Makan Kitchen @ Doubletree by Hilton, JB

I’ve talked about the hotel, now all that is left to talk about is food. FYI, I have 6 (maybe 7) posts on food that I had in JB. I am expecting to finish talking about them within 2 weeks, so you know what to expect. If you are someone who will be bored with food, you are allowed to stay away for this coming 2 weeks with my blessings.

Some of you may have seen this photo below if you are following me on Instagram/Facebook (if you haven’t, links at the sidebar). This was my first dinner in Johor Bahru (JB) in more than 2 years.

As I was tired after a 4 hours drive, and I wanted to start my working trip with a bang, I opted for the hotel’s buffet dinner in Makan Kitchen. Yeah, I actually thought this is a rather lame name for a restaurant, if anyone from the hotel’s management is reading, maybe you guys should consider a rename.


But, restaurant name apart, I think this is kind of a cool restaurant to have a buffet dinner. You know some hotel buffets will have special themes during weekends? Makan Kitchen has different specialized themes every day!

It was Sunday when I dined here, and the theme was [All About Curry]…

Rice and curry dishes
More curry dishes

Themes aside, I also think this restaurant has an interesting layout. The usual buffet lines which I am used to are separated by cooking nature (soup, stir fry, grill, etc). Here, they buffet lines are separated by types of cuisine. They have a section for Chinese cuisine, a section for Malay cuisine, and a section for Indian cuisine.

Chinese cuisine section

I really like this type of cuisine segregation. I think it is in fact a great idea. You see, we usually put whatever food that we fancy onto an empty plate. And then you know different cuisine usually has their own distinct flavors. In a typical buffet line, this means we are more likely to have spicy Malay style food and the more subtly flavored Chinese food on the same plate, and their gravy gets mixed up, making the food lose their originally intended flavors.

But here, because the different types of cuisine are placed at different sections, you can “attack” the sections one at a time. This makes it easier for us to pick the same type of food with similar flavors together in one round, and consequently make for a more enjoyable dining experience.

Oh, I almost forgot. How can I forget their desserts section? Desserts are not segregated by cuisine. Makes sense, because stuff like dessert are universal, right? 😉

Desserts section

Okay, time to show you my first dinner in JB…

Round 1: Chinese food

Round 1 (clockwise from top): fried rice, fried noodles, chicken rice, mixed veggies, fried fish fillets.

I tell you, I was shocked with how good the chicken rice was (not just by that fabulous rose gold silverware set). I mean, everything else was decent too, as one can expect from a decent hotel buffet spread. But the chicken rice… I am not a pro by any means, but if I were to make a personal chicken rice list, this one would rank in my personal Top 3! The rice was super fragrant, and the chicken (breast) was extremely tender, juicy and flavorful. Yes, I did mention “chicken breast” and “juicy” in the same sentence. It was so good that I went back for Round 1.2 and Round 1.3 just for more chicken rice helpings.

Round 2: Malay and Indian food

Round 2 (from top): otak-otak, chicken and lamb satay, roti canai with mutton and vegetable curry.

Again, I was shocked with how good the otak-otak was! The satay was alright, the roti canai was (unfortunately) meh, but the otak-otak… Malaysians, you know what makes a good otak-otak, right? I was expecting the otak-otak here to be a typical toned down, hotel version. After all, there are lots of international guests dining here and they might not be able handle a properly flavored otak-otak well.

How wrong I was. I opened the leaves, placed the whole piece of fishcake into my mouth, and it immediately choked the daylight out of me! It was so f**king spicy, so damn syok, and once I gulped down a glass of cold water, I immediately went back to get 5 more!

Round 3: Bakso ayam (chicken)

Round 3: Well, I don’t know if this is a proper bakso. I know Indonesian bakso are beef meatballs in noodles soup. I have never seen a chicken bakso before, so I don’t know how an authentic one looks or tastes like. In fact I don’t even know if chicken bakso is a real thing or not. But the broth of this one does taste like a decent broth from a down to earth Malay eatery, so I guess it is all good.

Round 4.1: Fruits

Round 4.1: Cake shaped fruits. We gotta have more fruits, because fruits are rich in fiber and good for health. The cake shaped fruits here are amazing! I particularly liked the Tiramisu fruit and the Black Forest fruit. Healthy yet decadent! 😀

Round 4.2: More fruits

Round 4.2: Waffle shaped fruit, honeydew fruit and papaya fruit. The honeydew fruit and papaya fruit weren’t very good, but the waffle shaped fruit was excellent!

OMG… I already feel bloated just by writing this blog post! I guess there’s nothing left to say, except that this is a decent buffet spread. So next time if you are in JB and wants a buffet dinner, Makan Kitchen is not a bad option. 😉


  1. I always love to feast on buffet food when I have ample time to slowly eat and chit chat with my wife. We could laze for 3 hours there even eating breakfast buffets. I would eat like a happy glutton, get fat and then hit the gym to roll my tummy for hard core abs exercise! So exaggerating! Muahahaha

    I like your 4th photos with special lighting effects. So pandai lah you.

    • I think you are only exaggerating on the exercise part. I totally believe you eating like a glutton wahahaha!!

      Actually it wasn’t special lighting effects. It was me not knowing how to edit away those strays of light. 😐

  2. Haha I think I’m full from just reading this too! Impressive how much you managed to fit in but I do the same too at buffets… gotta get your money’s worth! I would go straight for the Indian and Malay stations… yum yum! But your talk of the chicken rice has me craving that too. And the fruits all certainly look healthy and delicious ;).

    • Now I know you really love your spices. And I finally believe my American co-workers when they say they prefer Indian food when they come here. I always thought they were just being polite. 🙄

  3. This is probably one of your longest post on food, I think, so here are my comments….hee…hee! 😀

    1) I’ve eaten at Makan Kitchen in KL and seen the segregation but it’s quite common nowadays for hotels to have some form of segregation. If you’ve enjoyed it so much, no need to go so far, you can always have when you’re back in KL.

    2) The roti canai you had doesn’t look like roti canai, it looks more like a type of Indian flat-bread 😉

    3) For some reason, I’ve eaten chicken rice at hotels and some do taste rather good (maybe becos of their buffets, they’ve got a lot of chicken carcass left to make the rice really fragrant). I think they tend (or try) to perfect that dish since most tourists to Malaysia tend to want to order that.

    4) So I see you’re not following the style of buffet eating in Tokyo or US of rarely more than 2 rounds: 1 main 1 dessert (as you’ve once commented on my blog). This is Malaysian-style buffet, nothing wrong with going many rounds (I see you went 8 rounds but omitted showing us 3 rounds…haha!!). I do that all the time (with small helpings each round) coz I hate it when my food mingles with one another! ;D

    5) Mmmm….I’m glad you enjoyed your fruit-based desserts….so healthy…wakakaka! 😀

    • What? No… The one I wrote that summarized my previous eating experience in JB is probably longer (the middle one of the Related posts)…

      1) Unfortunately the company will not pay for my eating in Makan Kitchen KL, so I can only try the JB one hahaha! 😀
      2) That’s what the label on the counter said. But I agree it doesn’t look like roti canai. In fact it felt more like naan when I ate them.
      3) Seriously? I’ve never heard of hotels trying to perfect chicken rice making. Usually tourists will eat nasi lemak and roti canai and char kuay teow, no? I’ve seen all those American Youtubers in Malaysian hotels, none of them commented about chicken rice. 🙄
      4) Actually even in Tokyo or US, I would go more than 2 rounds. What I meant was it seemed to me the culture there is to not go more than 2 rounds. But I didn’t follow their culture even when I was there LOL! 😀
      5) Super healthy! 😀 😀 😀

      • 3) The 3 you mentioned plus chicken rice and satay are usually found on hotels’ menus (probably these are the more common types of street food to introduce to tourists), so they’d want to put out at least credible versions of these dishes. I would think chicken rice would be a popular choice if the angmohs can’t take the more spicy food like nasi lemak. When I’ve had the liberty to order chicken rice at hotels, I noticed the chicken is nicely cut and presented (usually without bones too) with aromatic rice and 3 signature sauces (chilli, ginger and thick dark soy).

        • Seriously, I think I need to go out and it more buffet. Or maybe it is a Penang thing. I have never seen chicken rice served in hotel buffets. Chicken rice in hotel room service, yes. Roasted chicken/duck in buffets, yes. Chicken rice in buffets, no. 😐
          Now that you mentioned… I seem to recall a vague memory where I ordered chicken rice for room service once. I think it was pretty good too. Hmm… 🙄

  4. Nowadays, getting older, i don’t really like to go for buffet, for me, i will sure end up overeating, as many items to choose from, and trying out this and that…

  5. Wahseh, this post all about food, I scroll down also I like already.. But hor, I must control my food intake, I lost all my pre-pregnancy weight already now 🙂
    But hor, that day I drink 1 cup Milo only hor, I stand on the scale, wahlao, up 1 kg wor! Yau mou?

    • I got another 5 or 6 posts coming up, all also about food. I know you come back jor, purposely wanna make you happy one. 😳

      I think it is due to the timing la. You stand on the scale in the morning and night, the weight will have difference one. 🙄

  6. I like how the kitchen is divided by cuisine too. The one in KL has furnished each section accordingly. It’s a great spot to take visitors from overseas who only have a few days to try the great variety of dishes Malaysia has to offer.

    • I’ve never seen their KL hotel yet (no need, I have a home in KL). But sounds like it is even better than the one in JB huh..

  7. hmmn,surprise to see that some dishes are not covered, but anyway unless if there is someone who conducts the checks regularly, it should be ok (though I m stil doubtful about Malaysia standard). There are certainly ‘hit & miss’ when it comes to buffet food. Perhaps chicken rice, otak-otak and ‘fruits’ are their specialty.

    • Another one who is concerned about cover. I am actually surprised that people care about this. I never thought too much about it, in fact I always feel annoyed when I see many dishes being covered because it makes my life of scooping food more difficult 🙄 .

  8. Why would you feel bloated after writing this? Unless the food is no good that the memory of it will make you feel bloated. If the food is good, then the memory of it should make you feel hungry after writing this post. After reading your post I feel hungry lah. How much is the buffet dinner?

    • Buffet is supposed to make you eat until you feel bloated what. So what’s wrong with feeling bloated when thinking about buffet? If thinking about buffet makes you feel hungry means the food is bad and you did not want to eat them. 🙄

      It was RM88++

      • Nothing wrong. Just that when you crave for a food, means that the food is delicious. When you muak at the sight of a food, then the food is no good lah. If delicious food makes you feel bloated, then very good wor, see delicious food, feel bloated so no need to eat then can become thin very fast, no need to purposely go on a diet.

        Feels hungry means wants to eat lah. How come to you feel hungry means do not want to eat? Normally when you feel hungry, you do not want to eat punya kah?

        • My logic when it comes to buffet is different. Normally we go to buffet for the quantity and variety. When I crave buffet, I crave for the quantity and variety rather than super delicious something-something. So to me, a good buffet is a buffet that will entice you to eat everything a.k.a overeat and feel bloated. A buffet that leaves you still hungry means the food is bad and you are not eating.

          What I meant with [I feel bloated] is [When I am writing, I am imagining myself stuffing myself silly, so much that even thinking about it makes me feel bloated with enjoyment already]. Not [When I am writing, I am imagining the food is lousy, I feel bloated without even eating]. 🙄

          • Thanks for your detailed clarification. I get what you mean now. When you wrote the post, you are reliving the moment of feeling full (bloated) with satisfaction when you finished eating the buffet so it means food was good.

  9. you actually did not eat a lot, i thought you will have eaten more, haha!! you just had one little scoop of different veggie from the Chinese section, a few sticks of grilled veggie from the Malaysian section and then you are done with veggie soup for mains.. now i know you are actually more of a fruits person!! give me five~~ :p

  10. This does look like a decent buffet with ample trays of food. Which is good, because it is sad whenever you go up to a buffet and find there is no more of a particular food. From the looks of this buffet, it seems that the food is exposed? 🙄

    Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of buffets – you don’t know how long the food has been sitting there.

    • The thing is, certain dishes are best left uncovered, prolonged enclosing would make the dish turn soggy and less delicious. I think curry is one such dishes.

      Well, I think a buffet from a decent hotel are alright with regards to your concern. Usually the chef(s) would make their rounds to check on the quality of all the dishes and if they think it has gone not-so-good, they would order a change. I’ve seen this happen quite a few times, I so guess we’re fine. At least in Malaysia..

      • That is a good point, and I don’t like soggy food. But when the food is left uncovered for the whole day, you don’t know what has landed on it, don’t know who has sneezed over it.

        I have only eaten at a few buffets in my life, and have never been impressed with any of them 🙄

        • Oh, food in fancy hotels here won’t be left sitting around for the whole day. Most of the hotels will swap out dishes that are not finished every hour. At least that’s what they say they do, most of them fancy hotels.
          But to be honest, I guess I’m sort of a crude person. I never thought of uncovered food like how you and a few others in the comments think. I guess it is understandable, after all I am also fine with typical Cantonese dining practices where we grab at dishes using our chopsticks/spoons full of our saliva and the dishes end up being saliva fest. 🙄

          • I am like you. I don’t care for using common spoons when I’m eating sharing dishes, just digging in with my own fork, spoon and chopsticks. There really is only so much saliva that goes everywhere, really 🙄

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