24 July 2008

Restoran SPOA, Johor, Malaysia

Very often, hubby and I would drive into Malaysia for short weekend getaways since we stay in the far west of Singapore and the secondlink is conveniently near. The moment we cross the secondlink, we are greeted with miles and miles of countryside, a welcoming change from the densely populated concrete Singapore.
One of my favourite seafood restaurant in Malaysia has got to be Restoran SPOA 合德宝阿斯里海鲜, located at Pasir Puteh in Johor (think it's east Johor). Actually driving there is quite straightforward nowadays as lots of road improvements were completed.
Driving directions:
  • From secondlink (travelling on North-South Highway), exit at Pasir Gudang (exit no. 256).
  • After exiting, basically you are on Pasir Gudang highway.
  • Drive all the way straight with no turns at all for about 40-50mins.
  • You will know it's nearing soon, when you enter the industrial zone with a couple of refineries as well as the Johor Port.
  • Drive on till you reach Tanjung Puteri Golf Course on the right of the road.
  • Turn in and just follow the paved road all the way.
  • You will then reach a stretch of coarsely and poorly paved road (beware road is rather bumpy).
  • Proceed till you see a sign board amidst a palm oil plantation.
  • It may seem a dead end but no, turn right into the palm oil plantation (be warn that the 'road' is bumpy and narrow) and
  • you'll be surprised to see 3 to 4 restaurants along river bank which is the Straits of Johor overseeing Northern Pulau Ubin!
It used to take us 1 1/2hr due to serious traffic jams along Pasir Gudang but since the highway is completed, traffic becomes quite smooth, shortening the drive to around 40-50mins.
Even though the restaurants are located at such an obscure place, throngs of locals and Singaporeans alike still flock there every weekend! Must be the lure of good and affordable seafood!

I only visit Restoran SPOA even though there are 3 others. It is even recommended by Mediacorp Channel U as a popular food haunt. The whole place looks rustic and run-down with mainly kelong style wooden structures and platforms. But nobody bothers so long as the food is cheap cheap good good.
We always start with a thai coconut to quench thirst after the travelling. The juice is super sweet and cold! Yummy!
A basket of condiments for self-service. Garlic with lotsa chilli, goes well with seafood.
My absolute favourite dish here! Not sure the real name but we call it 'fake abalone 假鲍鱼'. I think it's some species of shell fish, sliced thinly and tossed in a highly addictive sauce mixture of lime juice, red and green chilli, shallots, peanuts (perhaps some other secret ingredients) and laid over a bed of shredded lettuce. Perfectly coated with the spicy-sweetish-sourish sauce, the chewy 'abalone' creates bursts of flavours in the mouth with each bite. Sensational! I can't help but salivate at the mere thought of it!

Another of my favourite dish here! Squid deep fried in egg batter and curry leaves. I love the slight curried taste and aroma of the dish as well as the chewy texture of the squid! It's so good that I even ate the crispy curry leaves. LOL.
This is a type of lettuce, not sure the English name, but in Chinese we call it 'You Mai Cai 油麦菜'. Cooked in fermented bean curd, the robust flavour complements the juicy and crunchy vegetable perfectly. Delicious!

This dish, we call it 'underwater chicken 海底鸡' because the texture of the fish meat is so tender and succulent that it resembles chicken meat. With fish this fresh, just steam in some light soya sauce and spring onion and it's yet another perfect dish!

In front of the restaurant there is this enclosure where the restaurant owners keep the catches of the day brought in by fishermen. When orders are placed by customers, the fish will be scooped and brought directly to the kitchen. Talk about freshness!

In fact, there are so many other dishes worth recommending like the drunken herbal prawn soup, cereal prawn, chilli crab, all sorts of shell fish etc etc. It's definitely worth the drive and this is one gem you can hardly find in Singapore now.

Restoran SPOA
Telok Kabong, Kg. Pasir Puteh, Johor
Tel: 07-216 2798


  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for posting on Restoran SPOA. I only wished I had read your blog before I went there. Your recommended dishes look much more interesting than the ones we ordered :).

  2. Hi Bigdaddy,
    I would say most dishes are good there, just that some are better :p There's always a 2nd try, 3rd try... just 1hr drive away!