A New Normal: Dining In Again After The Quarantine

It has been three weeks since the Malaysian government implemented the CMCO (Conditional Movement Control Order), which slightly eased restrictions and allowed for most businesses to reopen in the Klang Valley. Even so, many are still wary about going out, and even though malls are running again, some shops are still shuttered, and obviously business is not as brisk as it was before. I think it will be a long while before things go back to how they were before – if they ever will.


As for myself, I haven’t been to a mall at all since the quarantine first came into place on March 18. I currently go to work on a rotational basis, so I went to Starling Mall in Damansara Uptown, to look for lunch + ask about computer repairs (laptop’s keyboard has been giving me grief). It felt a little surreal to be walking in the mall again and to see how some shops are still closed, the aisles empty.


Walked past Sushi Zanmai and they were pretty empty (usually unheard of pre-coronavirus – the lines were always long). I’ve missed eating Japanese food, so I decided to dine in. The restaurant followed SOPs well: you have to register yourself via the Selangkah app, get your temperature checked and sanitise before entering. The seating capacity was obviously reduced; no more single seating at the sushi bar where they put you next to each other. I had a whole booth for four to myself.

No physical menus; you scan a QR code and make your orders through an app of sorts.


Do you tend to order the same thing when frequenting a favourite restaurant? Whenever I visit Sushi Zanmai, I always have the same thing. Not because I don’t want to try other things, but because it’s become a habit lol. (above) Chuka Iidako (marinated baby octopus) 


Fried shimeji mushrooms, served with a dollop of mayonnaise. Crispy with a nice savoury batter on the outside, moist on the inside, sizable portion. Great with a bowl of rice.


Last but not least, salmon sashimi (3 pieces – Rm10.80). Not sure if these weren’t fresh but they were kinda tasteless and had that ‘thawed’/re-frozen quality.

Pre-covid, I would linger and enjoy the food while reading a book – but moving forward I guess we have to learn to just pop in, eat and leave so that we don’t take up space for other people + minimize the risk of contracting something.


F 132 & 133, 1st Floor, Starling Mall 85, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Phone: 03-7625 1160


A friend of mine works in the neighbourhood so we had a drink and a quick catch up session at The Good Batch, which is just outside the mall. Ordered a Mochatella, which came with coffee cubes and milk. They also serve sandwiches and typical cafe fare like pastas, sandwiches, cakes and coffee.


Can’t believe it has been 14 years since we first met!

If you’re around the neighbourhood, consider dropping by The Good Batch to support a local business – they need our patronage right now.


No. 53, Jalan SS 21/1a, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM (daily)

Phone: 03-7733 2303


How are lockdown measures easing in your area? Do you feel safe to dine out again? 


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