The pandemic has put a damper on many plans — but with things now easing up a little, it looks like the economy is getting back on track, with the opening of new malls and entertainment spots. The latest to join the fray is Pavilion Bukit Jalil, which opened its doors on December 3. A ‘sister’ mall of sorts to the iconic Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, it spans five floors and has over 1.8 million sq ft of retail space, making it one of the largest malls in Malaysia.
I went to the mall a week after its opening. Manage your expectations if you’re planning a visit, as not all the shops are open yet. Once they do, however, I imagine it’ll be super busy, as there are many popular brands, including familiar ones that you can find at Pavilion KL (plus point for us living in South Klang Valley — we won’t have to drive all the way to the city centre for the Pavilion experience!)
The design of Pavilion Bukit Jalil is similar to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, with the ground floor dedicated to restaurants and eateries. Food options at the time of this writing include Secret Recipe, Grandmama’s, Shihlin Taiwanese Snacks, and a non-halal food court called Eight Avenue.
Here’s a semi-walking tour of the mall. Subscribe to my Youtube channel if you haven’t already!
As a foodie, I think a visit to Pavilion Bukit Jalil is worth it for The Food Merchant alone. Located on the ground floor, this premium grocer offers a wide selection of local and international food products, from fresh produce and dried goods, to cookies, snacks, wines, and more.
The space is intuitively designed, making it easy to navigate across the different sections. As soon you enter, you’ll be greeted by cheerful Christmas decor, and the “Vineyard” section that sells wines and alcoholic beverages. Further along are the fresh vegetables, seafood, and meat and poultry sections. There is a small dining area to the left, where you can rest and grab a bite. There are sections dedicated to organic items, as well as products from particular countries, such as China, Australia, Thailand, and Korea.
The Food Merchant has a wide selection of produce that you might not necessarily get from your local pasar or hypermarket. Some of the more unusual things I found were Chitose melons from Japan (RM100 each), and banana blossom (jantung pisang) — which I know Malays and Indians like to use in their cooking, but I have rarely seen being sold in supermarkets.
The grocer plays its part in providing environmentally-friendly options, such as this section with dried goods where you can bring your own containers to measure out the amount you need. This helps to reduce plastic and avoids wastage.
Just past checkout is a Mahnaz Food store, a chain that specialises in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean snacks, like dates, nuts and honey. What intrigued me, though, were the long rolls of colourful desserts on display. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the elusive Turkish Delights — if you’ve read or watched the Narnia series, you’ll know that the Snow Queen conjured up some for Edmund Pevensie; and I’ve always wondered what would taste so good that you’d betray your family and friends for it lol.
So I tried a Honey and Almond one. They’re wonderful. Chewy like nougat, with bits of crunchy nuts within, all wrapped in a sticky sweet layer of sugar and honey. I understand you now, Edmund.
Time to check out the Concourse Area! The design is very similar to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, down to the iconic red ‘Spanish steps’. Christmas decor is in full swing, with giant baubles hanging from the ceiling, a snow tunnel, Christmas trees and a carousel. It’s really festive and great for photos. They do have crowd control, though, so you’ll have to queue up to enter the concourse.
All the walking around made me hungry, so I stopped at Dai Cha Dim for a late lunch. It’s one of the few proper restaurants that are open in the mall, so it was still quite busy even around 4PM. The restaurant specialises in Cantonese cuisine, the likes of roasties, wantan noodles, dim sum, and steamed rice bowls.
First, an appetiser of fried wontons. They were fried to golden brown perfection, and unlike places where all you get is wrapper skin, these were sizable, each holding a whole juicy piece of shrimp, plus minced pork meat, within.
For my mains, I had roasted pork (siew yok) with soy sauce. This technique of double cooking (roasting the pork, then stir-frying it again in soy sauce) gives it a deep and intensely rich flavour. If you like fatty pork, this will be right up your alley — the fat didn’t feel greasy at all, and it had a melt-in-the-mouth consistency. One can easily polish off bowls of rice with this.
To wash it all down, a bottle of HK Milk tea, served in an ice bucket so that the drink remains cold without diluting its flavour. PS: Dai Cha Dim is located on the first floor.
So how was my overall experience at Pavilion Bukit Jalil?
Pleasant, as it was not crowded, but there really isn’t much to see at the moment, except The Food Merchant and the Christmas decor. Parking is cheap, considering the location, and getting here is easy by car and LRT (you’ll still need to take a Grab from the Bukit Jalil station, though, as it’s far to walk — about 3KM). I’ll make a return visit when more shops are open next year, and I’m especially looking forward to Filipino fast food chain Jollibee, which will be opening here in March 2022.