‘Tap, tap, tap…’.
Several gentle taps on the half-boiled egg with a spoon, and the warm egg cracked open landing with a splash into a small, orange plastic dish. Adding just a dash of white pepper and soy sauce, it was ready to be eaten.
Accompanying it, I had ordered two slices of kaya toast and bubbly teh tarik. Sinking my teeth greedily into the soft toast, I could taste the thick slice of butter melting away in the mouth.
Even the loud chatter of patrons at the small, unique canteen at the Kluang Rail Coffee Shop (Railway Canteen Kluang as it also known) couldn’t distract me from appreciating this meal.
Sitting timidly on the wooden stool, I looked around me and smiled. This is really a great place!
It is such a relief to get away from the hectic city to enjoy the simple breakfast. Listening to the trains passing by seems a different world away, from listening to cars and smog in the city centre.
The Kluang Rail Coffee has been operating since 1938. It is situated in Kluang, about an hour’s drive from the Johor city centre, Johor Bahru.
Kluang town was founded in 1915, is also the administrative capital for central Johor. A railway line was built here during the early years it was established which aided in the growth of the town.
Later on, roads were built to link Kluang with other places in Johor, including Batu Pahat in the north-west and Mersing in the east.
The railway canteen became a popular eating place for locals and traveller’s frequenting the Kluang train station. They would come over for a good, cup of strong brew and kaya toast, with half-boiled eggs.
Simple but great menu
The canteen has a simple menu, such as nasi lemak, curry puff, noodles, wholemeal bread and popular drinks such as coffee and tea.
It is the coffee, charcoal roasted bread and great old world ambience that keeps pulling the crowd to the canteen which opens daily from 7.00 am to 12.00 noon (breakfast) and from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm (afternoon tea).
Do, while away the times, listening to the trains passing as it rattle the canteen walls, lightly.
I can almost imagine back in those days, when the station was full with people rushing to get on the train; peddlers would sit by the side gawking their wares, while mothers would tug along their children gently. They would stop at this quaint railway canteen to quench their thirst and quell their hunger for the long journey.
Chat with the one of its friendly proprietors, busy preparing coffee for customers. His skilled hands would constantly mix drinks (not even looking!) while chatting up customers who sit by the window.
Workers are hurriedly preparing toast, eggs and such while others take down orders on small thin strips of coloured-paper. The orders are then hung daintily on the window sill while it is prepared. It does not take long for the orders to arrive. Even then, there would be customer’s queuing up to get into the shop.
By noon, the crowd dwindles. This is because, at noon, the shop closes for a rest. The hardworking workers’ take their much needed break, before continuing on again at 2.30 pm for afternoon tea.
This authentic ‘kedai kopi’ is really a wonder to have survived the years. It still retains its taste and flavour, especially for its popular coffee beans which are 100 % locally grown and hand roasted to perfection. It is available in dark coffee (Kopi O) or coffee with milk (Kopi). It is even mixed with a bit of tea for a unique tasting drink on its own (known as ‘cham’).
There are even conveniently packed coffee bags and coffee powder, as well as delicious homemade kaya (coconut jam), and the Kluang Rail Coffee T-shirts at the shop.
As a testimony to its’ endless accolades by travellers throughout the world, make sure to look over its simple, wired walls as there are pasted articles, knick-knacks and keepsakes from travellers’ whom have frequented the coffee shop.
Visitors to Kluang should definitely stop by Kluang Rail Coffee for a slice of great food and good ambience!
Further enquiries contact:
86000 Kluang, Johor
From the North South Expressway (NSE), take the Ayer Hitam exit (Interchange 244) onto Highway 50 headed to Kluang, about 23km from the exit.
Satria Bus (Tel: +607-7223348) provides hourly bus service from Kuala Lumpur to Kluang.
The Kluang Rail Station Coffee shop now has several branches throughout the country managed by Mr. Phun Jun Jee (JJ). Known as Kluang station, it serves authentic Hainanese fare.
Visit their website at http://kluangstation.com