This is Part II of my food post from our recent day trip to Johor Bahru two weeks ago. Read Part I here.
After spending the afternoon shopping at KSL City, we headed back to City Square to meet up with the parents who only then arrived in JB. They came here like previous years just to buy mooncakes from Lavender and Season, both popular bakeries in Malaysia. My husband and I aren’t big fans of mooncakes, though we’d still eat for tradition, so we literally left empty-handed.
Anyway, as it was near dinner time, I suggested to all to have dinner here before heading back home. We’ve been wanting to try the food at Dragon-i Restaurant as it always seems to be packed with a long queue waiting.
And indeed, there was already a queue at 6pm. Thank goodness the restaurant wasn’t full house so we were ushered to a table within 5 minutes of waiting.
This was a delish appetiser! Before this dish arrived at our table, I had expected the pig shank to be quite fatty but after having one slice, I was delighted to taste a crunch with each bite from the slightly rubbery texture of the skin. There wasn’t much fat, only the goodness of the most sought-after collagen! Pig shank is a cut with lots of connective tissues and collagen and this was truly a well executed one.
The jellyfish was marinated in a sweet-sour-spicy dressing that really whetted our appetite. I had tasted jellyfish with a weird ‘plasticky’ aftertaste before but this had none. It was cut into nice thick strips, perfect texture to chew.
Deep Fried Beancurd with Salt & Pepper
Another winning dish for us. Silken tofu cut into bite-size cubes, deep fried to perfection with a crispy skin on the outside and then seasoned with a good balance of salt & pepper. Sweet chilli sauce was provided for dipping which wasn’t really necessary as the tofu cubes were already good on their own. The tofu inside each morsel was soft enough to melt in your mouth. So good, they went out in no time!
We unanimously agreed that these unpretentious-looking meat dumplings were better than Din Tai Fung’s (and the like) though our first impression of it wasn’t good. The dumplings had a fair amount of rich-flavoured broth in them. The ratio of skin to meat filling was perfectly done. The meat filling was nicely marinated too. Normally, I’d dip dumplings in black vinegar to enhance their taste but these tasted good when plain. If not for the main courses we had ordered, I could probably order another few baskets to share.
The first question my Dad asked me when he saw this item on the menu was, “What is Potherb Mustard?”. I had no idea. But he still went ahead to order it as he wanted to try something new. After checking it up online, I realised Potherb Mustard is just a leafy vegetable that is feather-like in shape and it is often served pickled in Japanese cuisine. This La Mian was perfect for the old man’s tastebuds as the broth was light and non-greasy. He finished the entire bowl by himself!
The husband ordered the Spicy Braised Beef Brisket La Mian which I thought was just ok. The broth with chilli oil was a tad too oily. Look at the floating oil on top. Generous portions of beef brisket and tendons but they failed to impress. Some parts were too chewy for our liking. And the noodles were slightly overcooked too.
My mum had the Fried Seafood La Mian which was way too salty. There wasn’t anything interesting about this dish. It just looked like a plate of noodles and assorted seafood fried in oyster sauce and too much light soy sauce or salt. The prawns, squids and fish slices were fresh and crunchy but the noodles just weren’t up to standard.
I felt relieved that I was the only one who ordered a rice dish instead of noodles. And this steamed rice didn’t disappoint. All the other main courses came before me and didn’t impress me that much so when mine arrived, I was happily tucking into it. It was like a steamed version of chicken claypot rice, served in this little cute bamboo pot. I loved the sauce that was drizzled over the rice, making it very savoury-salty. The timing for steaming was handled well as the chicken pieces were still moist and tender. Portion was quite big for one person so I had the husband to finish it off for me.
Overall, it was a pleasant meal. Service was prompt, dishes were served quick. Warm or ice water was chargeable though it was free-flow. The entire meal cost about RM127.95 which is equivalent to about S$50 based on that day’s currency exchange. For 4 persons, I think it was a good deal. We normally have to pay more than S$100 for the same amount of food if we were to dine in a Chinese restaurant in Singapore.
We were also given a free membership card which we could use to accumulate points and then offset the rebates in our next bill.
The only downside was that all of us felt really thirsty after the meal so I assumed a lot of MSG went into those food. I thought they claimed to be MSG-Free? Next time, we will try their sister restaurant that serves Hong Kong cuisine & dim sum, Canton-i.
Johor Bahru City Square
Lot No. J3-36, Level 3
106-108 Jalan Wong Ah Fook
80000 Johor Bahru
Tel : +60 7-222 1288