Johor is known for many things: its diverse history, glamorous royal family, Desaru Coast, and of course, their food. While Penang is (unofficially) Malaysia’s food capital, the state of Johor offers some of the best eats around. Think mee rebus, mee bandung, and kacang pool (the state’s take on the classic chilli con carne).
And while a trip to Johor would only be complete with sampling the dishes mentioned above, there are others worth the calories and making pit stops for, like the ones we’ve listed below.
1. Cheese murtabak at Kampung Melayu
Murtabak is undoubtedly one of the culinary world’s best creations. Pan-fried pancakes stuffed with meat like beef, chicken, or mutton, and bits of vegetables too — what’s not to love? Did we mention that it’s traditionally coated with egg too?
In Kampung Melayu, there’s a spot that serves delicious cheese murtabak, and trust us, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the gooey goodness. Lactose-intolerant? Give their murtabak Singapore a go.
Address: No 21, Jalan Masjid, Kampung Melayu Majidee, 81100 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Monday & Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 9:45pm; Sunday, 12pm to 10pm; Closed on Tuesdays
2. Fun fritters at Pisang Mawar
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that one of the best snacks to have while in Johor is pisang goreng, and we are here to tell you that it’s true. One that’s REALLY worth trying are the pisang goreng variations at Pisang Mawar. While it may be strange to pair fried banana fritters with a chilli dip, in Johor, it works! Time your visit well, as there’s often a line.
Address: Sri Gelam, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact: +6011 6176 3365
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday, 11am to 7pm; Closed on Fridays
3. The tastiest fishcakes at Otak-Otak JB
A fan of the Southeast Asian delicacy known as otak-otak? Head on over to Otak-Otak JB, where you’ll snack on some of the most flavourful fishcakes wrapped in leaf parcels. The locals often flock to this spot for fresh and frozen otak-otak. So, while you indulge, don’t forget to take some home for your loved ones too.
Address: 8 Jalan Mewah Ria 1/2, Taman Bukit Mewah, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact: +6013 711 3220
Opening hours: Daily, 9am to 6pm
4. Luscious laksa at Al Ansar Cafe
Unlike Penang’s famous laksa, Johor’s version is slightly different, but just as delicious and full of flavour. While the former traditionally opts for rice noodles, the latter prefer spaghetti, and their sauce is generally thicker. So, if you’re craving a serving, head over to Al Ansar Cafe.
Address: 64 Jalan Perlas 1/25, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, 81750 Masai, Johor
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 6am to 3pm; Closed on Sundays
5. Go nutty with kacang pool at Haji Larkin
Johor’s version of chilli con carne is known as kacang pool and is also often served with bread or rice. Some kacang pool also comes with a fried egg with runny yolk, elevating the dish even further. For a guaranteed-delicious bowl of this, Kacang Pool Haji Larkin has got you covered. If you’re there for breakfast, order up the nasi lemak or lontong – we promise you won’t be disappointed.
Address: Jalan Dato Jaafar, Larkin, 80350 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact: +6013 737 7997
6. Find comfort (food) at Sup Tulang ZZ
While Kedah is famously known for its ‘sup gearbox’, the southern state of Johor has Malaysians raving about ‘sup tulang’, a mutton bone soup packed with unforgettable flavours. If this is something that’s right down your culinary alley, make a stop at Sup Tulang ZZ. Another dish worth trying while you’re there is the mee rebus.
Address: 20 Jalan Petri 5/1, Kampung Bahru, 80100 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact: +6011 1056 7209
Opening hours: Daily, 7am to 12am
7. Generous portions at MS Beryani
Okay, this is not exactly a snack, but it’s definitely a must-eat when you’re in Johor Bahru, especially at MS Beryani. Their portion of this much-beloved dish is generous, so small eaters may want to share. Can’t get enough of what you just ate? Bring home some frozen briyani for yourself and your loved ones!
Address: 54, Jalan Padi Emas 2, Bandar Baru Uda, Johor Bahru
Contact: +6019 720 1148
Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday, 9am to 2pm; Closed on Fridays
8. Fried rice at Nasi Goreng Seafood Daun Pisang
No ordinary fried rice, this one at Johor’s Nasi Goreng Seafood Daun Pisang is packed with delicious seafood and served on a banana leaf. Besides being addictively tasty, it’s also incredibly reasonably priced, which makes it even more popular amongst Johoreans and anyone who visits.
It can get pretty congested, and parking can be tricky, so time your visit, but we promise it’s worth the effort.
Address: Jalan Stulang Laut 1, Taman Stulang, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor
Contact: +6017 998 3036
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm to 10:30pm