Words and photos by B.L. Khoo
I have not visited Johor Baru for quite a while and on my recent visit there l was so surprised with the massive changes there. New property developments are sprouting everywhere. I felt totally lost as nothing seem to look familiar.
China is one of the biggest investors on residential developments. I could see many commercial projects too and I think, several new international standard hotels would be opening there.
Regrettably, this trip to JB was a short one (2 days, 1 night) and it was more business than leisure. The itinerary was just too tight though I really wanted to go into town to explore the food scene.
While we had a dinner hosted by the Malaysia Hotels Association Johor Chapter, I was prepared for some supper indulgence when a good buddy from Johor promised to take me to try the famous local delicacy Koay Teow Kia!
Several of us jumped into two MPVs and swiftly made our way to Restaurant Woon Kiang.
I have seen this place featured on some local Food & Travel show and had looked forward to try the food there ever since.
We arrived around 11.00 pm and even though it was already late, the place looked just as busy as it was dinner time. I was told the restaurant operate right up to the wee hours of 3.30 am in the morning.
As we took our seats, my good friend went to order everything; braised duck, braised pork, pig innards, pork skin, braised chicken feet, eggs, bean curd and salted vegetables.
Of course, to savour all these side dishes, each of us had a bowl of Koay Teow Kia. The texture of the koay teow kia (flat rice noodles) was fine, smooth and tender. The broth was mild with a hint of herbs, in fact, it actually tasted like a milder version of Penang’s Koay Chiap.
However for Penang Koay Chiap, the “koay” is much thicker and a shorter version of Koay Teow. Local Penangnites would like to have it with rice porridge or sometimes with bee hoon (rice vermicelli) too.
I am not going to make any comparison with what we have in Penang as each dish has its own uniqueness in taste.
Anyway, I‘m glad my good friend took us there to savour this Johor delicacy. If you need the location of this restaurant, just google the name and you will get it instantly as it’s such a popular choice in Johor Baru!