Category: Travelogue

MUAR: Small town that has everything

Older part of Muar town with its heritage buildings. Pix by Norbaiti Phaharoradzi

Older part of Muar town with its heritage buildings. Pix by Norbaiti Phaharoradzi

I WAS born and raised in Muar, a small, laid-back town in Johor.

The locals pronounce Muar as Muo. In our dialect, the last vowel of most words is an “O”.

For instance, keluar is pronounced as keluo, bandar as bando, kelakar as kelakor, besar as besor, ular as ulor, pasar as pasor and lapar as lapor.

Everybody thinks of their hometown and family members when they are far from home.

I tend to have longings for Muar food at the mere mention of my hometown.

Muar people love food, never mind the calories.

It is really popular to have satay for breakfast and we have the best satay ever!

I found out that many people from other places are familiar with our food.

The most popular food that everybody must try are mee Bandung Muo, satay, mee siput, Kopi 434 and asam pedas.

Those who want to try mee Bandung should head for a warung in front of SM Sains Muar in Tanjung Agas.

The warung is partly covered by a big tree, but if you look hard enough you should be able to spot it.

Mee siput has been my favourite since I was a child. It is a type of crunchy noodles that is best served with sambal kicap.

Once you have tried it, you will know why I like it so much.

You can order it at many roadside stalls in Muar.

I was told that, many years ago, people who lived in Muar were mostly farmers, fishermen and labourers.

These people would need a heavy meal to start the day and that is how satay, mee rebus, lontong, mee soto and mee Bandung came to be eaten for breakfast and also for lunch.

My favorite place for satay, mee soto and lontong is near a Telekom interchange in Jalan Abdullah.

Now that Muar has been gazetted as a royal town, the ambience has changed quite a bit. The town is now usually congested during peak hours.

Those who have not been here for some time will be surprised at the amount of development that has taken place.

Now that Muar has its own Uptown, it gets really lively on Friday and Saturday nights, with people spending leisure time there with family and friends.

Those who want to do some shopping should go to Wetex Parade, a favourite haunt of the locals, which is located in the heart of town.

There are now shops selling branded items at Wetex Parade — Polo House, Giordano, Hush Puppies, and Poney.

There are also popular restaurants and fast food outlets such as Secret Recipe, Dominos Pizza, Tutti Frutti, and Delifrance.

The presence of these outlets makes Muar seem like one of the big cities, which is a huge compliment as Muar only has about 300,000 residents.

Hypermarkets and stores are also aplenty here and they include Giant, Econsave, One Stop Superstore and Grocery Mart.

“Different cultures embrace different things and people are entitled to be different,” said my mum.

Here, in Muar, we respect each other despite our diversity in religion and race. We treat friends and neighbours like family.

We have a road that is known to locals as Chinatown. It has everything you need related to Chinese culture and food.

The heritage buildings are painted with colours that reflect Chinese culture. Each building has its own identity and history that makes it a heritage treasure.

I love my town very much, especially during the night, when there is less traffic and the beautiful decorative lights fill me with pride and joy.

Just head to the Tanjung Emas recreational centre, and you will know what I mean.

The ambience of the place calms my frayed nerves and eases the stress of a hard day’s work. To some, Muar is a town for retirees but for me it is a small town that has everything you need. I am proud to be a “Muarian” and will always feel that way.

Read more: MUAR: Small town that has everything – Northern – New Straits Times

Category: Travelogue