"Fresh Frog Porridge".

I never ever tasted frog porridge until I shift to Johor Bahru five year ago. I loved porridge since young but somehow frog porridge was not within my radar. Now, it is one of my more sought after dishes.

Yesterday we were on the prowl for good food, we chance upon this restaurant at the popular 'food hunting ground' Mount Austin. We would have missed Ding Seng Restaurant if not for the words "Fresh Frog Porridge" spread across the signboard.

Restaurant interior - Spacious and Well-Ventilated

Top: Signature Claypot Frog With Dried Chilli Right: Claypot Drunken Frog

The Owner is also a Frog Supplier to Restaurants

Ding Seng Restaurant was establish in 2011 at Taman Bukit Indah by Mr Tan Hock Seng, a supplier of fresh frogs to restaurants in Johor and Singapore. He and his wife teamed up to venture into the restaurant business when they saw a growing demand for frog porridge and related dishes. Since then they have open a second outlet at Taman Mount Austin.

Signature Dish - Frog with Dried Chilli

Our Standard Operation Procedure (S.O.P) when we head to a new restaurant is to try their signature dish. In this restaurant it is their Claypot Frog with Dried Chilli. This dish is not unique to their restaurant but it is probably one of the best I have ever eaten. Firstly, the chilli is NOT so spicy till it makes you cry, Secondly, the black gravy is not inundated with oyster sauce or light soya sauce so it is not too salty and you can taste the sweet, moist meat. Thirdly, the frog meat is extremely tender, it is perfectly prepared  to fall off the bone by gently sucking on the meat.

We ordered 2 frogs per pot. But it seem like there were three in each pot.

The frogs legs are BIG

Another Must Try  -   Claypot Drunken Frog

According to  the waiter, the drunken frog is cooked with traditional Chinese herbs, ginger and a mixture of three different wine, one of which is rice wine. As usual, they are unable to divulge more as the recipe is secret. This rich tonic soup goes well with both rice and porridge.

Claypot Drunken Frog - we ordered 2 frogs but it seems like 3.

My better half enjoyed the soup tremendously , she even brought  the remainder home to make bee hoon soup for lunch the next day. I found the smell and taste of Chinese wine overwhelming at first, but I took a liking to it after a couple of spoons. The frog meat is big, tender and juicy. I guess the restaurant gets the best quality frogs since the owner is also a fresh frog supplier for the Food and Beverage industry.

Look at how tender and fresh the meat is

The pieces are large too.

 

The salted radish omelette is dry and slightly crispy which is perfect dish to accompany a porridge meal. The portion is more that enough for two people.  The only downside is that there was not sufficient dried radish to make it salty and crunchy enough. The plain porridge is awesome. It has a very fine and smooth texture, probably due to the many hours  on the cooking stove.

Dried Salted Radish Omelette - Would have been better if there was more dried salted radish

Breakdown of Bill:

  • Signature Claypot Frog with Dried Chilli - 2 Frogs (RM $24.00)
  • Claypot Drunken Frog - 2 Frogs (RM $30.00)
  • Dried Salted Radish Omelette (RM $10.00)
  • Plain Porridge - 2 People (RM $6.00)

 

Mount Austin (Branch)

Address:

No.19, Jalan Austin Heights 8/4

Taman Mount Austin, Johor Bahru 

Operating Hours:

4.00 pm to 4.00 am

Telephone:

+6019 755 9299

Website:

www.dingsengfrog.com

Social Media:

www.facebook.com/dingsengfrog

 

Plain Porridge - Fine, Smooth and Thick

The Restaurant is well known to the locals.

Story Ria is a Halal certified Malay restaurant owned by a local Chinese and his Indonesian Chinese wife. The restaurant is located off the beaten track, tucked in the upper middle class residential district of Taman Kebun Teh (see map below). It  a 15 minute drive from Johor Bahru Checkpoint via the Tebrau Highway. This place is well known to the locals and they have a large pool of regular customers. This restaurant is clean and tidy, and it has a homely feel to it. Oh! did i forget to mention that the food is delicious too.

There is a homely feel to the place.

They have a good spread of Malay food.

Signature Dish – Rendang

Our scrumptious lunch for two was only Rm $30.20 (about Sg $10). One of the dishes we ordered was their famous mutton rendang, we like to switch between mutton  and beef every visit. The meat is marinated with numerous spices that diffuses a fragrant scent and a delicious taste. Unlike the rendang we have in Singapore, theirs is more salty than sweet and the mutton pieces sits in thick rendang gravy, not the dry variant.   The meat is fresh, tender and lean, but has little tendon, I think it is because we came late this time round and all those pieces were already snapped up. The mini weighing scale beside the rendang is use to weigh the prized meat before serving.

Their Signature Dish – Mutton and Beef Rendang

The precious Rendang is weight before serving.

Archar, Otak -Otak and Tempeh are Fabulous

The Achar (nonya spicy pickled vegetable) was sprinkled with lots of sesame seed and turnip for that wonderful aroma and extra crunch.  Their tempeh (fermented soybean) is mixed with asam (tamarind) water and caramelized, to give it a fabulously sweet and slightly sour taste. I recommend that you to try the fish Otak Otak (Rm $2.50/piece), it is very fragrant with lots of lemon grass and ginger, the chopped onion gives it extra crunch and perhaps to remove the fishiness.

Their Tempeh is to die for

Otak Otak -Taste and Smells as Good as it Looks

Don’t Forget their Mee Soto

My better half ordered the Meet Soto, she loves the soup as the chicken broth is not oily. You won’t see a layer of oil floating like an oil spill on the surface. The chicken shreds are tenderso we know it does not come from unsold chicken a few days old.. The richly flavored chicken broth is so addictive, I wanted to gulp down the remaining soupThe lime tea is sour as they are too generous with the lime, you can ask the friendly staff for ice to dilute. We had the the  green bean soup for dessert.  Barley  is added to thicken the green bean soup mixed with sweet potato. This concoction taste much better that the plain green been soup.

Green Bean Soup with Barley and Sweet Potato – SO GOOD!

We are definitely NOT Here for the Nonya Kueh

Dishes are Replenish a Few Time a Day

I would not recommend their nonya kueh as I find  nothing fantastic about their assortment.  You be better off just buying your nonya kueh at  any Bengawan Solo shop in Singapore.

The more popular dishes at Storey Ria are sold out fast and the chefs needs time to prepare and replenish. Come at the right time and you will be able to savor delicious piping hot food just out of the kitchen.

Mee Soto – Little oil and lots of tender chicken meat

Rice, Tempeh and Archar. Mutton Rendang served separately

Address: 82, Jalan Kemunting, Taman Kebun Teh, Johor Bahru.

Tel: 07 333 0932/07 334 8494

Opening Hours: 7 am to 5 pm (Monday to Saturday)

Facebook: www.facebook.com/storeyria

Website: www.storeyria.com

Restoran Ya Wang is located right smack in the city center,  it is a 10 minute leisure walk from City Square (see map below), there is very limited parking lot, so drivers, either you prepare for a long wait or park some distance away.  When we were there at 3 pm on Tuesday the restaurant was at 80% capacity, guess this speak volumes of its popularity.

Restaurant 80% full at 3pm on a weekday. Some restaurants in Johor Bahru do not have this type of crowd even for Sunday lunch.

Food Consultant for Dian Xiao Er

Their specialty is roasted herbal duck and If you find the taste familiar, it's because they are consultant for Dian Xiao Er restaurant in Singapore. I have tried both and I vouch that they are very similar. The main difference is that Restoran Ya Wang is cheaper but Dian Xiao Er has a more enticing ambience.  Just like Dian Xiao Er, Ya Wang 's signature dishes is the  Angelica Herbs (Dang Gui) Duck, Wild Ginseng Duck and 10 Wonder Herbs Duck.

 

Consultants for Dian Xiao Er in Singapore and Jarkata.


Ya Wang bright yellow sign along Jalan sengget is hard to miss.

How do they prepare the duck?

The uncooked duck is marinated and stuffed with herbs and spices. After a few hours, the duck is roasted at a optimum temperature to keep the meat from drying out and to let the duck fat liquefy and drip out .The herb and spice stuffing is then removed before serving . A duck roasted in this manner is crispy and golden brown its flesh is both tender and juicy together with a strong herbs fragrance. Herbal duck is an acquired taste, love by some loathe by others, if you are into Chinese herbs, I urge you to give this place a go. The Char Siew is also lined with very little fat. Though is better that the normal kopi tiam/hawker centre fare, I would not come here to eat the char siew if it was not for the duck.

There is hardly any fat between crispy skin and the dense and juicy meat. YUMMY.

Very little fat on the Char Siew too.

The roast duck is really good

I have eaten at this restaurant and its sister branch at  Taman Sentosa a total of seven times.  I must add that the quality of food has always been consistent. We ordered roast duck and roast pork combo (RM $26) and stir friend cai xin with oyster sauce (RM $11). The roast duck skin is thin, crispy and brown with very little fat under the skin. Some people refrain from eating duck as among poultry, duck is exceptionally fatty, and a lot of its fat is directly underneath the skin. I believe Ya Wang roast the duck at a relatively low temperature over a long duration to allow the fat time to melt and drip away while turning the skin crispy brown, either that or they put their duck through a tough exercise regime.

Its so good, it must be kept secret

Bite into the  meat and you can feel its density and juiciness, dip it into the  sweet and salty plum sauce gravy and it is FANTASTIC. Be warned though, the gravy is very sweet and salty, its meant to be dip or drizzled onto your rice, not to be drunk as soup like what someone did at the next table. Don't bother asking the staff about the ingredients , just like KFC, it is a secret recipe.

The gravy goes fabulously with the duck and char siew


May not be the cleanest shop but the duck is fresh and fabulous.

Preparation area for the duck and pork. Look clean enough.

 If you want an additional bowl of gravy is costs Rm $5 for a small bowl and if you ask for a few pieces of cucumber to go along with the duck like what I did on my previous visit,  it is  RM $1 for a small bowl. Nothing is free but the air in the shop. But then again, it is a steal if you compare the price against Dian Xiao Er in Singapore.

The total bill for me and my better half

Duck and Roast Pork Combo + Cai Xin + 2 Bowls of Rice + Two drinks was RM 42.(sg13.60) (rm3.10 = sg 1).

RM 5 for an extra bowl of gravy.

Address: 28, Jalan Sengget, Johor Bahru.

Tel: 07 2248624

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/%E9%B8%AD%E7%9A%87%E8%8D%AF%E6%9D%90%E7%83%A7%E8%85%8A%E5%A4%A7%E7%8E%8B-Restaurant-Ya-Wang-JB/307375362611534

photo chi mac -korean restaurant taman pelangi

 

My better half was craving for Korean. She wanted to try this restaurant  she spotted the week before at Jalan Perang (Taman Pelangi). Me was kind of distracted with work (I work from home sometimes). I gladly oblige as  as it was a short drive and I could get back home quickly.

I must admit that I have limited exposure to Korean food. Tell me Korean and I picture just four things:  bibimbap; bugolgi; rice cake and BBQ.

She pointed out the restaurant when we exited the car. It looked like a karaoke joint from afar with all the bright lights, music and big screen TVs. I had to re-confirm with her if she got the right place.

The restaurant is located on the second floor of a shophouse ( the 1st floor is another Korean restaurant).

 

photo: Chi Mac looks like a karaoke joint from far.

Chi Mac looks like a karaoke joint from far.

Photo: The narrow entrance leading to Chi Mac on the 2nd Floor.

The narrow entrance leading to Chi Mac on the 2nd Floor.

 The first thing you notice upon entry is the  avant garde deco that is unlike a traditional Korean restaurant (see photos). K- Pop music video is played on the giant TV screen and on every other  TV wall mounted screen. The feel is like being in a karaoke cum cafe. We are not into K-Pop so we chose to sit outdoors were the balcony faces  the quite and tranquil street of Jalan Perang. 
The place is not crowded on Saturday night,  like most other restaurant in Johor Bahru. It does not mean that the food,service or ambience is lacking. It just that people are spread across a wider geographic area and they have plenty of food choice.

Open the menu and the first few pages are not traditional Korean fares but photo after photo of Fried Chicken. Chi Mac specialises in fried chicken. They offer wings, drum stick and boneless fried chicken.  There are eight different flavours of wing/drumstick to choose from and six flavours of boneless chicken. There are  more traditional options from the fifth page of the menu.
We did a quick survey of what others were eating and felt confident that their fried chicken was the thing to try. My better half suggested that we take the Combo Set (Rm59 =sg 19).  The set consist of 12 pieces of of chicken in six flavours. 1 wing & 1 drumstick of each flavour. 
Our order came  within 20 min. The chicken is fresh (not KFC frozen type) and tender. The skin is lightly battered to give it a crispy but not greasy texture.  

My favourite is the gangjang (soya sauce) chicken and my other half preferred the plain fried chicken. Actually all the chicken is prepared the same way, it is only at the last stage where different ingredients are brush onto the skin to give it different flavours.
We only manage to finish 2/3 of it. I underestimate the size of the chicken. Chicken in JB sometimes looks much bigger on the menu. But at Chi Macs, 'what you see is what you get'. This is the best fried chicken I had so far in JB. DELICIOUS. tah pao the rest home even after two hour the chicken was still crispy.

 

Right in front is the yogurt chicken and cereal chicken

Ganjang Chicken (bottom) and Yang Yum Chicken (right). My favourite.

photo chi mac -korean restaurant taman pelangi

12 pieces (1 drum stick+ 1 wing) in 6 flavors. and tortilla chip in the middle

 

Chi Mac Traditional Korean Chicken Restuarant

39A Jalan Perang, Taman Pelangi

Johor Bahru

12pm to 12am (Mon to Sun)

07 3331700

http://www.facebook.com/ChiMacJB/

SIP's is a cozy restaurant tucked in the corner of Jalan Jim Queen and Jalan Tanjung Puteri. Most people will go "WHERE??? " Well, it is just across the road ( Jln Tanjung Puteri) from R&F or Princess Cove. A 10 minute walk from JB CIQ.

Photo: SIP's Restaurant Johor Bahru

SIP's Restaurant . On the left is the Bridge to Singapore.

I have visited this place at least seven time, but this is my first time blogging about the experience. The restaurant is spacious as it does not have many seats, you won't feel cramp or drowned  by noise. Thanks to the moltley mix of table and chairs, it gives the place a homely feel . There are ample tables outside for those who are into  Al fresco dining and/or into smoking. You have a nice view of The Straits of Johor Princess Cove under construction. Hmm, well I guess If you bought a unit at Princess Cove, you can have a nice cozy dinner while watching your property being constructed. (Mental note: Must mention to Sunny about this unique selling point).

Photo The Entrance of SIPs

The Entrance of SIPs

Photo This place is a bit dark. I guess it adds to the ambience

This place is a bit dark. I guess it adds to the ambience

photo The path leading to the kitchen

The path leading to the kitchen

Their signature dish is the XXXL pizza. It is a thin crust pizzas to die for. It is arguably  Malaysia largest pizza. It is 1/2 meter in diameter (I measured it ...twice). The pizzas are made to order. You need to give 1/2 hrs notice. I advice you to dine in. It taste better straight out of the oven. Moreover they do not have  boxes big enough for  the XXXL pizzas. I tah bao once, Sunny ( the owner) had to cover my pizzas in aluminium foil (lots of it) and loan me his huge round wooden pizza tray.

XXXXL Pizza- SIPs Signature Dish. Probably the largest in Malaysia

Besides pizza, you should try their main course.  We were there recently and we ordered the 'Hot Roasted Chicke' and 'Our Burger Factory N Fries'

The chicken is lightly marinated with salt and soya sauce. Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The tumeric sauce blends well with the mash potatoes. The beef burger is the size of a Burger King whopper. The fresh beef patty, tomatoes and lettuce are cover in a delicious special cheese sauce wrapped in toasted sesame bun. The special cheese sauce ( staff didn't want to reveal ingredients) tastes like a thicker version of cheesy nachos dip.

There is a live band playing pop music every Saturday from 8pm.

Do expect more post about this place. I shall upload the restaurant's menu in future.

Location: No.15P, Jalan Bukit Meldrum ( 10  walk from JB Customs and Immigration)

Hours: 12 noon to 11 pm  (Mon to Sun).

www.facebook.com/sipsrestaurant/

Photo: Our Burger Factory N Fries' (Beef) - SIPS Restaurant Johor Bahru

'Our Burger Factory N Fries' (Beef)'

photo:Special Cheese Sauce Oozing out of the Burger- SIPS Restaurant Johor Bahru

Special Cheese Sauce Oozing out of the Burger

Photo: 'Hot Roast Chicken' -SIPS Restaurant Johor Bahru

'Hot Roast Chicken'

Photo: SIPS Restaurant Johor Bahru

The chicken, mash potato turmeric sauce combo was heavenly.