We found ourselves in Johor Bahru a few weeks ago and of course it was par for course that we looked for the defining eats that has popularized Johor. We drove to Plaza Angsana, to the outdoor food court located next to a sizeable parking lot. Fitting that such a large lot has been made as apparently the crowds throng this place like moths to a flame.
Mad crowd all eating and enjoying their eats! Move over! Me Hungryyyy!
We even had to wait for a table to open up as there was already a crowd there demolishing their piled high plates. Thankfully, one cleared up and it was perfect for our group of 6.
We set about ordering our food from the myriad of stalls there. There was of course the all important Mee Rebus Haji Wahid (the reason we came to Angsana). 4 plates were ordered, one each for mum, sis, brother-in-law and aunt.
Mee Rebus Haji Wahid: A gorgeous plate of blanched yellow noodles bathed in a rich, thick beef and dried shrimp based gravy and topped with boiled egg, sliced green chillies, fried tofu slices and calamansi lime halves. Some prefer to spike it with white vinegar and sweet soy sauce (kicap manis Tamin usually).
My cousin and I each ordered a plateful of Rojak Mamak (or Pasembur some would call it) that was interestingly enough not made by a mamak nor was it anything like the Penang styled Pasembur.
Rojak! Fried goodies galore (all fried foods taste better what). Mini hill of fried tofu, boiled egg, fishcake, beef lights (peparu or lungs), sambal sotong, cucur udang, chinese style lucky-roll all cut up and haphazardly strewn onto julienned yam bean (sengkuang), cucumber and topped with carelessly ribboned lettuce. The sweet chilli peanut sauce is supplied on the side to dip at leisure. The gravy and the style of the fried stuff characterises the Johor variant from the versions
found in say, Penang or KL.
Mum, thinking we hadn’t enough goodies to munch on decided she would order a bowl of Yong Tau Fu which turned out to be a malaynised version of the Chinese namesake. Oh well…
The Plaza Angsana version has a richer, but slightly coarse broth, reminiscent of a very light malay beef soup. The chinese version offers a clean tasting strained broth of anchovies and sengkuang.
And of course, the ubiquitous Otak Otak! We ordered a small basket, also to share.
Brain Brain? Where do they get these names from?
Minced fish with spices (commonly chillies, lemongrass, turmeric leaves, garlic and shallots and some may add bit of ginger or galangal to amp up the aroma) spread and sandwiched between two coconut leaf stalks before being grilled over a bed of glowing hot charcoal.
A few good slurps and chewing later, we left our battle scene like all other customers before us.
Carnage and Tragedy! What happens when a gaggle of hungry people are set upon food!
It was good fun eating in the open with family members. I guess I should drive down to Johor more often.