Monday, September 5, 2011


This is one of the rare finds I chanced upon in the town of Johor Bahru along the tranquil and old charm street of Tan Siok Nee.    Here you will find crowd at a 30years old corner coffee shop at 8 Jalan Trus and in the opposite direction,  a half century old bakery shop with a big brick oven smack in the centre of the shop at 13 Jalan Tan Siok Nee.

The locals of the older generation loved to come here for their daily fix and coffee talks of daily grind of life and tete-a-tete in an old coffee shop situated at the corner of Jalan Trus and Jalan Tan Siok Nee, which is just a road just after OCBC Bank in town.  The draw is the constantly good coffee prepared by the son, a second generation owner who has now taken over the business.  Many would have been here for the past 30years. 

Daughter-in-law remained resigned to the fact that the two children who are now professionals working across the causeway in Singapore will not take up the next baton.  She cited the hard gruelling hours and tiresome feet standing whole day from morning till past 6.30pm as the coffee shop is packed daily.  Many customers continue to ask if her husband is brewing the coffee for the day.  Same coffee powder but under different hands and skills and you may end up with a different cup of coffee.  The owners have attempted to impart by hiring others but they do not seem to produce the same results and quality demanded of the familiar customers who has been drinking the fragrant coffee for ages here. 

The kaya and butter bun, a little charred goes well with the coffee.  It's again the simple things that keep your day happy.  Life was simpler though harder then and just a cup of coffee and a toasted bread or bun are simple pleasures to enjoy when many may ill afford even then.  Most would want to mesmerize the same way but the constant has to be the brewed coffee to be as aromatic as before.

The other secret I was told by the owner of Hiap Joo Bakery opposite the coffeeshop who incidentally do not supply the bread to this coffeeshop due to the different expectation of the coffee shop for a different kind of bread for their kaya butter toast was the "signature" softboil eggs of bright orange hue that was perfectly done.  It's something special he said, you must try for yourself.    You are served kampung chicken eggs from chicken that are not fed with 'hormones' to make it grow faster for the slaughter, not necessarily free range chicken eggs as the coffeeshop auntie told me.  What you get is a better quality egg.

Tables were spilled out onto the sidewalks which was lined with frangipani trees adorned with artificial red flowers and chinese lanterns and the atmosphere makes it a very pleasant place for a sip of the good old brewed coffee.

Besides Coffee, Tea, Eggs and Bread the coffee shop has leased out a Malay food corner which sells very popular mee rebus and nasi lemak which we enjoyed very much as well.  The simple &  tasty meal easily satisfy our tastebud and it was yes! it was smackingly good.


8 Jalan Trus
corner of Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
 Johor Bahru


Opposite the Coffee Shop, you will an an age old brick oven inside a dim looking bakery that still uses wood to fuel the fire.  It produces fresh buns and super soft and light banana cakes at RM8 a packet every day (can last upto 3days) and the locals come here to lug a few packets back home.  The bakery is now manned by Mr Chia who does the later shift whilst his younger sons rises early to start the fire.

In fact, such brick oven is a rarity and modern equipments like electric oven which at the turn of a knob gives you the exact temperature.  Here, you will find stacks of wood required to fuel the oven and controlling the temperature and heat requires skills.  In fact the younger sons have taken this tasks in their stride and have better ideas to transform the bakery shop into a pizzeria one lunch.  Once when I dropped by, they had home-made pizzas to my amazement.  The younger generation always have bright ideas but besides this, everything around  the shop remained steeped in history.

13 Jalan Tan Siok Ngee
Johor Bahru

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