If you visit Mersing and want to know a good place to eat Chinese food, I recommend trying Restoran Loke Tien Yuen in the main town area. However, one thing you must take note of is that they don’t do walk-ins because they are always full house.
While this place may sound so ‘atas‘, I guarantee you will not be disappointed with the food quality served here. Unless, of course, you do not care about food and want to eat only.
Restoran Loke Tien Yuen in Mersing
On a recent visit at the end of May 2023, I explored the Mersing area for birdwatching on the land and out at sea; therefore, I put up a night at Hotel Mersing, one of the best hotels in the town area.
Travelling with a group of birdwatchers from Kuala Lumpur, our leader Mr Low Kok Hen, had pre-arranged our meals as he has been here before. Therefore, we trusted his recommendations as he’s a well-travelled birdwatcher.
Restoran Loke Tien Yuen is a classic case of an original Cantonese restaurant, complete with nostalgic green mosaic tiles that line the walls all the way to the ceiling. This gives the restaurant a very retro and old-school look and feel.
As for seating, only about six to seven large tables to seat ten people per table. But the classic interior decorations tend to catch your eye when seated comfortably. It is said that Restoran Loke Tien Yuen is now in its third generation and has been around for 123 years. Wow, that’s some amazing history.
This Cantonese seafood restaurant is notorious for turning away walk-in customers; therefore, you must make advance bookings at least two days before your lunch or dinner here. And as for the menu, good luck as they are not online, so maybe you can talk to the daughter – Margaret, and she can assist you with what is available. The number to make reservations is – 07 7991639.
Restoran Loke Tien Yuen Food
Let’s get straight to the food part because that’s why you are reading this in the first place. So, all our dishes were pre-ordered for us by Mr Low, so we just came and ate like there was no tomorrow.
I will do my best to explain the dishes in each of the photos so you don’t have to be reading paragraph after paragraph. I’m trying to make it easier to read in my reviews nowadays. Gone are the days of lengthy articles.
After a delicious meal here, I could only think of walking around the town to settle the food; the following day, it was an early call to look for birds around the Mersing area. Again, this has to be one of the best Chinese meals I had in a long time.
For the benefit of foreigners reading this, the owners (the sisters) speak good English, so you can always call and converse in English with them. I apologise to my Muslim friends reading this article; this place is non-Halal.
This restaurant is also popular with the scuba divers who come here to go to Tioman Island. So, they usually arrive the night before and stay in Mersing town to catch the early ferry to the island. I was a scuba diver but retired from diving in 2018.
Restaurant name: Loke Tien Yuen Restaurant 乐天园酒家
Address: 55, Jalan Abu Bakar, Mersing, Johor
GPS: 2.433029,103.838374 / 2°25’58.9″N 103°50’18.1″E
Tel: +607 799 1639
Hours: 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm & 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Reservation: Yes! You need to call ahead to reserve your table
Visit Date: 20 May 2023
Location of Restoran Loke Tien Yuen in Mersing
And for those who want to know more about the family’s history of this restaurant, I suggest you check out this article in Tony’s Blog called Johor Kaki, where he wrote about this in 2012 and updated his article in 2016. Tony is a foodie friend of mine, and I have not caught up with him for many years now.
Overall, Restoran Loke Tien Yuen in Mersing was one of the better experiences I have had when it comes to good old home-cooked Cantonese dishes, and the price was very reasonable considering there were 19 of us there.
The next time I plan to visit Mersing, I will surely try to book a table, provided there’s a relatively large group of us. Again, if you are wondering what t eat in Mersing, this is one of the recommended places to try.