With similar origins to the wildly famous (I have lots of friends who swear by this Bak Kut Teh) Bak Kut Teh from Kota Tinggi, Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh (强记肉骨茶), Kota Zheng Zhong offers Johor Bahru-ians a chance to experience that very taste right from Nusa Bestari.
Kota Zheng Zhong (哥打正宗肉骨茶) is a family branch of the original Kiang Kee Bak Kut Teh and I would say that whilst it is definitely slightly less homely and more commercialised in feel, it keeps its taste elements and is still really delicious!
Is it Halal?
Erm, I hope you guys weren’t really here to check whether this restaurant is halal or not, because yeah. It’s not. Bak Kut Teh is basically pork bone tea soup if you want the direct translation, so this definitely isn’t a place for big groups with Muslim people.
Where it Is
I believe that there are two Kota Zheng Zhong Restaurant branches itself, but the one that I went to is the one in Nusa Bestari (other one being in Taman Sentosa) - what confuses me is that they use the exact same picture for both branches on Google Maps, so that did put me off when I was double checking.
Best way for me to describe it would be to use Family Mart Nusa Bestari as a reference point, go towards the direction of the old Giant and go straight. You’ll see a row of shops basically further up. When you hit the traffic light, turn right and you’re basically there!
There’s both a non air con option and air con option if you’re eating here too.
Address: 17, Jalan Bestari 12/2, Taman Nusa Bestari, 81300 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
Daily: 10am to 4pm, 6pm to 10pm (Rest days on Monday)
What it Costs
I feel like with these kinds of things, the more people you have the average cost slowly goes down, so do keep that in mind because I ate as a group of two when I came here (2 pretty hungry dudes who can eat a fair amount - not a lot but a fair amount).
The total for the two of us came up to be RM40.60, and the following is basically what we got. Their basic claypot Bak Kut Teh (RM14 - you can choose what type of meat you want in there - we went with a mix of pork belly and pork ribs) and their “Three Mix” (basically a combination of liver, kidney and intestines - not for the people who don’t like that taste). We got add ons of Enoki Mushroom and You Tiao.
We also got drinks - a soya bean and a normal Chinese tea. I’m sorry because I can’t quite remember the breakdown of the prices, but the basic claybot bak kut teh was RM14 (plus RM3 for the enoki mushroom) and the You Tiao is RM2.
All in all, it is slightly more expensive than your basic bak kut teh if you’re paying RM20 for your entire meal I guess. But I think the way to go would be to get different bowls of dishes and share so you get to try more of the things on offer, because I would say they are tasty. AND YES, you can add soup.
How it Tastes
Honestly for me, this is quite easily the best tasting Bak Kut Teh there is in Johor Bahru. The flavour really packs a punch and is that good balance between watery and being rich with the flavour. They do go a bit ham on the beancurd skin though, as I’m quite sure you guys can see from the photos of the meal.
The broth is basically what you come here for. My take is that you know it is herbal, but it doesn’t have that herbal taste that gets disgusting - which makes it uber delicious. I would say I’ve had nicer ribs which are soft right off the bone, but it is still pretty tasty as a whole.
The kidney-liver-intestine mix makes the broth even more stronger in a way that only those 3 ingredients can, but it is pretty interesting to try kidney - I don’t think I see that around all too much. Normally just the liver-intestine combination, and I would say it is pretty nice - not that same feeling of liver, more like the intestines.
7.5/10. I would say if it was slightly cheaper this was easily an 8, but this is a solid 7.5. The flavours are nice, they don’t try to do anything over the top, but also maintain their traditional flavours, so this is a really nice Bak Kut Teh in my books. The type of place suitable for pretty much everyone.