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So I was in the southern Malaysian state of Johor for some R&R with the family. We visited the goat farm in Kluang and had a delicious breakfast at the town’s local train station. Feeling sleepy, I was looking forward to a nice nap in the car on the four hour journey back to Kuala Lumpur – but the parents decided to make a pitstop at the coastal cityof Muar.

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The city is separated into two parts by the mouth of the Muar river. In the city center, its streets are reminiscent of many ex-colonial towns in Malaysia, such as Ipoh, Penang and Kuala Lumpur. Low, pre-war buildings with wooden windows line the streets.

We went hunting for food along Muar’s famous ‘food street’ along Jalan Haji Abu.

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They still have an old Rex cineplex here. Rex used to be what the new TGVs and GSCs are now, and was probably one of the earliest cinemas in Malaysia, but they’ve died out. Today, I think it has been converted into an electrical shop, although the ‘Rex’ sign in four languages still remain.

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We had lunch at a corner coffee shop along Food Street. A must-have while in Muar is the otak-otak (or Otah as it is called by the locals), which is famous all over Malaysia

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Foreign readers are probably wondering what Otak2 is. Literally translated as ‘brain-brain’ (probably due to its mushy texture), it is made from ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices (curry powder, turmeric, chilli), wrapped in banana leaf before grilling over a charcoal fire. It is commonly eaten as a snack on its own (I can certainly put away a dozen in one sitting!) or together with rice.

The texture ranges from soft to slightly chewy. You can find Otak-otak in many parts of South East Asia, but predominantly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Versions (there are white and orange ones) may vary according to types of fish and spices used, but the prep method is almost the same.

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Congee!

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Street stalls selling various snacks like yam and glutinous rice cakes. Those packets you see are chilli sauce.

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Glutinous rice cake with charsiew (sweet roast pork) filling. Oh-so-greasy but yummy!

The food street has dozens of stalls selling delicious street snacks, so drop on by Jalan Haji Abu if you’re ever in town!

Muar Glutton Street 贪吃街
Address: Jalan Haji Abu, Pekan Muar, 84000 Johor
GPS: 2.046787,102.568627
Hours: 3:00pm to 8:00pm