[DISCLAIMER: I recently lost my phone after an evening involving 4 bottles of wine, a puppy and an uber. As a result I have lost all of the photographic content for this blog. For those just wanting to look at the pictures maybe skip this one…]
Waking up on your final day in a city coupled with it being the final day of an epic trip is always going to be full with a mixture of emotions. The Philippines had been incredible, the familiarity and wedding celebrations in Singapore had been lovely and the food and company in Malaysia really cemented this as my ultimate favourite country (sorry India). But there was no time to dwell, we had breakfast to think about!
We headed off on the short walk into town in the sunshine ready for another jam-packed eating day. Loh Yong Moh Restaurant was our first stop for the longest running dim sum establishment in the city. We ordered some of the specialities such as; egg custard buns, century egg porridge, and lo mai gai (gluntinous rice with chicken). The rest was brought round to us on small dim sum plates to try as we went. We had read that some of the dumplings weren’t the best so stuck to otah otah (grilled fish cake), ngoh hiang (rolled 5 spice pork). It was a nice set of dim sum but no comparison for the traditional Hong Kong stuff. It is so hard to get fantastic dim sum out-with Hong Kong, so those travelling there should definitely seek it out.
Having eaten a bit too much (rookie food-eating tour error) we headed to our next place but unfortunately, given it was a Monday our next 2 places were closed (belly secretly breathing a sigh of relief). After some re-navigation we ended up at Pin Pin Hiong a sort of local open-air restaurant/hawker establishment. The specialties here were; oyster omelette, mee hua soup and pork chop. I have to say none of these were particularly stand out and we left more than half of what we had ordered. Not sure why this came so highly recommended but it was certainly busy. Perhaps we ordered the wrong thing.
For the final food stop we decided to go Western and headed to the Daily Fix. This place was standout amazing. Specialising in pancakes of a variety of differing flavours I opted for the espresso ones which came with a shot of espresso to pour over them as well as ice-cream and chopped nuts with an iced matcha latte – utter bliss. Everyone loved this place and while it certainly can’t be named as authentic it had a lovely chilled atmosphere and phenomenal food. We headed back to our apartment to pack up via Calanthe Art Café. This place specialises in Malaysian coffee from a variety of differing areas around Malaysia. We all enjoyed iced-coffees and bought some nice packs to take back home. All in all a pretty successful breakfast.
We packed up the rental car and chilled out for a while to allow breakfast to settle before embarking on lunch. Sadly after trying a whole bunch of different purveyors we realised that a lot of establishments are closed on a Monday (bear this in mind people!). We really wanted some traditional Nyonya cuisine before speeding back to Singapore and so we ended up at Nancy’s Kitchen – a really far walk from the centre of town. If you fancy checking it out then definitely take a taxi/uber. I went for the Rendang Chicken which was lovely and hearty with some rice. It was a proper restaurant and given its location seemed to be frequented by true locals living in the area (albeit ones with quite fancy cars). It wasn’t cheap but it was tasty and a nice end to the trip.
However, after taking an uber back to the car and heading off we realised we would be passing right past bunga raya popiah – which purports to sell the best popiah (spring rolls) in Malacca. It is a street stall and so times are limited but it was our lucky day. We were stuck in traffic on the street where the stall was and so Halle went all ninja and raced down to pick some up for us to enjoy as a snack on the journey back. Little did I know that such journey would turn out to be the single most stressful one of my life.
We had left Malacca slightly later than anticipated due to traffic and by the time we made it back to Johor Bahru we were really struggling for time. The GPS seemed intent on taking us through a mall and so we ended up driving round a car park while I raced around trying to pay for the 30 seconds we had spent. We finally navigated successfully to the car rental place, ordered our uber and raced back to the shopping centre/border. What we hadn’t taken into consideration was that the Monday was the end of a bank holiday weekend and so almost every Malaysian living in Singapore was making the same journey resulting in astronomical queues. This did not bode well for someone with a flight to catch in a couple of hours. After the hell of Mexico I wasn’t willing to be trapped somewhere else and potentially have to buy a whole new flight again (still paying off the Mexico one). Halle used her quick wit to explain to the less than friendly Malaysian border control our predicament and they kindly rushed us through a secret border door into the room of no return (the place they take the people who they are definitely not letting into the country). After a stern lady complained about the lack of room in my passport we were through and running with cases, backpacks and laptops the couple of miles to the taxi pick-up. Halle surpassed herself again by having a taxi there and waiting who speeded me and Carolyn off to the airport in record time for our flights – what a star!
Due to Halle’s quick thinking I made it back in enough time to check-in and then have dinner with Carolyn before flying home. We opted for Crystal Jade after our disappointing dim sum breakfast and were not disappointed. Sadly, the restaurant is now no longer there but there are a few other restaurants dotted around the city which I would highly recommend over Tim Ho Wan (at least in Singapore). We went for the famous xiao long bao (yummy) with some spicy noodles and a mixture of other dumplings to finish of the meal. Afterwards I was absolutely stuffed! I changed into my pjs for the flight and Carolyn walked me over to my gate for an emotional goodbye. After spending 2 and a half weeks with a person goodbyes are hard. Until next time Asia, missing you already!