Monday, 28 November 2011

Sour and spicy

In the days before there was the North-South Expressway, a trip by car from Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur would eat up time in the region of 6 hours. You have two main routes which you can choose; the first is by way of Yong Peng - Segamat - Tampin - Seremban on the Federal Route1 while the second involve turning on to Federal Route5 at Air Hitam and onwards to Batu Pahat - Muar - Melaka before rejoining the route at Tampin.

I usually prefer to take the 2nd alternative even though it means passing through more small towns and villages (i.e. a longer journey time). I like to travel this way because I can break my journey at a few places of choice where I get to taste some lovely foodstuff. Depending on the time of travel, I could either stop for makan at Batu Pahat for mouth-watering nasi beriyani, or at Muar for some delicious mee bandung.

Ever since the completion of the highway, it has been ages since we last drove on the Batu Pahat - Muar road. That meant that it has been quite a while since we last sampled the original beriyani Batu Pahat or mee bandung Muar. Over the years, we hear more recommendations from friends about good makan places in BP, Muar and even Melaka but unless we have specific reasons to make a detour, we were unable to try them out.

On our journey to KL last Friday however, we decided to take the old road, just so we can try and taste a dish that has been highly recommended by a few friends and relatives. It is a dish that both Johor and Melaka folks claim to cook better than people from other states in Malaysia, and it is called Asam Pedas. According to word-of-mouth and also TV reports, the place to get the tastiest asam pedas is at the small town of Parit Jawa in Muar.

We have never been to this place before, so our decision to check it out is purely based on trial and error. Driving from south, Parit Jawa is located a few kilometres before reaching Muar town. As we approached Parit Jawa, we spotted a signboard saying `Medan Selera Asam Pedas'. We followed the sign and later reached an area by the river that looks like the place where fishermen unload their catch from the sea. There are a few food stalls claiming to sell the famous asam pedas so we simply chose one that seems to have more customers.

The stall we patronised is called Asam Pedas Mak Ngah. I left it to my better half to pick the dishes and she chose kepala ikan jenahak, kupang (mussels) goreng cili, tauge masak lemak, telur asin and ulam sambal belacan. It was a lovely spread and the taste was not disappointing. The trick to delicious asam pedas is in using fresh fish. The three of us (wife, son and myself) wiped the plates clean. Truly worth the extra miles in making the detour and the damage was only RM48. Now that's real value for money.

A view of the spread
Jenahak fish head
Tasty fresh mussels
The fishermen's jetty at Parit Jawa


koolmokcikZ said...


jenahak tu macam marah jer. Mata dia seolah menjeling tajam.


Noir said...

the highway gets boring after awhile. thnx for sharing this.

Wan Sharif said...

Mmmm. noted that the damaged considered is only to your pocket.. not your waistline ;)
The spread looks very inviting and mouth-watering.. ayyoyo lapar nih..

Oldstock said...


Jenahak tu geram kenapa kami amik kepala je.... patut amik satu badan.

Oldstock said...

Noir, travelling on the old road is okay if you are in no particular hurry. We get to see things that have changed. I'm thinking of doing another trip, this time on the Segamat route.

Oldstock said...

Ayoh Wang,

Since you brought up the subject of waistline, just to let you know that lepas raya puasa kelmarin I lost a bit of weight because of illness. To the extent of my waistline dropping by 2". Sampai kena beli jeans baru because the ones I had felt so loose. But alhamdulillah, selera makan dah kembali and now gaining back some of the weight that I lost. Only thing missing is the need to complement diet with exercise...

Al-Manar said...

You choose to ignore the road from south to north on the east coast side. Do you think there no kepala ikan there? Ppala ikang aye gu dengen nasi dagang.

In the 60's, being a gallant young bachelor, I used to take 12 hours non-stop from KT to Collyer Quay. The road took me through unsurfaced short cut of Triang Road. It was Collter Quay to enjoy the food-stalls there, the real sup kambing. It was longer and risky to take the Romping/Mersing road because of slow ferries across the rivers. Can you beat that?


Oldstock said...

Salam Pakcik,

I don't think kids nowadays realise that there used to be ferry services to cross all those rivers on the east coast. Nasib baik Penang Ferry masih ada... and I do hope Penang Port does not decide to close it down because the service is loss-making.

Actually, even by my time, the ferries at the east coast had already been replaced by bridges. My first trip to Kuantan was in 1978, to register at boarding school. My father took the Mersing-Rompi-Pekan route. I was in awe when we crossed Sungai Pahang in Pekan because I had never seen a river that big before...