Monday 16 January 2012

A Quick Bite or Two - Johor Bahru

We crossed the Johor - Singapore Causeway on a bus, along with probably 60,000 other vehicles that day. We thought briefly about walking across it, but the $2 air-conditioned bus ride and the heat of the day convinced us otherwise.

Across the border the feasting continued. Despite being hot and sweaty, we were introduced to a warm bowl of Sup Tulang, an intense slow-cooked, soupy, curry-spiced lamb shank stew (or more likely a kid shank), garnished deliciously with fried shallots, coriander, and a handy little straw for sucking every last bit of gooey marrow from the bone. My young cousin Brian showed us how it is done (get right into it with your hands), and we settled back in our seats relaxed and satisfied.

Sup Tulang - Johor Bahru
We stay for the weekend at my mother's cousin's house, where her kakak (maid) remembered us from a previous visit and our love for her curry puffs, and we had Bak Kut Teh for breakfast (herbal pork broth cooked over charcoal served with rice and a selection of pork "spare parts").

Bak Kut Teh Soup - Johor Bahru

Bak Kut Teh - Johor Bahru
Spare Parts - Kueh Teow
For a day trip, we accompanied my uncle and aunt to Tanjung Piai, the southernmost point of mainland Asia. A variety of wildlife hang out at the small mangrove national park, and we played park-brochure-tug-of-war with a long-tailed macaque, spotted some spotty mudskippers, and spied a flock of pheasant-like birds wandering through the coastal mud and trees.

Mangroves at the Southern most tip of Asia - Tangung Piai

Down South
On the way back to Johor Bahru we stopped at Kukup for lunch, famous in Malaysia for its seafood, especially its Singapore Chilli Crab. I don't want to fuel the rivalry here, but I have to say it was unbeatably fantastic eating this delicious fresh tasting crab dish on a boat jetty over the water with the sea breeze coming in, complemented by an amazing array of mantis prawns, fish, clams and vegetables, and I just can't see a Singaporean city restaurant being able to compete.

Chilli Crab - Kukup
Needless to say we were stuffed to the gills, however we discovered our dessert stomachs for some bowls of dragon fruit and mango ice kachang and various flavoured crystal jelly.

Dragon fruit ice kechang (mango in the background)
We enjoyed a stroll around the old and new stilt houses of Kukup village after our indulgences before heading back, thinking that we probably won't eat that much in one sitting again.

Old Kukup House

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