Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory

This eatvestigator has been busy exploring the art of coffee making. The artisan handcraft movement is going strong in Singapore now as a response to all our ready-made consumerism. Being involved in grinding your own coffee beans and brewing it is now the new vogue. Beans can be easily grinded with a Hario grinder and then brewed with this contraption called an Aeropress. The result is a clean cup of kopi-o or coffee black which costs maybe 20 Singapore cents at most. Add condensed milk for kopi or froth milk for latte to taste.

Sourcing for coffee beans and fresh grinds was of major research interest for a while, but this eatvestigator believes he has the answer. Many of your big name cafes out there essentially sell exotic origin (e.g. Ethiopia, Uganda) beans with equally laughable marked up prices. Not this place, yet. An indiscrete area somewhere in Balestier road near the pricey chicken rice place.

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The shop has been in existence for decades, and supplies the local coffee shops with their blend of coffee roasted with butter and sugar, in the range of $8-10 per kg.  These are typically blends of Robusta and Arabica that are sourced from Indonesia and Vietnam.

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The younger owner who took over from his father, also sources more exotic stuff from other Ebola-hit continents. There are more than 30 types for your choosing. At an average of $8/250g, this is probably half the price of what you would pay at certain popular “hipster” cafes which shall not be named here. Really? How is it hipster when everyone goes there…
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If variety is your preference, then you could just buy 250g of different origins and try to your heart’s delight here. This eatvestigator bagged 250g of Bali origins for $4.50 that day, along with the normal coffee mixture.

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Those went into an Aeropress, and go very well with condensed milk for an authentic-tasting rendition of kopi at less than 20 cents a cup. As for the Aeropress, it retails for approximately $65 in Singapore but you can get them on Carousell for ~$49.

328 Balestier Road,
Singapore 329760
https://www.facebook.com/lamyeocoffeepowder

Chaiwalla & Co Container Cafe

Someone asked this Eatvestigator where they could find some decent chai tea at decent prices. This Eatvestigator had to first point out the redundancy of the phrase “chai tea” because the word chai essentially means tea in India (which was itself derived from the Chinese word “cha/茶”). However this chai is typically infused with spices. It thereby follows that a “Chaiwalla” is very much the Indian version of a barista who makes tea for you.
Chaiwalla
Thoroughly disappointed by the chai latte offered at a certain Seattle coffee chain, this Eatvestigator decided to seek out some chai that wasn’t exorbitantly priced or watery. Here lies this gem of a Chaiwalla Container Cafe in the Little India of Singapore Johor Bahru. The shop operates out of an actual container, providing a scenic view of a car park with al fresco seating. The locals do NOT appeared to be concerned with any sort of outdoor daylight muggings. There is of course safety when gathering in numbers. It is located at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, which is a mere stone throw away from City Square.

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You get reasonably priced chai at around RM3.8-5.8, with choice of original or additive flavours, done hot or cold. This Eatvestigator tried both the original hot chai and cold chai, and can attest that it has not been diluted watery like certain overpopulated establishments. There were other beverage choices such as milk, thai milk tea to suit your mood. Pies were also on offer but this Eatvestigator didn’t have the time or stomach to try them.

Nearby, there were also various venerable old eateries, ranging from a coffeeshop to a bakery. As of writing, they have opened a second outlet at The Curve in Kuala Lumpur. (No love for tea drinkers in Singapore).

Lot 2810, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
80000 Johor Bahru
https://www.facebook.com/chaiwalla.co

Restoran Todak

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Right opposite Singapore’s Sembawang coast is this al fresco seafood restaurant on stilts that offers a somewhat scenic view of the Johor straits and shipyards in Singapore. The restaurant is set amidst a sleepy fishing village of the Orang Asli (Malaysia’s true aboriginals) whom this eatvestigator observed digging the mud for some of the “fresh” catch which are supplied to the restaurant.
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The location is a good 30 minutes away from the Causeway by car, single one way taxi fare is approximately RM30-40 depending on your haggling skills. The main reason to venture here is for the reasonably fresh seafood that is about half price of what you get in Singapore. There are in fact a few other restaurants in the vicinity but this was observed to be the most crowded (for good reason).
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As with any respectable seafood restaurant, prices are prominently displayed alongside the live produce. It is this eatvestigator’s opinion that restaurants which refuse to prominently display prices have the utmost intentions of  fudging their calculations and you often end up with astronomical prices.
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Grouper, mud crabs and clams are in great abundance. There are about 4 categories of mud crabs that vary from the smallest to the largest. The cheapest being RM3/100g, upsizing to RM5/100g, RM7/100g, RM10/100g. The cheapest are the first to be gone, so the eatvestigator’s party went with the RM7 ones. Boy they were huge.
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First blood was the whole grouper (RM100, ~SGD39), steamed in Teochew style. Very sweet and fresh, well executed.
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The obligatory prawns (RM45, ~SGD18) were never particularly impressive every single time that the eatvestigator has been here. Get them if you are not broke and just want some variety.
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We also had crabs done in two different styles, the first being salted egg york, the second being chilli. The eatvestigator preferred the former, but both had their merits. Both dishes utilised 3 crabs each, totalling approximately 3.5kg for a grand total of RM231 or SGD90 for both. This is approximately half of Singapore price.
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It is obligatory when having chilli crab to also have fried mantous for dipping with the sauce. These were pretty addictive and the party ended up having a second helping.
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We arrive at the most pertinent aspect of the venture across the straits. There was crab, fish, prawn, cuttlefish, and assorted vegetable stir fries, even coconuts. For a meal of 11 persons, this worked out into about RM50 ~SGD19 a person. Truly Malaysia boleh value. Beware, cash only and make sure you pre-arrange a ride back if arriving by taxi.
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1, Kampung Orang Asli, Telok Jawa, Masai, Johor Baru
11.30am ~ 11.30pm

m4s0n501