red wine sauce) (upper left), Paella arruz negros (Rice and seafood with squid ink) (upper right), Gambas frescas con chile ajo y aceite de oliva (fresh prawns with chilli pepper, garlic and olive oil) (lower left), and Croquettes de pollo y queso (chicken and cheese croquettes with honey mustard). Together with the drinks, we spent around RM50 per person for the first-time-in-our-life spanish dinner. If you wish to try something not local to JB, such as Spanish food, then Eight Lido is definitely the place for you! The location, 8, Skudai Road (facing the strait). Open time was 6 pm onwards. We would like to thank Allan, the owner of Eight Lido and his crew for the great services. 

More about our experience in Johor Bahru can be found in our previous posts:


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  4. Dear friends, time flies and many things have changed for the pass 4 years. A few of the eateries have moved to new locations (within the same area), while others upgraded. So these shops might not look exactly the same as shown. Nonetheless, we can still find nice food around Tan Hiok Nee Road.

    Sorry for the inconvenient caused.