Warong has a culinary Saga






A good sign:
Ahmad pointing to his shop’s sign, located along Jalan Mahmoodiah here in Johor Baru on May 1. The shop, which has been  in business for over 30 years, specialises in local delicacies.

A good sign: Ahmad pointing to his shop’s sign, located along Jalan Mahmoodiah here in Johor Baru on May 1. The shop, which has been in business for over 30 years, specialises in local delicacies.

JOHOR BARU: A small warong located along Jalan Mahmoodiah here has attracted both royalty and tourists since it opened for business more than 30 years ago.

Warong Saga owner Ahmad Ismail, 38, said the family-run business was started by his father Ismail Mohd Safri, who passed away two years ago.

“My father was inspired by Malaysia’s first national car, the Proton Saga, as our shop opened for business on the same day the car was unveiled in the 1980s,” he said when met at the shop here yesterday.

He added that what made Warong Saga stand out the most from other local restaurants around the city area was hundreds of old photographs hanging on its walls.

The shop is almost like a museum where patrons are able to get a glimpse of the old Johor, including its Rulers, royal family, past and present leaders such as those from Singapore and Indonesia as well as celebrities.

Ahmad said besides the old photographs, it was the food they served that kept pulling old and new customers in.

He pointed out that his shop would sell only Johorian food, which made Warong Saga famous among locals and even foreign tourists.

“Tourists like to eat here as they are able to taste local fare besides getting to see all the pictures in my shop.

“Most of the tourists who visit Warong Saga are backpackers as there are some homestays not far from here,” he added.

Ahmad said the local delicacies served included laksa Johor on every Saturday, mee rebus on Sun­­day, mee siam kuah and gado-gado on Monday, laksa nyonya on Tues­day, mee sup sambal belacan on Wednesday and soto on Thursday.

“We also serve local kueh, lontong, nasi lemak and mee goreng on a daily basis from morning until night.

“Our most famous dish is tauhu goreng, which is served with spicy peanut sauce and it keeps getting sold out every day,” he added.

He said Warong Saga received its biggest ever customer when Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar dropped by in December last year to have his breakfast.

“His Majesty’s bodyguards came in earlier and told me that Sultan Ibrahim was on his way to eat at my shop when the only food available at the time was mee rebus.

“Sultan Ibrahim spent about 20 minutes in my shop, during when His Majesty examined all of the pictures.

“It was an honour for me and my shop to have such a notable figure having his meal here,” he said.

Warong Saga , In and around Johor