I moved to Kulai, Johor exactly two months ago to work in V Pro Pharmacy as a pharmacist. At first, I thought Kulai is similar to Sibu but it is actually much bigger and busier. I was blessed with nice colleagues who were really eager to introduce me their local delicacies on my first day of work! There were food I never tried or even heard before so I bugged them many times to ask for the name of the food. To my colleagues, if you are reading this, you are a star! 🌟 Without further ado, let me show you what to eat in Kulai.
1. Lei Cha
The Chinese community in Kulai are mainly Hakka so Lei Cha is one of the most common traditional dish you can find. It is literally translated into “thunder tea rice” in English which refers to the loud nice made when pounding the ingredients for the soup. It is a bowl of rice served with various kinds of vegetable, pickled radish, tofu, roasted peanuts and a bowl of thick savoury soup made of tea, coriander, sesame seeds and etc. The one I visit most often is at Ming Xuan Restaurant (明轩擂茶菜馆). According to my colleague, this is the only place in Kulai that serves sweet pickled radish (甜菜脯). You can choose either sweet or savoury. I personally prefer the sweet ones as it compliments the other ingredients in this dish better.
2. Mee Hoon Kueh (面粉糕/ 面粉粿)
This is something new to me and I thought it is a dessert as they called it Mian Fen Kueh or Mian Fen Gao. Basically, it is like hand torn noodles, you can either eat it dry or with soup. The broth and ingredients are exactly the same like the one you get in pan mee soup. There are dried anchovies, fishballs, meatballs, fried onions and cangkuk manis/ manicai. The shop I went is Grandma Ong (王奶奶面粉粿) at Indahpura.
They serve Pan Mee too with special flavours… Spinach/ Tomato/ Beetroot
3. Nasi Lemak
During my first week of work, two of my colleagues bought me Nasi Lemak two days in a row. I was like whoa… is it a hype here? Apparently yes. The famous stall that sells this is called Nasi Lemak Wak Kentut, yup… Uncle Fart Coconut Rice😂. Long queue can be seen during dinner hour. I did not get to try it yet but the one that my colleague bought was very nice too! Many locals likes the sambal which is on the sweeter side. It is located beside Happy Land Cafe and is run by Chinese, so, it is non-halal. You might see 七里香椰浆饭 but the one my senior recommended is the stall next to it where they sell fried chicken and nasi lemak.
4. Bittergourd Soup
My Oh My… I used to dislike bittergourd when I was a child but I am glad my palate has changed years ago. This is another famous Hakka dish and they usually will ask if you want to add any inner organs in the soup. My colleagues also told me, only in Kulai, it is served with Fried Pork (炸肉). Bittergourd is known for maintaining blood sugar levels and to cool down the body.
Some restaurant allow you to change the pork in the soup into chicken or fish.
5. Verbena Patisserie
The second thing that was introduced to me is this famous bakery shop that was claimed by one of my church friends the best bakery in Johor. The headquarter is in Kulai and it is located very near to my pharmacy so it eventually becomes my selection for breakfast or lunch. I haven’t got to try all of them but so far, I like their Bolo BBQ chicken. They are really generous with the filling.
6. The Alley
Other than the famous Royal Tea in JB, this is one of my favourite shop for some Boba Tea! I’ve tried their Top 2 signature drinks and I love it 🙂 Boba lover, anyone?
7. Oppaya Korean Restaurant
I love Korean food and I am blessed that there are a few korean restaurant in Kulai. My senior recommended this restaurant run by a Korean and I just went for it when I was craving for some kimbap. The environment is quite cosy, food was great and they have nice service too.
There are still a lot of local food I have not tried yet like bak kut teh, beef noodles, choy ban, nice cafes and etc. Hopefully I will get to try them before I leave to a new city in August.
Thanks for reading! 🙂