It’s a foodie’s paradise! While many flock to food havens like Penang, Malacca, Ipoh, or even Kuala Lumpur ,Johor Bahru flies under the radar. However, this food paradise offers some of Malaysia’s most authentic tasting foods with eateries and recipes being passed down for generations! If you wish to hang out at a cafe, we got you covered with this list of unique cafes.
Rich with nostalgia as it is with flavour, let’s celebrate this underrated food trail with this list of 10 best foods to try in Johor Bahru!
Places for Breakfast in Johor Bahru
1. Johor's Best Roti Canai (Paratha Flat Bread) at Roti Canai Bukit Cagar
Cheap, delicious, and filling, Roti Canai is every Malaysian’s go-to breakfast staple! You can get it at any Mamak restaurant, but if you’re in Johor, word on the street is Bukit Cagar will serve you the best version of this flatbread. The dough itself, unlike bigger chain establishments, is handmade daily fresh at the stall, flipped and stretched into the perfect round shape and thickness, the dough is then cooked on a flat-girdle til golden brown with a crunchy crisp outer layer, but still soft and chewy inside; Serving you the perfect Roti Canai with a side of Dhal, and if you like spiciness, a dollop of sambal (Anchovy Chilli Gravy) in the middle.
Roti Canai Bukit Cagar
Address: Jalan Tengku Azizah, Bukit Chagar, Jalan Jim Quee, 80300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 6.30 am – 11.00 am
Contact: +60 127 998909
2. Authentic Malaysian Kopitiam Breakfast at Hua Mui Kopitiam
Opened since 1948, Hua Mui Kopitiam has faithfully been serving Malaysians Hainanese style breakfast and their signature Hainanese Chicken Chop for nearly 70 years! With its popularity, they have since expanded more outlets in Johor Bahru. Having a certified halal status, both non-Muslims and Muslim patrons frequent the original 2-storey coffee shop, still furnished with its vintage furniture. Enjoy an authentic Malaysian Kopitiam breakfast here of charcoal toasted bread, spread with freshly made kaya & butter with soft-boiled eggs, with a complement of great thick and fragrant Kopitiam coffee!
Further Read: 10 Best Halal Restaurants to try in Johor Bahru
Hua Mui Kopitiam
Address: 131, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 8.30 am – 6.00 pm
Contact: +60 11 35058916
3. Delicious Fresh Hot Bowl of Kway Teow Soup at Restoran Tua Thow
A good eatery that stays true to its natural ingredients and flavours is loved by all Malaysians. Proven true by Restoran Tua Thow, locals love to get their steaming bowl of Kway Teow Soup here, known to be generous with their ingredients including prawns, sea bass, pork, fish ball, fish maw. The broth of pork and fish bone is light bodied, rich and naturally sweet; does not contain a trace of MSG, which is why locals have been returning to this restaurant for this dish for years!
Restoran Tua Thow
Address: Susur 4, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.30 am to 2.30 pm
Best places for Lunch
4. Finger Lickin Herb Roasted Duck at Restoran Ya Wang
The pioneer and oldest establishment in Johor that sells herbal roast duck, you won’t miss the restaurant along Jalan Segget with its huge fat duck icon hanging outside! Worn out on the exterior, but comfortable and clean inside, you will be treated to a visual feast upon entering, with the hangings of caramelized dark brown skinned herbal roasted duck in a glass case. Having a healthy following, fans come here for the succulent duck meat that’s doused with a lavish amount of herbal sauce, keeping the meet flavourful, chewy and tender. Already rich in its distinct herbal flavour, this dish is enjoyed with a simple steamy plate of fluffy white rice and a side of lotus soup.
Restauran Ya Wang
Address: 28, Jalan Segget, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 8.00 am – 6.00 pm
Contact: +60 72248624
5. Great Indian Food at 7 Spice Restaurant
Located along Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, 7 Spice Restaurant will treat you to Johor’s best Indian food! Popular among locals for their clean and spacious air-conditioned restaurant, you will dine comfortably tasting the vast selection of Indian cuisines on their menu. Local recommendations would be their lamb special biryani, butter chicken, butter naan bread and tandoori chicken with mint sauce. Never leaving a customer disappointed, you’ll experience great service here as well as great authentic Indian food!
7 Spice Restaurant
Address: G-01, Block 5, Jalan Bertingkat Skudai, Danga Bay, 80200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 11.00 am – 11.00 pm
Contact: +60 72356969
6. Tastiest Fish Head Curry at Kam Long Restaurant
Uncommon in western countries, you might find this dish a little squirmish with the fish head. But try it with an open mind and palette, you won’t regret it! Fish head is considered to be the most flavorful part of the fish, therefore making it the best part for stewing deep flavoured broth. Served in a traditional claypot, this beloved curry dish is made using fresh red snapper fish head and a variety of spices to yield the most heavenly layered curry gravy you will ever taste! Served together with tofu skin, ladies finger, long beans and cabbage, it’s a complete meal on its own, but is enjoyed with a serving of steamed white rice.
Kam Long Restaurant
Address: 74, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 8.00 am – 4.00 pm
Contact: +60 16 7528382
Best places to try Teatime Snacks
7. Wood Fire Baked Moist Banana Cakes at Hiap Joo Bakery
Baked with naturally sweet tasting ripe bananas, locals flock to Hiap Joo Bakery every day for their fluffy, moist banana cake that’s baked to golden perfection in their century old wood fire brick oven. Made with no preservatives or chemical essence, the natural sweetness of the bananas is complemented by an accent of smokey flavour from the burning wood. Being always in demand, queues at this Bakery are long, with guarantees that their Banana Cakes will get sold out, minutes after they’re out of the oven!
Hiap Joo Bakery
Address: 13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 7.30 am – 5.30 pm
Contact: +60 7 2231703
8. Coal Fire Baked Traditional Pastries & Cakes at Salahuddin Bakery
In business since 1937, Salahuddin Bakery is another success story on Jalan Dhoby, a family business passed down for generations! Using traditional coal-fired ovens, they bake everything ranging from old-styled cakes, loaves of bread, pastries and muffins. Opting to continue serving their bakeries the old-fashion way, they would lay them out in a wonderful golden display on the table. Using recipes passed down through generations, the bakery also pays homage to its successful history by covering their walls with framed memorabilia of black and white photos and featured articles of their humble shop. Come here to taste 80 years of history baked into a humble bread!
Address: 26, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia18, Jalan Hang Jebat, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Contact: +60 12 7668380
9. Best Deep Fried Durian Fritters at Wah Cai
Famous for their Fried Durians, this uncle aunty duo has been earning a steady stream of loyal fans for years with their deep fried finger food! Have a taste of their golden crispy deep fried durian with the most creamy and fragrant steamy durian filling, you’ll never view another durian the same way again! Long queues but short waiting time, you should also have their other deep fried decadents like their fried 3-in-1 Chinese cake, fried cempedak, fried bananas and potato chicken curry puffs!
Address: 86, Jalan Pahlawan 2, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (TUTA), Skudai, 81300 Johor Baru
Opening Hours: 7.00 am – 4.30 pm
Best Places to have Dinner in Johor Bahru
10. Crab cakes and steaks at the Grill Bar
This restaurant has good access to parking, serves good-sized portions, and delicious food. Try the grilled chicken and salad or the rib-eye steaks. The crab cakes and clam chowder soup are highly recommended by many. People who ordered the fillet steak also enjoyed a nice flavorful meal. This is an ideal place to eat dinner with a loved one. The decor is good and the restaurant is newly renovated, so it is comfortable and clean. While it is not the cheapest place to eat, you get what you pay for and the cuisine is delicious. For those who fancy seafood, do consider trying the scallops and salmon. To end the meal, order their renowned lava cake and leave the restaurant feeling satisfied!
Address: No. 202 Jalan Sri Pelangi | Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru 80400, Malaysia
Telephone: +60 7-333 3400
Website: Grill Bar
11. Traditional style wanton noodles at 24 Festive Drums Cafe
This place is ideal for a meal at any time of the day - from breakfast through brunch, and even dinner. In particular, people enjoy the traditional noodles that they offer. Cuisine types range from Chinese, Asian, to even Malaysian cuisine. The place has offers both dine-in and take-out services, and free WiFi connectivity. The ambiance is nice and everyone wants to have a go at the awesome drum at the entrance. In fact, at 8 PM on a Saturday you can enjoy a drum performance. Among the list of food that they offer, Poh Kee Curry Mee and the Signature Wantan Noodles are firm favorites. The latte is also popular and comes with Chinese art in Chinese characters. The portions may look a bit small for western appetites, but the service is good, fast, and the staff members are very courteous.
24 Festive Drums Cafe
Address: 39 Jalan Ibrahim, Johor Bahru 80000 Malaysia
Website: 24 Festive Drums Cafe
Must have drinks
12. Local Coconut Wine at Toddy's Wine Shop
Cool down with a glass of coconut wine at this quaint 1920s shop along Jalan Sulaiman. Toddy, also known locally as Tuak, is an alcoholic drink made from fermented coconut flower sap. It is sweet and sourish in flavour with a slight natural fizz, with alcohol content ranging from 2% to 10%, you’ll definitely start feeling the kick a few sips in! Beat Malaysia’s equatorial heat. A glass of Toddy’s will cool you down as it is best served chilled with ice cubes on hot days.
Toddy's Coconut Wine Shop
Address: Along Jalan Sulaiman, downtown Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Rustic Unpretentious Food
Time tested and successful, Johoreans are very loyal to their authentic flavours, often opting out of modern reinterpretations. This is the main reason many of their traditional cuisines are still widely cherished over the past century. Putting a prime focus on authenticity of flavour, using traditional cooking methods, fresh natural ingredients and with zero reinterpretation, these dishes will continue to have loyal support from the generations past and generations to come. If you want to truly know what authentic Malaysian foods taste like, this Johor food trail should get you started on the right path!
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