Saturday, September 16, 2023

Hai Kee Seafood Restaurant & Dessert @ Taman Sri Tebrau Hawker Centre in Johore Bahru [Malaysia]

A long time ago, before the rise of decent shopping centres in Johore Bahru, many Singaporeans would visit JB simply for food and many would be aware of this Taman Sri Tebrau Hawker Centre, also known as 大马花园.

Singaporeans would find the setting familiar; similar to our local hawker centres, albeit messier, and dirtier, sometimes with rats running across the aisles. However, it was a hotspot for foodies for cheap, good quality seafood. 

My visit to Hai Kee Seafood Restaurant at hawker centre wasn't planned; I happened to bump into my foodie cousin who asked if we would want to join her and her friend. She was hoping we could join so that she can order more food! It runs in the blood as I totally shared her sentiment! 

Not in the mood for crabs, and my cousin was strongly endorsing the crayfish. Guess we would leave the crabs for the future when I revisit with my mom in the future. 

There were quite a few seafood restaurants (more than stalls in the Singapore context since we associate restaurants differently; usually one operation for one premises); and some had been around for more than a decade. 

I was contemplating a second post on the dessert, which appeared to be under Hai Kee too, but decided to have it in one single post given how severe my backlog is at the moment. 

Leng Chee Kong - its Chinese name has the word cheng tng in it although two other characters indicated six-taste cheng tng. From the look of it, I would said there's almost a 100% likeness, with more jelly which isn't that commonly included in cheng tng on my little red dot.

Aside from jelly, other ingredients were white fungus, sago, barley, dried longan and pang da hai. Not bad tasting as a whole, although I prefer shaved ice which would have been more satisfying in the super hot weather faced in these recent few weeks. 

Green Dragon Vegetables - found these to be covered in oil although still as refreshing and delicious! Given my love for this particular vegetable, maybe I should try to stir fry myself in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

Spinach Tofu - some restaurants named the dish jade tofu to elevate its status, and likely to justify a higher price. Over here at Hai Kee, it was simply spinach tofu. 

Topped with fried garlic, the tofu was the more palatable egg tofu that had a smoother texture! It had that homemade flavor that didn't overwhelm the taste buds and I enjoyed it enough to list this as a must-order in my next patronage.

Butter Prawns - at RM 45 for seven prawns, I had to give credits to the butter sauce, which was sweet, buttery, flavorful yet not cloying. 

As can be seen from the photographs, the batter wasn't too thick and you know what's the most important thing when it comes to seafood? Freshness, and these were fresh enough given the ease of removing the shells from the treasured meat within. 

Salted Egg Sotong - RM 39 for the above plate, I was wondering if the staff who took my order had given the wrong dish as there wasn't hardly any batter surrounding the squid meat! 

Thankfully, the salted egg flavour managed to cling to the meat and again, this was absolute fresh (not rubbery), comfort food that didn't overwhelm the palate. 

Black Pepper Crayfish - priced at RM 12 per 100 grams, I recall we ordered four crayfish, one for each of us. Plating is not an essential for such stalls and for a true foodie, what matters most would be the taste.

Crunchy crayfish meat that was again easily peeled without much effort. Compared to crab and prawns though, the taste of crayfish wasn't imbued with seafood sweetness although it gave satisfaction and at a much reduced cost against lobster.

Key was that the black pepper sauce was a perfect condiment for plain white rice! My war against high starch products like plain rice had weakened recently, and I must build up my discipline; maybe boiled spinach for dinner today? 

Burp! Will be back.


Hawker centre, No21, Jalan Badik 1, 
Taman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru, 
Johor, Malaysia

As above.

As above.

Leng Chee Kong - RM 4.00
For the rest - RM 207.00

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