My McBeriani experience in Batu Pahat

If you are looking for a taste of beriani rice in Batu Pahat, you will be spoilt for choice. This is because Batu Pahat is home to the most mouth-watering beriani, ever!

The poster for Nasi Beriani Set Dulang Special
on the wall at McBeriani, Batu Pahat
For instance at Kompleks Niaga Benteng, Peserai, almost every stall in this food court boasts of its delicious beriani. Ultimately it’s just a matter of taste and personal preference.

On a recent road trip around Johor, Emily and I had a taste of good beriani at a few outlets in Batu Pahat. They include Restoran BP Bariani Power and Nasi Baryani Mohd Shah, which rank among the most popular beriani brands here.

We had earlier agreed that each time we placed an order, it was for one portion – to share – because the generous mound of beriani rice can be so good, you-can-even-eat-it-on-its-own!

The strategy was not to fill ourselves up with rice but to save space to savour a variety of beriani while we were there.

Facade of Restoran McBeriani in Batu Pahat
One morning, I suggested to quiz the hotel reception staff for their recommendations of Batu Pahat beriani and other must-taste food, just to hear what the locals have to say.

The staff on duty that day, happened to be two ladies and one young man.

When Emily asked them for local food they would recommended in Batu Pahat and I added, also what kind of food that I can buy home to present as buah tangan, they took a while to gather their thoughts before providing a list of recommended food items.

While most of their recommendations were preferably eat-it-freshly-made items (as opposed to takeaways), I was rather amused when the young man suggested, “Mee Racun!”

A serving of Mutton Beriani
What? Poisonous Noodles? With such a name, I guessed it must a potent potion that would instantly clog your arteries…

We shared a laugh about these ‘poisonous noodles’ and got back on track to discuss about Batu Pahat beriani. Then they suggested a nearby restaurant that served beriani not only with the usual choice of chicken or mutton, but also with udang galah or big prawns/scampi!

This sounded very interesting so we followed their directions and walked to a row of shops around the block from the hotel.

When we read the restaurant name, McBeriani, I thought it was a fast-food style beriani place. But it was not.

Two udang galah in the serving
The time was just about noon and we were glad the lunch crowd had not arrived yet.

Our eyes were riveted to the posters on the walls, depicting various beriani servings, because they were very enticing. We looked at all the posters, considering the various portions and decided not to be greedy or over-ambitious.

The Dulang Special set served with prawns, mutton and chicken was particularly mouth-watering but way too large a portion for the two of us.

So we strictly stuck to a single portion of beriani mutton with a side order of the recommended, udang galah, to share.

The rice, soft and fragrant, tasted just right with the rich mutton gravy. There were two large prawns in the serving so we enjoyed one each in the tasty gravy.

As we were polishing off our plates, more diners were arriving and filling up the restaurant. We were almost done and should free up our table soon.

With our stomachs feeling comfortable, we went to the cashier’s counter where the cashier tallied up our bill. Once the bill was paid, we made our way out of the restaurant.

Peggy with Pn Ramlah Mohamed in her
JB home, to invite her to the book launch event
As we walked pass a table where a group of Chinese ladies and young children were seated, they were looking at us and their gaze somehow made me turn to look at them.

While the ladies and children seemed unfamiliar, I jumped in surprise when I instantly recognized one of the ladies, who probably also recognized me at the same moment!

“I thought it was you!” cried Puan Ramlah, the retired former headmistress of Convent Batu Pahat whom I featured under Portraits in my book, My Johor Stories: True Tales, Real People, Rich Heritage.

[In early July 2017, I went to invite Aunty to my book launch planned for July 15 and she graciously accepted my invitation. Transport was even arranged to drive her to the event but for personal reasons, she was not able come.

Immediately after the launch event, I went to see Aunty to present a copy of my book to her. Although we spoke again on the phone, the last I met her in JB was on July 15.]

Now Aunty had been watching us while we stood at the cashier’s counter and wondered to herself if that was me but decided that it was quite impossible for Peggy to be in Batu Pahat on a weekday and having lunch here… But it was really me!

What a pleasant surprise! Pn Ramlah, fondly known as Aunty Rom, was staying in Batu Pahat with her friend, Sandy, for a few days before she moved to live with her daughter in Kuala Lumpur.

Peggy with Pn Ramlah at McBeriani, Batu Pahat
While Batu Pahat was not a big place, it was just uncanny how Aunty and I should meet in this restaurant for our beriani lunch on a sunny weekday!

I explained that Emily and I were exploring some Johor towns on a road trip and Batu Pahat was one of our stopovers.

When their meal was served, we excused ourselves and left the restaurant, still baffled by how weird it was for Aunty and me to meet again at – of all places – McBeriani, in Batu Pahat!

It was such a weird experience that Emily and I were still talking about it for the rest of the day.

Then Emily succinctly summed up how uncanny it was by quoting a famous line from the 1942 Hollywood movie, Casablanca, which starred cinema’s most romantic couple, Bogart and Bergman:

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine…”

McBeriani is at No. 14, Jalan Sulaiman, 83000 Batu Pahat, Johor. Tel: +607 – 4355866.

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