01 July 2020

B-Kyu travels: A quick stopover in Johor Baru ~ Malaysia

Johor Baru - just over the border from Singapore, with the longest customs wait in the world.

The land border crossing from Woodlands to Johor Baru took half an hour on the bus from Little India to Woodlands, five minutes from customs out of Singapore and three hours waiting in a queue at customs into Malaysia. We had picked the day before the start of the school year to cross over, and the customs hall was so jam packed that all semblance of orderly lines, even where to line up, had disappeared. We started to obsess over people queue jumping, our conversation for three hours went like this: should we switch queues, can we go to the toilet, where is the toilet, would we get through at all, what was that lady up to, she's trying to cut in!!! oh no, that's her friend, why are they so slow, aaaargh! Madness  We would get through eventually.

Last time we traveled across here was at least fifteen years ago on our way up the east coast of Malaysia. It was so fast to get through Alison didn't even realise we were out and was still holding her passport as we walked through to the shops and restaurants. Shawn had been here on a legendary eating trip in 2000, so we were keen to see how it had changed in twenty years.

We chose to stay at the Belllo Hotel (not a typo, it does have three l's in it!) along Jalan Meldrum. Thanks to Travelfish for the guide to the area and the recommendations.

We couldn't believe our eating luck when we saw the happy gatherings of people just across the street from the hotel. Happy they were indeed, there were many happy ladies waiting around and chatting to men, hoping to make them happier. What nice ladies.

The places were a small food court type arrangement, a number of smaller stalls inside a larger building. The owners of the stalls changed from the morning shift into the evening, so there was plenty of choice.

Around the back lane of Meldrum Walk was a whole row of street carts, but we had already eaten by the time we found them. Apparently the choice has dwindled severely over the years (from around 100 to just on 30 now). This blog post says it better than us.

First up was a fish in a chilli sauce, like an Indonesian belado.

One of our all time favourites, kang kong (water spinach) in a  funky fishy sauce.

And our other most popular seafood choice, BBQ stingray. Two things we wish we had more of in Australia, stingray and those little kalamansi limes.

Lots of very friendly ladies. VERY friendly.

We hit the same spot for breakfast the next morning. The morning crowd is chipper than the night crowd and the stalls were different.

First stall in, we go for it.

Kolo Mee, springy, curly noodles with slices of pork and a spoonful of mince. Green chillies in soy and vinegar for extra morning mouth puckering.

Peppery pork soup with all the extra goodness of blood cubes and intestines. Breakfast of champions.

Our morning meal supervisor.

After breakfast we're off and on the bus to Malacca. JB you've done it again.

We love Malaysia.

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Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).