One highlight of my weekend in Johor Bahru, or fondly known as JB by the locals, was no doubt my cousin’s wedding. The spell-binding event had been meticulously decked out in a sea of purple, white and blue, and was planned and organised by my cousin alone, along with her then-fiance (now husband) and their legions of bridesmaids and groomsmen.
It was indeed a fairytale wedding. My cousin was resplendent in her deep purple gown for the night, with a shiny tiara perched carefully on her head, while her new husband was dressed in a sharp suit of gray and a pair of brown leather shoes. They floated down the aisle lined with flower petals on both sides, like a scene out of a Disney fairytale at the beginning of the princess and her prince charming’s happily-ever-after. The atmosphere was great, the food was good, and the attendees were ever supportive. May she have the happiest ever after with her new husband for the rest of their lives.
The other highlight was that of the food I made the trip for. When I was younger, my mum had brought me to this local outdoor joint managed by the local Malays. The restaurant had been built among the trees and lived in harmony with nature. Located on Jalan Petri, not too far from my aunt’s home, the restaurant was called ZZ Sup Tulang and it served a few of the best native dishes one could find in Johor Bahru. Among the famous JB dishes were ‘mee rebus‘, ‘lontong‘, and ‘sup tulang‘. There were obviously more food items on the menu but my sights were set on these as my mum had, time and time again, sung the praises of the restaurant to serve her favourite meals (which were the trio I mentioned).
I had intentions on ordering the ‘lontong‘ as I had always preferred it to the other dishes. However, my luck ran out when the friendly waiter explained that ‘lontong‘ was only available in the morning for breakfast. Well, that was that. So I turned my attention to the next thing on the menu, one that I have eaten before and knew fairly well how it would taste like. ‘Mee rebus sup tulang‘ it is then (photo above).
The ‘mee rebus sup tulang‘ was a combination of ‘mee rebus‘ and ‘sup tulang‘, in a sense that the dish came with a concoction of yellow noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, fried shallots and green chilli in a thick and creamy gravy, as well as two or three pieces of lamb shank bones and a straw for you to reach into the soft and juicy bone marrow. The interesting notion was that the specialty of the dish laid in the act of sucking out the juicy bone marrow from within the bones. Sounds corny and ridiculous but these are what the locals and tourists from other states queue up for! It is actually a delicious concept and I wouldn’t mind making my way back there for more. Even if it means having to drive three and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur down to Johor Bahru. I would definitely travel just for food!
Disclaimer: It is wise to understand that the ‘lontong‘ and ‘mee rebus‘ had originated from Indonesia, but may have been adapted to fit the local JB tastebuds.