Actually it isn’t too difficult to have lunch in JB. All you need is about 2 hours to get across the causeway, have lunch and get back to Singapore. This was exactly what I did one Friday afternoon after my morning clinic. There are many great eats just waiting to be found if you don’t mind filling up the white cards and looking at a map.
I went in with my personal bodyguard SCS Butter this time, who happens to be quite an expert in JB eats. We were supposed to head for this really shiok paper wrapped chicken place that he had been raving about since we were still in Woodlands. But the restaurant which had never been closed before just happened to be closed that day. Doh! So we had to switch to plan B which was this interesting Claypot Rice place where the boss is an unabashed Food Nazi.
When we got to the shop, sure enough, we saw signs posted on the wall warning us to behave ourselves or risk being charged for our bad behavior. “This is great!”, I thought to myself. I was feeling a little masochistic that day, so I was really looking forward to a bit of tongue lashing. I wanted the full Nazi torture treatment and was willing to pay the extra RM10 to experience it.
Various side dishes like this Ngor Hiang costs RM5-10
But it turned out that the boss was merely a Nazi wannabe and was so super accommodating, allowing me to take photos and even posing for the shots. He looked and behaved like someone who could have been working as a Marketing Director at some MNC who came out to open his own business. When I asked if anyone had ever been charged the RM10 fine, he just smiled and told me that it was his marketing strategy.
Dah, there goes my Nasty Nazi story.
Claypot Rice being cooked upside down
Aside from just the flagrant marketing ploy to attract you to the stall, the Claypot Rice here is actually quite impressive. You can tell that the boss really puts in a lot of effort in making his dish. Each claypot is made only when it is ordered and the boss would pour chicken stock from a boiling cauldron into a claypot of uncooked rice to start the process. What is interesting is that when the rice is cooked, he adds the chicken and lup cheong (chinese sausages) and then overturns the claypot so that it rests on its lid.
This results in extra burnt bits on the top as well as on the bottom of the claypot. I am sure Claypot Rice aficionados are now sitting on their chairs applauding! When it arrives on your table, you can’t help but be impressed. As with many Malaysian cuisine, the flavours are big and bold and the soy sauce is black….very black! The extra bits of crispy carbon coated carbohydrates are a boon for fans of claypot rice. However, the chicken betrayed the dish by not having enough oommph. Salted fish is given as an option which you can add in the rice and I should have asked for more of it, except that in retrospect, I think the warning signs did have a rather domesticating effect. 4.25/5
So the bottomline is this: Would you drive all the way to JB to eat this?
Well, I thought it was great for the experience and the claypot rice was really good, but I think we can get better claypot rice here in Singapore. (But of course it is more expensive) However, if you are in JB to do some shopping, this restaurant is definitely one of those places you can add to your list of eateries, just so that you can take a photo of the Food Nazi wannabe to post on the internet.
Oh btw, the laksa in the same coffeeshop is supposed to be quite good. I only found out when I did some research here. So perhaps those readers who frequent this place can let us know more?