Often on excursions, the experiences vary from one destination to another, nothing is set in stone. Muar or less commonly known as Bandar Maharani, is located in the state of Johor. Although it is not as immense as other major tourist sites, it has its own sui generis charm, traversing into the unknown which will ultimately leave us in awe and besotted in its wonders.
Muar has so much more to offer, in addition to being synonymous with its famous Mee Bandung. In fact, there are so much to Muar such as its unique architectural design, activities, arts, and lest should we forgot, the traditional Malay cuisine that still stand the test of time.
Location: 15, Jalan Sri Temenggong 26/1, Taman Sri Temenggong, 84000 Muar, Johor Darul Takzim
Our staple breakfast menu has always been nasi lemak, or roti canai and the sort. Breakfast with satay, however, is a foreign concept for most of us. Even so, it is a common practice for residents in Muar. 31-year-old Nabila Bte Ruba’I, owner and third-generation heir to R&H Café said that the culture of breakfast with satay is a custom existed exclusively among the Muar locals, and it is a practice passed down from generations.
“20 years ago, our shop was located at the front of the old bus stop. This spot only started operating five years ago. The breakfast available here are Sate, Lotong, Mee Rebus, Roti Bakar, Nasi Lemak, Tauhu Lentok and Super Soup,” said the owner. Nabila left her career in education to continue her family-owned business, officially using the name R&H Café in 2005. It is now one of the ‘must-stop’ eateries for locals and tourists alike.
Entering the F&B business is not foreign to Nabila as her mother was a former cook for the Johor Royal family. “The experiences of serving His Majesty for eight years are applied while we are developing R&H Café. Anytime His Majesty comes to the Muar district for a visit, my late mother is among the few people who would prepare dishes for His Majesty and his family,” she said.
It is this bond that Nabilah’s family had with the royal family, which eventually lead to satays in Muar being named as Sate Maharani, a dish favoured by His Majesty. Some of the food that will be ordered by His Majesty includes, Squid in Balck Ink, Sour Curry and Sate Paru.
Tourists are recommended to give Sate Maharani, Lontong Champion, Super Soup, Tauhu Lentok, Roti Manja and Mee Rebus Jawa a go whenever they visit R&H Café. Tourists will be greeted with the sweet aroma of grilled satays as they step into the premise.
MUAR LEATHER CRAFT
Location: No 11 Taman Sri Siantan, J140, 84000 Muar, Johor
With over 30 years of experience under his belt, Roslin Osman, 58 has been engaging in leather craft since 1989. His passion for leather craft finally prompted him to start his own business. Thus, Muar Leather Craft (MLC) was established in 2018. He explained that apart from producing designer art products, MLC also aims to create awareness regarding leather craft products that are rarely known to the public.
“Here, not only do we take orders, produce and sell our products, we also provide leather craft workshop space where customers are given exposure to leather crafting techniques and later, making and producing the leather products themselves. This gives the product a sentimental value. Customers or visitors should be literate in choosing leather products because it will ultimately affect the end result of the product. For example, leather materials for making shoes are not suitable for gloves making. This is some of the basic knowledge that we want the local community to part with when they leave,” Roslin said.
After travelling to leather factories in more than 40 countries and having 16 years of experience in the art of leather glove making for Japanese brands, FootJoy and Titleist, what better way to make use of the experience than by educating and instilling interest in the local community. The proprietor of MLC conducts workshops for people of all ages, ranging from primary, secondary, and university students, as well as individuals in groups. With the minimum number of people starting from 30, to a maximum of 120 participants, the workshop consist of demonstrations and techniques are shown to all participants prior to the actual product making.
Roslin said that currently, he can only produce 200,000 gloves out of 1 million requests. “It’s arduous to find the right leather. High quality leather product is not only defined by its leather and the end use of the product, but also by its intricate stitching details.”
DESA KEROMA ECO RESORT
Location: 5923 Parit Keroma Jalan Joned, Bandar Maharani Bandar Diraja, 84000 Muar, Johor
“Whenever His Majesty pays a visit, we have less than 12 hours to make preparation for his arrival!” Azwin Binti Abdullah said, reminiscing the incident that happened back in 2018. Before His Majesty departs, he asked that Desa Keroma be introduced to the public, which became an inspiration for Azwin to continue developing Desa Keroma and upgrading its activities.
Built on a four acres land, this homestay is being surrounded foliage. The catch? It is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The resort is divided into two sites, namely site A and site B. There are a variety of accommodation options to choose from, not only from pricing, but also ones that will suit your activities and holiday needs. Villa Kayu Manis in Laman A provides 16 basic rooms (double beds) at a price of RM120 per unit or RM140 on public holidays. Three units of family rooms (1 double bed, 3 single beds) are priced at RM250 per unit, RM320 on public holidays. For those of you who wants to conduct seminars or activities that involves many participants, Dewan Anggerik comes equipped with the amenities that will surely suit your agenda.
On the other hand, site B consists of a villa with eight chalets. The villa carries an open space concept, where there is no limitation to the numbers of people in the establishments, and the interior layout is designed exactly to give it a homey feeling. It is priced at RM850 per unit or RM970 on public holidays. The chalets, Seroja, Kesidang, Cempaka and Kenanga chalets are priced at RM140 per unit and RM170 on public holidays. While guests are free to prepare their own meal at the villa, food is also provided by the chalet management if required.
Unlike most resorts, Desa Keroma Eco Resort has its own charm. One of the eye-catching uniqueness is the construction of the buildings, which are inspired by buildings designs from Bali and China. Another specialty of the resort is its farm-raised saltwater tilapia. For months, the Department of Fisheries Malaysia closely monitored the growth of the fishes so that it can grow healthy. And unlike regular freshwater tilapia, the taste of the saltwater tilapia is definitely a gastronomical delight.
Swimming, archery and ATV rides are among the activities available at the resort. For anglers or beginners who just getting started, traditional bamboo rods are available for them.
Location: Pengkalan Tiram, Kampung Tiram, Muar
It is indeed a wasted trip to Muar if you do not stop by Pangakalan Tiram, the fishing hub in the district. In Muar’s estuary waters, there are three species of oysters which are considered among the best quality oysters.
Unbeknownst to many, the method used to fish in the delta is still done traditionally through diving, and it is a method that has been passed on for more than 100 years.
“Therefore, the activity of finding oysters in Pengkalan Tiram is not just a routine, but it has also become an attraction for foreign tourists who want experience up cloes and personal on how oysters are taken by local oyster divers,” said the owner of Pengkalan Tiram, Captain Jelani Laham (retired).
Abdul Rani Bahari, fourth generation oyster diver, said that it takes seven months for the oysters to reach maturity. “It is not seasonal and often, it depends on the water conditions. The two species of oysters that can be found at the estuary is Balchare and Iradelli. With its white flesh and the natural sweetness, Iradelli is one of the most delicious oysters, especially when eaten raw,” he said before setting off to collect oysters.
Armed with only a wooden pole from the boat to the bottom of the delta, the divers will cling to the pole and slowly descend to the bottom of the delta, relying only on their sense of touch. One dive does not exceed three minutes and it largely depends on the tides and water currents.
Location: Sai Kee Kopi Serbok Sdn. Bhd, 121 Jalan Maharani, 84000 Muar, Johor Darul Takzim
Besides mee bandung, coffee is another thing that Muar is famous for. Who is unfamiliar with the Coffee 434? The establishment started in 1953 and has now grown not only famous locally in Muar, but also become the go-to choices of many coffee lovers in most states across Malaysia.
The number, 4, has always been associated with bad luck in the Chinese community. So why is it immortalised in its brand? “The story started when my grandfather was producing coffee powder in small scale around the neighbourhood. Soon after, the coffee powder was well-received by many. To place an order at that time, the caller would ask the telephone operator to connect the call by simply saying the last three digits of the original phone number, which was 434.”
“To cherish the memories and to show our appreciation to those who has supported us, we decided to use the number 434 as our coffee brand,” Kiar Cher Yong, 3rd generation heir to the coffee powder company.
After Kiar’s father returned to Malaysia from Taiwan in 1982, he proceeded to manage a five-acre coffee farm and continued the tradition of coffee making until he eventually opened a coffee powder shop in 1985. To further improve the quality of the coffee, Sai Kee Kopi Serbok Sdn Bhd invested in a roaster from Italy in 2002.
The latest product from the establishment is its Elephant Bean coffee, which is garnering a lot of attention lately for its taste and aromatic coffee scent. The catch? It is only sold exclusively in Muar. So, if you are planning your next trip to Muar, this is a definite must-stop destination to add to your list. In addition to buying coffee powder, you can also dine on a variety of side menus as well as enjoy a variety of coffee made by trained baristas.