Ipoh, Penang and Melaka are popular destinations for short breaks away from the city. The problem is these cities are so popular that on most weekends and public holidays, they will be crowded with holiday-makers thronging the well-known spots.
If you are tired of the above scenario, why not head down south to Segamat for that little break? Located just over 200km from Kuala Lumpur, a leisurely drive of about 3 hours would bring you to this little town. We used to have a neighbour who was from Segamat and we’ve always been told about how fantastic Segamat durians were and somehow that fact has always been in my mind. So when a few foodie friends decided to make a trip down to Segamat recently, we were looking forward to a great durian feast there.
Arriving on a Saturday morning, we easily found our way to VIP Hotel in Segamat. A very comfortable and cosy 3-star hotel and just about 10 minutes away from the town centre, VIP Hotel was perfect as our base during the food trip. This 3-star hotel has very decent comfortable rooms, a restaurant – The Chef, gym and the only swimming pool in Segamat. The hotel also has function rooms and a ballroom for meetings and events.
The rooms are all furnished in simple and comfortable hues, complete with tea/coffee facilities and free wi-fi. Breakfast is included in the hotel rates and I must say their restaurant, The Chef serves a good variety of breakfast items.
In fact, when you stay at the VIP Hotel, do have their Mee Rebus Udang and Laksa Johor, two of our favourite items on the menu. The gravies for both these noodles was thick and flavoursome – it’s clear the chef did not stinge on ingredients when preparing these two signature dishes. These two dishes are in our list of food not to be missed while in Segamat!
Delicious Mee Rebus Udang
Laksa Johor – love the thick rich broth, fragrant with spices & blended fish!
Batu 1 Jalan Buloh Kasap
Reservations Hotline: 07-931-2101
As mentioned earlier, this was a food trip and with just two days at hand, we checked out as many popular food places in Segamat as we possibly could. Hotel VIP’s General Manager, Thomas was a great help in pointing us to the right directions!
Here are the other popular food places we checked out:
1. SELERA NASI BERINGIN
24 Jalan Utama 2/7
Do ensure that you come here early as the place would be packed during peak meal hours. We were there before 12 noon so it was still bearable. The rice here was fluffy and lightly scented with spices and served with a variety of curries – chicken, beef and mutton curries/rendang, fried chicken and “ayam masak merah”. The rice and curries were dished out on pretty enamel platters, adding a touch of nostalgia to the experience.
Asam pedas is very popular down south, especially in Melaka and Johor. By its very name, you’d think it’s found in Malay eateries but hey no, it’s equally if not more loved by the Chinese as well. This restaurant is a typical “tai-chow” kinda joint and judging by the crowd, it’s immensely well-known in the area.
Reigning centre-stage was of course the Asam Pedas Snapper (RM49.50) we ordered, a meaty fish big enough for us 8 adults. The spicy and tangy “asam pedas” gravy with fragrant traces of “kaun kesom” had us flooding the rice with it.
Another signature fishy dish here was the “ikan lidah”, aka Tongue Sole (RM22/9pcs). Crispily fried, the flat thin fish was crunchy to the bite, yielding soft flaky beneath. It’s so addictive that one was never enough and we had to order a second portion to satisfy us! Other popular dishes here are Curry Fish Head, Otak-otak and their Squids & Prawns Sambal is a real killer!
3. ROTI CANAI KG TENGAH
Jalan Cheng Kuok Tong
In Segamat, it’s amazing how assimilated the various ethnic cuisines are and there’s really no boundary where food is concerned. In Kg Tengah, there’s this immensely popular and famous roti canai eatery that’s owned and run by a Chinese family! The Chinese uncle flips the roti better than many mamaks I’ve seen, seriously. The roti canai is light and fluffy while crispy on the outside and the thick dhall curry together with their tangy spicy fish curry are absolutely spot-on!
After polishing off several of their roti, we also tried their fried noodles, nasi lemak and soft-boiled eggs for a super hearty breakfast.
If roti canai and nasi lemak are not your cup of tea, then how about some good old wantan mee? Yik Kee is one of the more well-established wantan mee operators in Segamat and I’m told there are several outlets in the town as the business is run by a big family.
We arrived at this outlet just they were opening up for the day so we didn’t have to jostle with others for a table. Plates of their signature “kon lo meen” (wantan noodles tossed in sauce) appeared quickly on our table. Slices of red-hued char siu topped the big pile of noodles. It’s not the best char siu around but I liked the “QQ” al dente texture of the wantan mee. At RM4.30 for a generous portion, it’s good value for money, for sure.
5. AYAM GORENG McDOTA
14 Jalan Ros
It’s a Segamat thing – this Ayam Goreng McDota which is immensely popular with the locals. The chicken skin is very crispy as the thin flavoured batter covering the chicken pieces has all the right elements. Served with coleslaw, mashed potatoes and a bun, it’s a complete meal by itself.
Can’t say No to fried chicken!
6. LENG KEE BAK KUT TEH
2 Jalan Salim
Bak Kut Teh in Johor is quite different from the Klang version. The soup is lighter and so are the herbal flavours. Unlike the darker and thicker Klang BKT, the southern version has more delicate flavours but with stronger peppery taste.
Leng Kee’s BKT subscribes to the southern recipe. Besides BKT, Leng Kee’s signature “bak kee” is another hit. It’s a porky soup cooked with thin slices of pork covered in tapioca flour so each piece of meat has a delightfully smooth slippery texture. Innards are added in for good measure, so together with some fried shallots and chopped spring onions, a huge bowl of the bak kee was polished off effortlessly.
We had bowls of yam rice and blanched yellow noodles with the bak kut teh and bak kee – a truly memorable porky meal in Segamat!
7. OLD STREET 23
70 Jalan Sultan
This quaint little cafe is busy at all hours of the day. The menu offers a good selection of light meals, snacks and desserts. Feeling a bit peckish in the afternoon, we were here for their Song Hua “pan meen”, a popular noodles dish. The long frilly ribbon-like flat noodles were cooked in a tasty umami broth with simple condiments like fish balls, pork balls and some greens – comfort food at its best.
Check out the Pork Satay at Old Street 23!
8. GERAI KARIPAP
Jalan Tengku Ahmad
Old Town, Segamat
*Open from 2pm onwards
Look out for these colourful stalls under an “Edwin” signage!
We heard about this famous curry puffs stall in the Old Town of Segamat and we made our way there looking for it. Opened from 2pm onwards, the round-shaped deep-fried puffs had either fillings of curry potatoes or chilli sardines. We had to wait for a bit as the stall-owner was busy frying batches of the puffs and we had ours packed piping hot from the wok.
Biting into the hot puffs, I could understand why those pastries, bursting with delicious filling, are such a hit! Check out also the vadai stall next to it – the vadais are really good too.
9. DOLLAND FOOD COURT
There are 3 huge food courts next to each other along Jalan Samsu and these are where the locals flock to for their favourite hawker food. We zoomed in to Dolland Food Court for the Oyster Omelette (“orh chien”). The eggy and slightly-starchy omelette tossed with plump oysters made a good snack, even just after dinner!
Before we left Segamat, we wanted to buy some local biscuits to bring home. Kedai Biskut Giok Kim sells a good variety of biscuits, pastries and eggy sponge cakes. Good for self consumption or as gifts for family and friends, it’s worthwhile stopping by this biscuits shop.
So, with the school holidays coming up soon or even for the next long weekend, why not take a leisurely drive down south to Segamat, explore the town and go on a food hunt – there’s more to discover besides the above, I’m sure!