As a vegetarian with an appetite in Johor Bahru, there are very few reasons to visit Hua Mui. Granted, you may have a thing for corner-plot restaurants, classically tiled floors or wall-mounted antlers, but it certainly won’t be for the food; the veggie options are few and far between. BUT, if visiting JB with friends who may (just, may…) have a predilection for flesh, then you could well be dragged here.
Restoran Hua Mui is a very popular Hainanese cafe that is usually packed and noisy. People come here for the various “chops” – chicken, pork, whatever – as well as the large selection of noodle and rice dishes, coffee and toast. There were three things that I liked about this place: 1) the pulley system (or dumb waiter) used to ferry food and drinks between the first and second floors; 2) the constant breeze that blows in from the adjacent rows of windows on the second floor; and 3) the free peanuts that are served. That’s about it! There are no real vegetarian options on the menu, but you can try and patch together a meat-free meal as we did…
Restoran Hua Mui
131 Jalan Trus
Open 07:30-19:30 daily
The toast was thick and well-buttered and looked really, really promising. Unfortunately it lacked the richness of butter, and had the cheap, dissatisfying taste of margarine instead. The eggs were OK – quite well-salted, but they had a strange, string-like texture that for some reason reminded me of shredded chicken.
This was served to us twice: the first time with meat, the second time without (the joys of ‘customising’ a dish…). Rather a pathetic plate of fried rice, by anyone’s standards. The overriding flavours were of MSG and tinned vegetables. The tomato was fresh but bland, the mushrooms were canned and salty. Lesson learnt: don’t even think about deviating from the menu.
If you do end up here (as a vegetarian), my advice would be to stick to the one or two meat-free dishes on the menu. This will invariably involve some sort of toast. Or else eat well before coming here. Or find some new friends to travel with!