Once Upon A Time In Johor … (Part 1)April 29, 2008 | 1,912 views
Anyway, skip all the KL parts first, and let’s concentrate on my first, virginal and innocent stay for 3 nights at The Zon Regency Hotel, Stulang Laut, Johor Bahru. There are a few pics here and there of my room and the hotel itself, but let’s save those for rainy days (when writer’s/blogger’s block strikes).
We arrived by flight from KLIA at around 4pm, bearing in mind NO meals will be served (boo-hoo) by the hotel management, according to the letter sent to us. After settling down, me, CTO, and Suzy (hehe, sorry, dunno what other nicks to choose from) together with Hairy who hails from Kelantan went down for a walk at the Duty Free Shopping Centre. Though my initial expectation and high hopes for a potential shopaholic’s paradise was dampen by a mediocre shopping complex, with a few liquor stores and a chocolate shop, as well as other cafes/restaurants/clothing stores that did not appeal to me.
Oh well, let’s go for an early dinner! As usual, food speaks the international language of love, and Hairy was dragged (literally) to join us, though he protested because he received news about free meals provided by the hotel.
Hairy : Eh, hotel macam ada serve dinner la, pada pukul 7 nanti, sekarang dah pukul 6, tunggu la sekejap lagi ya? Tentu best makanan yang di’serve’ oleh hotel, kan?
Me, CTO and Suzy : TAK NAK! (Stamping our feets, growling and scratching at poor Hairy …)
Justice prevailed (muahaha) and there we were on our way to satisfy our lust for good food. BTW, one awkward thing is, as the duty free shopping centre is located within the vicinity of the hotel itself, everytime we wanted to walk out or drive away from the hotel, we would have to pass by the stern looking custom officers right in front of the hotel compartment. Yes, they check the car boot and such, to avoid smuggling of duty-free items for sale.
A short walk from the hotel is this outlet serving Malay food. In fact, the whole row of shops were populated by such eateries, competiting among each other for customers. Trusting our instincts, we chose the brightest (for taking food pics purposes, thanks to moi), cleanest (at least among the stalls, not comparing with Grade A or B premises), and the one with the most seats filled. Restoran Sayam 2’s (makes me wonder, where is Sayam 1 anyway?) owner maybe a sarcastic chap, naming his restaurant Saya Ayam 2 (too), cracking a joke or 2 (too) and probably did not realise the joke was erm, on YOU? =P
Stop the crapping and on to the food. Johor is famous for its Otak-Otak, but there are 2 versions available. One being the variety from Muar, and another called Otak Otak Kempas which is shown on above. Never a fan of Otak2 since my USM days, due to my tendency to avoid anything smelling of pungent lemongrass, I had my doubts. But these babies, RED-hot ones, if you will, were just too tempting and tasty! Looks may be deceiving, but one bite and I was hooked. They placed the whole basket of Otak2 for us to attack, good business strategy, as none of us could stop at one piece. Sweet, slightly spicy, warm ,and soft, the fish paste is savoury, and devoid of unpleasant fishy smell. Definite must-try if you’re in JB.
The other dishes were good, nothing particularly mind-boggling. The price was reasonable (bear in mind that this hotel IS at the Johor-Singapore border, after all). After the meal, Hairy managed to gobble down some desserts at the hotel’s cafe!!! I skipped those, but oh boy. BAD decision ……
(to be continued ….)