I have followed Tony of Johor Kaki to quite a few eateries in Johor over the past year and loved the foods he introduced but I have never had a big meal like cze char with him before and that’s because we were only a pair, couldn’t order much. However, this night was different. Ken, The Silver Chef and Smart were with us and we’re ready to eat!
We almost got lost in the neighbourhood but finally found this hidden gem. The word “hidden” is literal for the location is not visible along the main road. Even when we were driving into the car park area, the dingy lighting did not help. It was only after I got off the car that I realised a crowd had already gathered. Hungry faces and tired posture… Do we have to wait long for our food?
咖喱鱼头 – Curry Fish Head.
I have always enjoyed Chinese-styled curry in Malaysia, be it in their cheong fun, curry mee or curry chicken. There’s something about the blend that I could not put my finger on. They are very addictive.
I was living in Selangor (Malaysia) in the year 2008 – 2009 and therefore dare to say that I have had enough curry to say that this is the best curry fish head I have tasted in both Malaysia and Singapore to date. I do not like the cornflour solution that most cze char places in Singapore are offering, cutting cost by substituting coconut cream with the thickening starch.
The fish head here was fresh even though this is a small stall and we know they probably serve frozen fish. The aromatic curry was rich and creamy with lots of vegetables like ladies fingers and pre-fried brinjals (eggplants). Although Smart was on a no-carb diet after 5pm, he could help but had some to go with the delicious curry.
咕嚕肉 – Sweet and Sour Pork.
If you have been following my blog, you will know I need to have a meat dish at least once a day. So this was recommended by Mrs. Choong. We have no complaints about this dish but it wasn’t dazzling either.
菜脯鲳鱼 – Chye Poh Promfet.
This dish was very well executed. Both the turnips and fish had been deep-fried to a golden brown. The salty sweet turnips complemented the crispy fish (so crispy you can even eat the dorsal fins) well and I think eating this porridge would be awesome, too! Yes, definitely! My mouth is beginning to water as I recall now.
包菜 (炒辣椒干) – Stir-fried Cabbage (with Dried Chillies).
This vegetable dish, also recommended by Mrs. Choong, was clearly a winner with the 5 of us nodding our heads approvingly as we ate.
The dish employed simple ingredients like cabbage and dried chilli peppers and may not look gorgeous but the taste was quite remarkable and will definitely be committed to our umami memory for a long time to come.
咖喱虾 – Curry Prawns.
If I’d said the fish head curry was good, this was “gooder”! I do not know if the same rempah (curry base) was used but somehow, the natural sea-sweetness of the prawns blended spectacularly well with the curry and made the fish head curry paled slightly. The creaminess of this dish was twice as potent compared to fish. Scrutinise the two dishes and you may just see what I mean. If you are limited to order only one curry dish, I would highly recommend this.
肉脞炸豆腐 – Minced Pork on deep-fried Tofu.
Another brilliant dish made with simple ingredients like minced pork and deep-fried tofu. The generous pork topping (cooked with chilli padi, not very spicy though) with silky smooth insides of the crisp tofu was sensational.
炸苏东 – Crispy Sotong.
Tony had wanted a different kind of squid dish but somehow the communication got mangled and we ended up with this plate of crispy deep-fried baby squid. I am a fan of sotong but not caramelised crispy squid. I do not know if the boys enjoyed this but all was cleared by the time we had to leave.
I have forgotten the amount we paid for the food but as you can see from the sign, prices starts as low as MYR6 (please enquire “seasonal price” before confirming your order). We enjoyed the dinner so much we had to say hello to the overworked boss, Mr. Choong. He was kind enough to turn down his flames and post for me.
Gerai Makanan Pelangi City 彩虹城家鄉小食
Address: Stall no. 11, Taman Serene Food Centre, Jalan Biru.
(Opposite the famous San Low seafood restaurant 三楼海鲜園).
Operating hours: Daily
Dinner: 6pm – 12am