Panchor is a small town within Muar district in Johor situated approximately 30km north east of Muar’s town center. Back in the older days when road networks were not as developed as they are today, Panchor was a busy river port used to transport inner agricultural and plantation crops on the Muar River. Fresh river prawns are aplenty too, which is why some outstation people would make a special trip off the beaten path for a quick meal here.
We did not have the coordinates of the restaurant so we could only rely on the GPS to route us to the address we found online. After driving along some questionable roads through a dense oil palm plantation for a while, we managed to find Han Thoy (the restaurant famous for fresh water prawns) easily once we reached the town. It was literally just a stone’s throw away from the big river. Our first impression of the town was that it is quiet, clean and seemed to be stuck in the 60′s.
This was meant to be a light meal before we continue our journey to Muar so we only tried two of their signature dishes. There are many cooking styles available for the river prawns but we opted for the steamed version (with ginger and scallion in egg white) because we thought it was the best way to enjoy their natural flavor to the fullest.
Fried Prawn Noodle (more commonly known as Hokkien Mee by the Singaporeans) is one of the foods in Singapore I miss consistently. Actually it’s not that you cannot find Fried Prawn Noodle in KL, just head to the food courts in larger malls like Pavilion and there will be probably a stall selling it. But those are only good as a temporary fix and hardly satisfying if compared to the actual stuff in Singapore.
The last time I had a satisfying Fried Prawn Noodle was in Muar at an unassuming road side stall along Jalan Hashim, which the Chinese locals refer as 新路 (pronounced ‘Xin Lu’, means ‘new road’). And of course we did not magically stumble upon the stall ourselves, we sought the recommendation from our Muarian source who is also an ex-colleague of mine. Two stalls were suggested to us actually and as much as we wanted to try both, the more popular and said to the better one as well at Jalan Khalidi was not open.
Coming from Penang myself I have ridiculously high standards when it comes to Char Koay Teow. But it also means I might be biased when judging Char Koay Teow from other states. In the Southern parts of Malaysia like Melaka, Johor and Singapore, Char Koay Teow is fried to appear dark but the overall concept remains the same since both ‘wok hei’ and lard are important aspects of a good plate of CKT. I feel that comparing the northern and southern CKT is like comparing nasi goreng cina with nasi goreng kampung – they are similar but not the same.
In Muar, Char Koay Teow is usually fried together with yellow noodle and is given a nice twist where the locally beloved otak-otak could be added (RM1 for 2 pieces) as additional topping. Frankly speaking this is more of a gimmick than adding any real taste into the dish. Since it is only RM1, I figured why not? Click here to continue reading >
If you are visiting Muar I am pretty sure you would visit their famous Glutton Street. Although there are quite a number of stalls along the street, most of the food is repetitive since there are multiple stalls selling the same thing. But among all, there is one dessert stall which I find quite unique and their traditional ‘tong sui‘ is worth a try.
I am not sure if they actually rotate their ‘tong sui’ selection but we were offered Tau Suan (Mung Bean dessert), green bean soup, bubur cha-cha and peanut soup on that day. Among all I would say the peanut soup would be the one to try here while the rest are pretty common. We also ordered a bowl of bubur cha-cha and to my delight, it tasted very similar to how my grandmother used to prepare it (with tapioca jelly, not many people would still do this nowadays). One taste and I was automatically transported back to my childhood.