What, Where and How:Baik isnin pagi, EDR brings you Restoran Hua Mui to kickstart the week. You can find Hua Mui at No. 131 Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru; in fact, it’s a few shops before Kin Wai Kedai Makan, which we have previously covered. Both are well-known for the coffee they serve and also for the breakfast culture they embody.
One thing to note is that Hua Mui can be pretty crowded and usually you have to wait for a table to be emptied. Servers there will keep a lookout for you but they won’t really hold the table for you, so be prepared.
Personally, we prefer Kin Wai for the Hainan Kopi and Kaya Toast although there have been numerous online reviews about Hua Mui being the better of the two. I would think Hua Mui is more spacious with its two-storey outfit and cooler makan environment. Also there is a rustic, old-school shophouse charm about Hua Mui that makes dining a little more special for the typical urban dweller.
Hua Mui has a rather extensive menu beyond serving coffee, tea and toast. We ordered Curry Chicken with white bread (RM$3.50) and Nasi Lemak (RM$6.90) which are only available on Sunday, in addition to (American) Breakfast Set (RM$6), Kaya and Butter Toast (RM$1.30), Kopi O (RM$1.30) and Teh (RM$1.60).
The Curry Chicken with rice, though cheap if converted to Sing dollars, it was forgettable and measly in portion size. Within the small bowl of curry were two small pieces of chicken and 2 potatoes swimming in the coconut gravy. The taste was not too bad though I had expected more because there was a ‘thumbs-up’ logo next to the dish as listed in the menu, which should be reserved for truly deserving food. While it is only available on Sunday, I wouldn’t purposely make a trip on Sunday just to try it.
The Nasi Lemak was above average for its fluffy rice with an equally delicious fried chicken wing. The wing is well-marinated and of course, it would have much more desirable if it was fleshier to match my carnivorous appetite :p
The American breakfast is passable with the usual serving of egg, sunny side up, hotdog, some potato wedges, a toasted bun and peas. Interestingly, I found the peas most delicious! The peas are fresh ones stewed in sauce instead of the shrivelled kind, Each pea is full of bite and with a starchy texture.
I was rather disappointed with the kaya Toast when it arrived. The bread slices were a pale shade of brown; which means it hasn't been toasted thoroughly. The kaya and butter slices were not 'gao' enough and I felt like I was biting into plain white bread.
The hot drinks came in typical glass cups, but they were not fantastic. The Tea was quite sweet, which I don’t like and the kopi o lacked the robust aroma and ‘kick’ that further faded as the drink went cold.
It was a nice experience having breakfast there, especially with our kid in toll, to feel what it is like to eat and drink in an old shophouse with swirling ceiling fans. It is a departure from the usual air-conditioned cafes we always bring him to; it’s really to get him in touch with an environment that’s closer to tradition.