They look great on Instagram too!
It’s not just favourable exchange rates and cheap petrol that beckon us to Johor Bahru; it has delicious dim sum bites that are easy on the wallet too. Here are seven restaurants within a half-hour drive from the Checkpoint.
Although prices at Canton i are a bit steeper (by around a dollar or two) than at other outlets in the list, it is the most convenient to get to.
Canton-i in Johor Bahru City Square mall sits on the third floor, in a corner shop lot. Known for its Instagram-worthy “piglet buns” and generously-filled purple liu sha bao, Canton-i is worth a shot especially if you are pressed for time.
Its extensive menu goes beyond dim sum to offer other Cantonese delicacies such as congee, aromatic roasted duck, wanton noodles, and even fresh mango desserts.
Opening hours 10am-10pm; price range ~$12/pax
Lot J3-05, Level 3, Johor Bahru City Square 106-108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia (5-minute sheltered walk from JB checkpoint)
The quaint neighbourhood of Perling is known as a pit stop for those on their way to Legoland, just a 10-minute drive away. The craftsmen of dim sum at Tasixi are famed for being the best in the area, and it certainly lives up to its vaunted reputation.
Crowd favourites include the special “Steamed Otah in Pandan Leaf”, the classic lo mai kai, and siu mai. Even if you are craving some authentic Malaysian tze char (think sambal kangkong, curry fish head, and hotplate tofu), Tasixi has got you covered with its reasonably-priced items.
Opening hours 6.30am-4pm; price range ~$7/pax
Tasixi Hong Kong Dim Sum
11 & 11-01, Jalan Camar 1/3, Taman Perling, 81200 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia (20-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
This one’s for you if you’re keen on ambiance, or would like to experience 1930s-era Shanghai in its full golden-age glory, in fully air-conditioned surrounds. In short, this is the fancier proposition for dim sum in JB.
The selection is stellar, and has you chowing down on everything from the traditional, like very juicy xiao long bao; to the innovative such as fried avocado rolls. Leave room for the mango sago desserts for after.
Opening hours 10am-10pm (weekdays), 8am-10pm (weekends); price range ~$10/pax
D’Shanghai Dim Sum
56, Jalan Permas 15/1, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, 81750 Masai, Johor, Malaysia (15-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
True to its name (which means “usually full-house” in Mandarin), Changman does get very crowded during the weekends and public holidays as locals flock to get a taste of the piping hot sesame balls and loaded xiao long bao.
We’re told that the carrot cake is the bomb, and has a strong hit of XO sauce. Or, take a break from dim sum and add the tender steamed chicken dish to your line-up in the meal.
For dessert, Changman offers complimentary potong ice-cream. Flavours range from coconut to coffee, and red bean. Talk about saving the best for the last.
Opening hours 8am-5.30pm; price range ~$7/pax
Restoran Changman Dim Sum
24G, 26G, 28G Jalan Bestari 5/2, Taman Nusa Bestari, 81200 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (20-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
Restoran Gim Cheng is extremely popular amongst the locals because of its quick service and light fried dishes that even the most health-conscious foodie won’t be able to resist.
Insiders say this eatery is most famous for its homemade char siew bao, while close second must-try are the golden custard buns. Also on the menu are prawn banana fritters and carrot cake.
A big plus is that you get to dine in a well-ventilated open space. Tip: Go before 9am to avoid the crowds and get a taste of everything on offer.
Opening hours 7am-1pm (closed on Wednesdays); price range ~$7/pax
Restoran Gim Cheng
No 2, Jalan Sagu 36, Taman Daya, 81100 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia (20-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
If you’re willing to travel a bit further out for steamy goodness (say, 30 minutes from the checkpoint), then you’ll find the dim sum here worth going the extra mile. It’s all steamed fresh to order, and the time you spent on the road is made up for, since your dishes arrive so quickly.
Popular items include carrot cake, har gow, scallop dumplings, and the smooth “Three Flavour Taste Tea” (a balanced blend of the bitter pu erh, sweet chrysanthemum, and herbal liquorice root). The prices are to die for. Dishes like xiao long bao are at an unheard-of RM5.50 (S$1.84) Pair everything with YamCha’s homemade chilli paste.
The best thing is it’s open all day, every day, so there’s no reason to not work this one into any JB itinerary.
Opening hours 7.30am-5pm; price range ~$8/pax
YamCha Hong Kong Dim Sum
4, Jalan Seri Orkid 31, Taman Seri Orkid, 81300 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia (30-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
Despite being located in a rather secluded part of the town of Skudai, Restoran Haw Yi still attracts the crowds, especially during the weekends. Its pork/prawn chee cheong fun drenched in light soy sauce are to die for, and the seasoned pork ribs taste delicately sweet.
It is also a 10-minute drive away from the newly opened Paradigm Mall of 600 shops. Forget JCube, this largest shopping mall in Johor boasts the first ice-skating rink in Johor Bahru, with all-day prices starting from RM25 (S$8.40). Now you know where to go to walk (or skate) off your Dim Sum feast!
Opening hours 6am-3pm (closed on Wednesdays); price range ~$7/pax
Restoran Haw Yi
20, Jalan Hang Tuah 28, Taman Skudai Baru, 81300 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (30-minute drive from JB checkpoint)
From Young Parents, September 5, 2018
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