Never to late at Nine-Two-Eight

Butter Prawns

IT was past midnight and we were hungry for a hot meal. Aware that it was hard to sleep with a growling stomach, we headed out to Nine-Two-Eight.

It was interesting to see that almost all the tables were occupied at that time of night. Not surprising as the tables were arranged al fresco to a backdrop of stars and sea with balmy breezes blowing in from the Johor Straits.

Freshly Grilled Fish with spicy chincalok sauce dip
In Chinese, the numbers 928 sound like auspicious words that mean “good fortune forever”. This must be true for the restaurant is clearly a favourite supper spot in Johor Baru. The open air ambience is just right to enjoy piping hot steamboats and sizzling grilled fish or ikan bakar.

At other tables, late diners were tucking into a menu of curry fish-head, steamed fish-head, hotplate otak-otak and a choice of dishes to go with rice.

Some were cooking their own food in a steamboat pot but much as this looked inviting, we decided to give the grilled dishes there a try.

We ordered fish, squid and shellfish in tom yam and sambal flavours, served with spicy cincaluk and a slice of lime. The sizzling aroma was enough to whet my appetite so I added an order for spicy sambal grilled vegetables of lady fingers and pungent petai beans.

Something Good, Something Stinky

Chai Meng Lee presents popular
Thai-style fried rice [Right]
and chow tau foo or stinky tofu [Left] 
The helpful waitress who recommended chow tau foo (stinky tofu), said that Nine-Two-Eight is believed to be the only restaurant in Johor Baru that serves this fermented delicacy.

Feeling rather adventurous, we asked for a small order. The tofu squares, amply coated in chilly-oyster sauce, looked ordinary enough. There was absolutely no way its strong fetid flavour could be enhanced because stinky beancurd is definitely an acquired taste.

For snacks, we chose popular Thai-style fried rice and bihun with kau yoke (stewed pork slices). To do justice to butter prawns and chilly crabs, we rolled up our sleeves to dig in and relished their true flavours with our fingers. The egg-white topping on the prawns was so light and yummy that it was easy to chew it along with the crispy shells.

With our stomachs comfortably filled, we were ready to retire for the day but customers were still strolling in. The proprietress, Chai Meng Lee, was all smiles because business was always brisk on weekends.

Opened since 1997, Nine-Two-Eight has garnered a regular clientele because it has two kitchens that serve halal and non-halal menus.

Location & Opening Hours

Located at No. 57-A-2 & 3, Jalan Ibrahim Sultan, close to the Zon Shopping Centre, Restoran Siu Wei 928 is open daily from 5pm to 3.45am and closes only for the Lunar New Year holidays.  For reservations and takeaways, call 016-773 5130 and 019-773 9914.

This article was first published in The New Straits Times, Travel Times on 17 November 2008

No comments:

Post a Comment