Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk & Chicken Chop at IT Roo Cafe @ Johor Bahru

#1 Welcome to the Historical Street of Johor

During my last trip to Johor, I managed to stroll along the very famous street named Jalan Tan Hiok Nee (陈旭年街) aka 文化街 meaning the Chinese Heritage Walk in Johor Bahru. 

#2 The Old School Street

It was alot quieter than Jonker Street at Malacca, but here I discovered many good food too. Just at the corner where colorful parasols are standing on the shady pavement, I found an old, long famed Hainanese Kopitiam, named Kin Wah Coffee Shop

#3 Teh O' @ RM1.80

To start off the breakfast of Hainanese affair, Teh O' and Kopi O' were a must-order before proceeding with the freshly toasted bread; Highly recommended for coffee addicts. 

#4 Village Half-Boiled Egg @ RM1.00 each

#5 Butter Kaya Toast

Then we had small butter slabs sandwiched between the fresh toast to add into the Kopi O' for rich flavours. The bread was warm, crusty yet soft inside. 

#6 Apollo Bun

A Hainanese meal wouldn't be complete without a traditional soft Apollo bun, toasted into crisp burnt perfection and laced with butter and kaya. For more than half a century, this had won hands down with its beautiful aroma coupled with pleasant taste. 

#7 Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory 

On the direct opposite side of the road, there is a baker who still believes in making cakes using the firewood on an old style brick oven, a skill that is slowly dying out. They offer some fresh charcoal-baked bread with a variety of filling--- Sweet Coconut, Peanut with Brown Sugar, Red Bean, and more. But these were all sold off when I arrived at 11am on a Sunday morning! 

#8 Signature Banana Cake

Although simple ingredients are used, I'm truly amazed with the soft, moist banana cake. Probably because the old man follows the traditional method, using the real banana fruit without flavourings or preservatives. 

#9 Nasi Lemak Bungkus 

For a heartier Malaysian breakfast, you may opt for the all-time favourite Nasi Lemak with a choice of chicken in rendang curry, or seafood in sambal sauce. 

#10 Jalan Pahang @ Johor Bahru

After a long, chatty breakfast, we walked a few streets across to Jalan Pahang, where another half-a-century-old eatery tucked in. I noticed that there were a few old school cafes and bars along the stroll, some only opened its doors during the night. 

#11 Menu of It Roo Cafe

Our next shop was It Roo Cafe, a very renowned Hainanese cafe with its tagline of "The Best Chicken Chop in Town". The humble shop was tucked in a corner lot along the row of 1950's shops. Parking was rather tricky there, and we took a good 15 minutes before we managed to secure some seats in the cafe. 

#12 40 Years History of It Roo Cafe 

#13 Exterior of It Roo Cafe 

#14 Interior of It Roo Cafe

The simple, clean interior with plenty of faded photographs hung on the wall simply reminiscences the nostalgic yesteryears.

#15 Golden Fried Crispy Chicken Chop with Mushroom Sauce @ RM13.00

This dish was the main reason we were there for. The classic Hainanese chicken chop tasted as good as it looked, so thick and juicy. Thumbs up to the homemade potato wedges which delighted me with its firm texture instead of the usual mushy type.

#16 Golden Fried Crispy Chicken Chop with Black Pepper Sauce @ RM13.00

Eventhough black pepper was the main spice, it did not overwhelm the palate and still managed to retain the fresh flavour of the succulent chicken fillet. 

#17 Grilled Chicken Chop with Mushroom Sauce @ RM13.00

As a healthier option, the grilled chicken chop was just as great but it didn't provide the crisp touches on the exterior so I still prefer breaded chicken chop to grilled ones. 

#18 Signature Root Beer Float @ RM5.50

1. Frankly, the quality of chicken chop is the best I've tried. Charcoal-baked buns are simple yet awesome. However, for Hainanese food, I prefer those in Penang. 
2. Recommended: Roti Kahwin @ Kin Wah, Golden Fried Chicken Chop @ It Roo and Banana Cake @ Hiap Joo
3. Pricewise, most of them are comparable to those in KL, but of course better value for money, considering the portion and taste.

Best Hainanese Kopitiam in Town:
Kedai Kopi Dan Makanan Kin Wah  (金华茶餐室)
Corner of Jalan Tan Hoik Nee & Jalan Trus 
Bandar Johor Bahru,
80000 Johor.
Contact: 6016-748 4262
Business Hours: 7am – 6pm
GPS Coordinate:  N 1 27.385, E 103 45.814

Best Banana Cake in Town:
Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuit Factory 
13, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee,
Bandar Johor Bahru,
80000 Johor.
Contact: 607-223 1703
Business Hours: 7am until everything is sold off (It may be as early as 10am!)
GPS Coordinate:  N 1 27.385, E 103 45.814

Best Chicken Chop in Town:
IT Roo Cafe 
17, Jalan Dhoby, 
Bandar Johor Bahru,
80000 Johor.
Contact:  607-222 7780
Business Hours: 11am  11pm
GPS Coordinate:  N 1.45687, E 103.76360


  1. hm, sounds local and yummeh.. :D.. my fancy.. but, isn't the teh o' was actually teh c'?? :D

  2. thanks for sharing. Will keep this in mind the next trip I am in Johor again..

  3. Beautiful half boiled egg match with kaya toast. The chicken chop look tempting too.

  4. I was at kluang over the weekend. Had some pretty good appolo bread as well =D

  5. Banana cake looks so yummy. I like it...

  6. the root beer float pic remind me of my fave A&W rootbeer


  7. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
    heritage hotel in jaipur

  8. if it is KL then then I will go le..
    sigh .. cannot try the BEST chicken chop..

  9. I think I would love the grilled chicken chop. Looks good!

  10. Next time when back to hub's hometown must go explore all these places

  11. The price of the chop is inexpensive.

  12. Hi Fish! Long time never hear from you, been busy eh?
    Anyway, the food looks yummy! But JB is way too far for me.....

  13. When I go JB, i must come back to this post.

  14. This looks delicious my friend, so many choices :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. I love the half boiled eggs, l love the banana cake, i love the chicken chop too!
    Hope to go back for all ..... :D


  16. The banana cake look really tasty and i really want to try out the breaded chicken chop.. nv know jb got so much to offer.. Perhaps wud consider a trip down to JB...

  17. These look so gorgeous!! The chicken chops are making me hungry all over again! I love mushroom sauce.

  18. Chanced upon your blog and enjoy reading it!
    and btw, they look yummy! I miss the food in Malaysia so much!! <33

  19. beer float? never heard of that i cant imagine it taste

  20. Quieter means better, and glad they keep some of the old styles !

  21. this is near the causeway between SG and JB!

  22. this looks so beautiful! Hope to get there one day....

  23. I found that the chicken chop was just mediocre :P

  24. I like that chicken chop...prefer deep fried than grilled ones.


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