During 11th Annual JB Arts Festival I stopped by the White Box which is on the top floor of Danga City Mall in downtown Johor Bahru. A few weeks later I listened to a talk on backpacking around South America and Europe at the Black Box.
JB sketchers display with some of the participants work. Join in their monthly outings and more activities.
These have become permanent spaces (for the time being anyway). Since the mall has many unrented spots this is a very wise idea; making use of otherwise wasted space and also brining in potential customers for businesses at the mall.
A large mural has been taking shape on Jalan Tan Hiok Nee for over a year. The first photo shows it near the beginning, September 2013.
Large paintings have also been added along Jalan Tan Hiok Nee near the mural. It is quite a nice addition of street art to the historical JB walk. A new post with photos of those will be added soon. (Update: In turns out it was a temporary display, the paintings are not there now).
My favorite local delivery place closed months ago (or at least the phone number doesn’t work anymore): Gerai Makan Laut Chun Siang.
I found this new place that is good but I don’t have as many dishes I like. The Indonesian prawns are great. I like the samba sotong ok (in photo). Click on the menus to see larger images (so you might be able to read it). It seems to me it is Chinese food with maybe a bit of Malaysian style.
Sambal sotong and bitter gourd from Rong Hwa in JB.
They do have a couple nice vegetable side orders (though nothing I like as much as the fried broccoli at the old place), my favorite is baby kai lan. Bitter gourd (in photo) is strong (I like the bitter gourd in fried eggs better.
Tandoori Mahal is another very good Indian Restaurant in downtown Johor Bahru. It is across the street from Village Briyani Cafe and Village Countryside Cuisine, next to Zen Zeng Hotel and a block from Danga City Mall.
This Panner Tikka was great. The paneer was much “richer” than any I had tasted before. I am actually not sure if this was intentional or not but I really liked it. I ordered it another time and it was still good but much more like the normal panner (cheese) I am used to.
A meal will cost around 15 – 30 MYR (US $5 – 10) depending on what you choose.
The Red Tro Cafe is a small cafe outside the Galleria at Kotaraya which is in the CBD and old town JB.
Nasi goreng sotong (squid fried rice)
The Nasi goring sotong was quite nice and the meal was under 10 MYR (I think) which is pretty typical (about US$3). The Red Tro Cafe is located right to the Old Chinese Temple, and across the street from the Sikh Temple.
Today is the Chinese New Year holiday (the first day of 2 weeks of celebrations). At Midnight (this morning) the sky was ablaze with fireworks. There are fireworks with huge visual displays that are all over the city. There are several huge “official” fireworks but there are dozen more with very large visual explosions that I could see from my balcony.
For lunch today I went to Sweetwater Mediterranean Restaurant and enjoyed an excellent lunch. I walked around downtown after that and it was like walking in a nearly abandoned city. Over 90% of the retail stores were closed along with most restaurants. The foot traffic was minuscule and there were hardly any cars on the road.
Spiral stairways in alley between houses. This is an old photo of the area I walked in (Tamen Pelangi), I didn’t bring a camera today.
It reminded me of walking outside on Christmas when I was a kid. The roads were abandoned like no other day. Now the traffic is a bit lighter on Christmas but it is nothing like the otherworldly experience it used to be. Today in JB was like that, it wasn’t far from turning into a ghost town. It was actually interesting walking around like that.
The first day of the Chinese New Year is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. It is a traditional practice to light fireworks, burn bamboo sticks and firecrackers and to make as much of a din as possible to chase off the evil spirits. You can read much more about it on Wikipedia.
The Chingay Parade will take place on February 20th in Johor Bahru this year.
Related: Basketball Courts in Downtown JB – Big Lizards in Johor Bahru CBD – Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple in Johor Bahru
Village Countryside Cuisine
Village Countryside Cuisine is an extension of the Village Briyani Cafe which is located a few doors away. Both are excellent.
Village Countryside Cuisine buffet
On the weekends they have an excellent vegetarian buffet (15 MYR). I have enjoyed the egg thosai and fish masala and really like the weekend buffet. You get a selection of dishes and it seems to me they rotate the dishes quite a bit so you get to try new dishes each time.
Aloo Ghobi Carrot Dry and Vegetable Doloha
The Galleria @ Kotayara is a newly completely refurbished mall in JB town (Johor Bahru CBD). It is across the street from the Sikh Gurdwara Sahib and Sri Raja Mariamman temple and (on the other side of the mall) Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim.
The food court has been open for a few months but the rest of mall is still mainly empty. Still the food court already has almost no seating (I went at lunchtime this time but another time, even in the middle of the afternoon the food court was very full).
The food stalls (probably about 15 with mainly Malaysian dishes) offer very good food at great prices (the two times I have tried it so far anyway). Main courses are about 5-8 MYR ($2-3 US).
The Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim is a government building in the CBD of Johor Bahru. The building housed the Menteri Besar’s (Chief Minister) office and the Johor State Legislative Assembly before both were moved to Kota Iskandar.
Detail on the exterior of the Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim
Related: Arulmigu Sri Raja Kallamman Indian Hindu Glass Temple – Johor Bahru Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) – Basketball Courts In Johor Bahru CBD – Johor Bahru Zoo
Update – the phone number no longer works for me. A decent alternative is Restaurant Rong Hwa.
My favorite food delivery in Johor Bahru Central Business District (CBD) is Gerai Makan Laut Chun Siang – it is Malaysian Chinese Food.
My favorite dish is Fried Brocoli. I also really like the various sotong (squid) dishes. The long bean omelet is good also. They also have other interesting looking dishes: black pepper deer meet, red wine chicken, egg flower soup and cantonese style kuay tiao. And they have at least 1 dish I have no desire to try: pig stomach soup.
My last meal was Tom Yam Prawn – about half of the order is shown on the plate.
Related: Mee Bandung at JB Station Kopitiam – Sala Huddin Bakery, Old Town of Johor Bahru – Chez Papa French Bistro, JB CBD