Once again, mom and dad the foodies have lead me to another gem. This time in old downtown JB, a place where I had the misconception of being just a “Little India”. Restaurant Hua Mui is located at the junction of Jalan Trus and Jalan Dhoby. With it being in the city, finding a parking spot can be a headache, but the foodie god was with us that day and we managed to park just opposite the shop.
Hua Mui Kopitiam’s menu
Their Hainanese Chicken Chop is priced at RM12, an increase of RM1.20 since the review from a famous food blogger in Dec 2011.
This is one old kopitiam specialising in hainanese and western fusion fare, which I kinda liken to Yut Kee in KL, a place where I’ve eaten since I was but a wee babe. Both are 60-something year old businesses housed in pre-war buildings, both are famous for their Hainanese chicken chop and toast made from Hainanese bread, and both are doing booming business in a place without fancy deco or air conditioning!
We had to make our way upstairs via a rickety old staircase since downstairs was full. All the tables were occupied and we had to wait.
There’s no need for air cond, and what a view!
The view from my window
Very quaint kopitiam, check out those antlers on the wall! It’s rare to sit in a kopitiam where malays, indians and chinese all eat together. I wish there were more places like this.
Old skool with a capital O
As the waiter cleared our table, I can’t help but admire the ceiling and those ceiling fans.
All the condiments you can think of is provided here.
You doctor your dish to your heart’s content with thick soy sauce, light soy sauce, ketchup, chilli sauce, pepper and pickled sliced green chillies.
The Famous Chicken Chop
At first glance, I wished there was more gravy, cause I was brought up on Yut Kee’s version which is flooded. With that said, the chicken was heavenly, crunchy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside. Mom told me that the authentic Hainanese Chicken Chops use canned peas, and they use canned peas. It’s an acquired taste, but thumbs up for the authenticity! Coming back to the gravy, it had a very delicate unique flavour, so delicate that after eating other things (like the curry chicken we had ordered), I couldn’t taste it anymore. Not to say it isn’t good, but it can turn out flat after a while. The mystery of that whole selection of condiments is solved. DH told me that my hainanese chicken chop gravy is way better *hooray*
Kaya Butter Toast
Ah, the story behind this picture was that we had been waiting a LONG TIME for our food. Then this was served. The starving people got to it before I could take a picture. My LO gave her wholehearted stamp of approval… is it due to hunger or is the taste really that good? IMO, it would have been better hot.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen sugar served with butter buns! It was a nice touch. However, the bun itself was mostly air. Exasperating!
Curry Chicken with Rice
It was only available on Saturdays and Sundays so we took the opportunity to try it. The curry chicken brought me back to my childhood days when these type of curries were served during parties at school. Thin soupy broth flavoured with aromatics and had a mild spicy taste, it would go very well with bread. As an accompaniment to rice? I would prefer a thick nyonya curry any day.
As their skill in deep-frying chicken is at its best, the chicken pieces were crunchy yummy mouthfuls. Once again, the sauce could have been better, but I liken it to eating popcorn chicken with cream sauce. It works.
Like all old establishments, I reckon this place suffers from the same woes as Yut Kee in KL whereby the standard of food served continuously drop. Yet people still keep coming back again and again. For the memories, of course! Though, if I had not learnt how to make a mean Hainanese Chicken Chop myself, I too would lament the passing of a good gravy-drenched fried chicken thigh. Mayhap in years to come, my LO will only be able to find authentic ones in the comfort of home.
Address : 131 Jalan Trus 80000 Johor Bahru
Business Hours : Daily 7:30am to 7:30pm