Sunday, December 29, 2013

Restoran G Cheong Fun in Johor Bahru - A Playful, Currified Twist on a Simple Classic Hawker Dish

We have come to love and enjoy chee cheong fun in its various guises, from the simplicity of hawker fare with just a thick sweet sauce, to the fine dining flourishes of dim sum restaurants served with shrimp, char siew and even scallops.

But boy, was I totally taken by surprise when JK told me there was a version in Johor that serves this familiar flat rice noodles with curry. I knew I was in for a treat.

The first thing that will instantly grab you is the play on the name itself, the eatery is called G Cheong Fun.

And playful is the operative word here when you come to savor not just the said chee cheong fun, but a host of other very welcomed dishes here too.

Curry G Cheong Fun

The curry cheong fun was an absolute joy. The rice noodles themselves are cut thinner and almost looked and tasted like hor fun instead. The curry sauce was simple, and somehow, it is such simplicity that usually surprises and delights me.

Every strand of the cheong fun was smooth, with a slight bite and fused with the spices of the light curry sauce, it was comforting and addictive. This plate alone was worth the trip here.

Pig Skin Curry

The same curry was also applied to this pig skin dish which I also adored. Looking like sea cucumber, the texture was slightly firm to the first bite but gave way easily after that. The mild curry was a perfect accompaniment and it was served with some chopped long beans for some extra crunch and texture.

Yam Cake

This beautifully presented yam cake was of the more course version, with a more grainy texture. Despite that, the yam flavors were also far more intense. Garnished with fried shallots and spring onions, this rustic and wholesome dish would make the perfect local breakfast meal anytime.

Sambal Cockles

At first glance, it looked like a somewhat messy beef rendang dish. On closer inspection, it was actually cockles submerged in a bath of dark sauce. The result? Heavenly. The sweetness of the cockles when married to the spicy nature of the sambal gravy was nothing but magnificent in every sense of the word.

Teh Peng with Gula Melaka

Another playful detail is this tasty beverage that fuses regular iced milk tea with gula melaka. The combination was incredible, and the addition of the brown sugar certainly gave it a totally new dimension that had never crossed my mind.

Bustling Business

The eatery was doing very brisk business when we reached late in the morning. Plate after plate of food was constantly being served out and there seemed to be an unending stream of new customers.

Despite the busy activity, every plate was served quickly and warm. One could sense that the cooking was done with a sense of dedication and equal passion to ensure that the food was not compromised in any way.

Such was and still is the quality of food and the level of hospitality that I still take away from places like this in Johor. Though it may not boast of air conditioned environments and spanking new furniture, it is the simple rustic charm that gets me these days.

It is the same charm that infused each playful plate of G Cheong Fun. Yup, it was fun eating there.

Restoran G Cheong Fun
176 Jalan Pahlawan 2
Taman Ungku Tun Aminah

All videography and photography and editing by Ian Low.
Music written, performed and produced by Ian Low.
Shot and edited entirely on an iPhone 5S.
No G cheong fun was injured during the shooting of this video.

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