Budget Eats: Soru Station Puchong

With food prices increasing, even noodles and rice at your neighbourhood chap fan stall or kopitiam can be quite pricey, what more cuisine like Western food.

But there are still some good options – if you know where to look.

Newly opened in The Wharf at Taman Tasik Prima is Soru Station, which serves affordable local and Western fare. With humble beginnings as a food truck, business did so well that they opened a few physical branches, the latest being this outlet in Puchong.


The Hubs and I came here for a quick lunch. Despite being peak hour, the restaurant was not too crowded. The space wasn’t fancy, but it is well ventilated, clean, and comfortable. We made our orders by scanning the QR code menu at our table, then proceeded to the cashier for payment (you can also choose to pay online).


Our orders were served quickly. Hubs had the Beef Burger (RM9), served with a side of mashed potato. Like many Malay-style burgers, the burger was extremely messy; slathered in a variety of sauces such as tomato, chilli, cheese, and finally a large helping of gravy.

The sauces can be a tad overpowering, but I could still taste the seasonings used in the patty, which was thick and juicy. It reminded me of Otai burgers, actually. Our only qualm was that the dish was a little cold – the patty was probably heated up very quickly on the grill, but everything else wasn’t. Still, for the price, I think it’s good value.


I went for the nasi lemak ayam crispy (RM8). Again, portions were generous. The rice was good; with hints of ginger and turmeric – but I was a little disappointed with the chicken. It was fried well with a crispy texture, but it was very bland. It didn’t even have the natural flavour of the chicken, which was very odd. The skin had no flavour whatsoever. The saving grace was the sweet and savoury sambal, which went well with the rice (I also used it as a sauce for the chicken). So yeah, some hits and misses. But all in all, I wouldn’t complain, given the price point.

Most of the dishes are priced around RM7 to RM12; and the portions are filling. I wasn’t expecting anything super, so the food was decent enough for me. Service and environment is good as well – so all in all, value for money!


No 8/1, Prima Bizwalk Business Centre, Jalan Tasik Prima 6/2, Taman Tasik Prima, 47150 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 12PM – 12AM (closed Mondays)

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Okonomi @ Tokyo Street, Pavilion KL

Another day, another food adventure – this time at Pavilion KL’s Tokyo Street!

Much like J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 Shopping Centre next door, Tokyo Street houses a slew of Japanese eateries, serving everything from shabu-shabu (hotpot) and sushi, to authentic matcha desserts. We had our sights set on Okonomi, a casual spot specializing in – what else – okonomiyaki.


For the uninitiated, okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake, comprising shredded cabbage mixed with batter and items such as pork, shrimp, beef, or even cheese. It is flattened and cooked on a teppan (hotplate) before topping with okonomiyaki sauce, dried seaweed flakes, and katsuoboshi (bonito flakes).

The word is a portmanteau of okonomi (meaning ‘as you like’, or kinda like the ‘chef’s special’) and yaki (fried) – a fitting name, seeing as how the dish is basically a mix of different ingredients. Different regions in Japan have their own unique versions, but the one that is most common is Osaka-style, where it was popularised. Trivia: okonomiyaki is also nicknamed “Osaka soul food” !


The shop is cozy, with wooden furniture and a warm, earthen colour scheme. A large section of the restaurant is dominated by the kitchen, which features a teppan (grill). The cooking area is separated from the dining area by glass.

The appeal of such a setup is that guests will be able to sit at the counter and experience the food with all the senses. It almost feels like a performance, as resident chef Takeshi Wada whips up dishes right before your eyes; you smell the aroma of food cooking on the grill, and hear the satisfying sizzle of more ingredients being added to the hotplate.


For best value, order the set meals, which come with rice, side dishes, miso soup, and dessert. While okonomiyaki is the main attraction, there’s a good selection of other grilled items as well, such as yakiniku (beef), pork belly, and salmon.


If you’re feeling fancy, opt for premium orders such as the wagyu sirloin and Iberico pork chop.

Complimentary edamame as appetiser

Our first order of the day was one of their signatures: Spicy yakisoba (RM20). This was da bomb. The wheat flour noodles were cooked perfectly and had a chewy, al dente texture, each strand coated in a sweet and savoury sauce.

We couldn’t place the unique flavour while we were dining, but I googled it later and apparently the ‘base’ is a Worchestershire sauce, which explains the rich, full-bodied flavour. In terms of freshness, you can’t get any fresher than noodles curling around on the plate like they were wriggling lol, because the heat was making the strands contract. To top it off, shavings of katsuoboshi and dried seaweed flakes.


Unfortunately, after the star performance of the yakisoba, the okonomiyaki (shrimp and pork – they ran out of squid, so they gave us extra shrimp) felt a little underwhelming. It was still tasty, but the sauces and toppings were very similar in taste to the noodles, but did not pair as well. I also felt that the shredded cabbage had a bitter aftertaste, which sort of ruined the enjoyment for me.


Last but not least came the fried omelette with pork belly (RM10). The omelette was fluffy and stuffed with tender slices of pork and onions.

Here’s an extremely thoughtful gesture: I ordered one dish, but was surprised to see that two portions came. At first I thought that the server mistakenly keyed in two orders, but it turns out Chef Wada made them so that the Hubs and I would each get an individual portion. Which I think is awesome; that he pays mind to these details. It reminds me of omotenashi, or the Japanese concept of hospitality which centres around going above and beyond to make sure guests are well taken care of.


That being said, there’s one thing to remember when dining at Okonomi: be patient. During our visit, the shop was at full capacity (about 20 pax). Since Chef Wada was the only one preparing the food, and they are all made to order, our dishes took a long time to get to our table. But hey, good things are worth the wait!

If you want a taste of authentic Osaka-style okonomiyaki, Okonomi checks all the boxes. I do think they make good okonomiyaki – it’s just that I’m not a big fan of the dish itself; it has nothing to do with the chef’s skills.

As for the Hubs and I, we’ve already made plans to return for the phenomenal yakisoba.


Lot 6 . 24 . 1C, Level 6, Tokyo Street, Pavilion KL, 168, Jln Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM (daily)

Curry Udon @ Menya Ichiyutei, Lot 10 Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, ramen is a staunch favourite among Klang Valley-ites – think famous chains like Ippudo and Ramen Seirock-Ya, or Japanese-owned-and-run places like the ever popular Menya Shishido.

Udon, however, gets a lot less love. Almost all of my favourite spots for udon (Miyatake Sanuki, Marufuku, Hanamaru) have closed, and these days, I struggle to find a spot that can satisfy my cravings.


J’s Gate Dining at Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur, has an entire floor dedicated to Japanese restaurants and eateries – so it seemed a good place as any to look for udon. True enough, we found Menya Ichiyutei, which specialises in curry udon. Their signatures are the Creamy Curry Udon and the Pumpkin Curry Udon – but they looked a little too heavy for our early lunch, so we ended up ordering other items instead. Aside from curry udon, they also carry a selection of dashi udon and rice bowls.


My Beef and Egg Curry Udon (RM21.70 – regular, RM24.60 – large) featured a generous portion of noodles, a runny egg, and tender, thinly sliced beef. It was decent, but not spectacular. The curry was well balanced, with a hint of spice cutting through the sweetness. I wished the noodles were cooked al dente, though, as they were soft and did not have much bite. One thing I liked is that the shop provides free flow of tenkasu (deep fried tempura flour batter) so you can pair it with your noodles for some crunch.


Hubs ordered the Fish Cake Tempura Curry Udon (regular – RM15.80, large – RM18.70).

Overall, what we tried at Menya Ichiyutei was enjoyable, but lacks that oomph factor. Still, service is fast and efficient, and the setting is comfortable – so it can be a choice for those craving curry udon while in the area.

In the meantime, my quest for the best udon joint continues…


P1-03, J’s Gate Dining, Level 4, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50250, Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (daily)

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Rolling Daruma x Olfactory Bulb, Kota Damansara

If you like creative Japanese cuisine, alcoholic desserts, and inventive cocktails, Rolling Daruma x Olfactory Bulb hits all the right spots, served in a cozy setting ideal for intimate get-togethers. The Hubs and I stumbled on this place purely by chance: we were hunting for dinner around Kota Damansara and saw their menu on the sidewalk; our interest piqued by offerings of Japanese tapas, donburis, and ramen.


Two red darumas greet visitors at the entrance, where the bar is. The space is mostly black and grey, with warm lights and concrete accents, giving it an industrial look. I especially like the decorative cracks on the wall, which are varnished to create a glossy look.

The menu is pretty extensive, but since we were not very hungry, the Hubs and I decided to share a main, a Japas (japanese tapas), and a drink.


Our choice of Japas was Bourbon-Peach Pulled Pork on Deep-Fried Mantou Bun (RM16), featuring pork shoulder loin, slow cooked til tender for eight hours in balsamic vinegar and peach and bourbon sauce. The taste of the bourbon is mild, but it lends a rich depth to the soft, melt-in-the-mouth pulled pork. The fried mantou is crisp on the edges and soft on the inside, so you have a nice medley of flavours and textures.


We also got their signature Gyoza Ramen in Sake Pork Bone Broth (RM24). I was expecting the gyoza to be served on the side and was surprised to find them swimming in the soup, which also came with egg, a smattering of seaweed, corn, and spring onions. Some ramen dishes come with rich soup; this was mild but still flavourful, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. The noodles were too soft for my liking, but otherwise this was a decent bowl of ramen.



No libations for me, but the resto serves plenty of non-alcoholic drinks too such as mocktails and shakes. We got a Salty Yuzie-San (RM16), a refreshing mix of lemon, kaffir lime leaves and yuzu sauce balanced with pandan syrup, brown sugar, and soda water. Perfect for quenching your thirst on a hot day, or just to cut through any greasiness from the food.

Service was friendly with most of the servers, but the one assigned to our table was probably having a bad day because he looked tired and sounded disinterested when taking our orders, and seemed to heave a visible sigh when we requested for an extra bowl. I hope you have a better day, man!

There are still many things we have yet to try at Rolling Daruma x Olfactory Bulb; and I’d like to make a return visit when I’m in the neighbourhood again to try their other items – reviews seem to be stellar for their desserts and coffee.


15-2, Jalan PJU 5/13 Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya 47810, Selangor

Phone: 03-61511108

Open: Wed-Fri (5.30PM – 11.30PM), Sat-Sun (11.30AM – 11.30PM). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays

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Food at IKEA Malaysia – What Do You Usually Get?

We went to IKEA Damansara last month to buy a new desk— and hopefully have The Hubs try their famous meatballs — but the food court was so packed we just got the furniture and had lunch somewhere else. Which was a shame, as I was looking forward to enjoying the food again (the last time I had their meatballs was in 2016!)


Last weekend, we thought of trying our luck again over lunch. It’s the Ramadhan month and our Muslim friends are fasting, so we presumed that the crowd would be less.


Despite being early (we got there around 11.30am), the queue at the food court was exactly the same as it would have been prior to Ramadhan; only filled with people of other races. I guess the appeal of IKEA food transcends all. To be fair, the line moved pretty fast, so we only had to wait for about 20 minutes to get to the ordering counter.

If you haven’t been to IKEA Damansara, here’s how the system works: you grab a trolley for your trays and wheel it down the line, where there are ‘self service’ stations. If you’d like a free-flow drink, you can grab one of the cups or glasses (you can choose between coffee/tea or cold juices/carbonated beverages). Further along are shelves with lighter meals such as salads and cakes. You then come to the ‘mains’ counter, where you place an order with the staff (all of the food is ready so they’ll just load it up for you). Before coming to the cashier, there are more light snacks to choose from: bread rolls, pastries, hot dogs, fried items, mushroom soup, etc. Finally, past the cashiers are the cutlery and drink stations.


The food court has a huge capacity and operates semi-self service style: you’re expected to return your trays and trolleys to a designated area once you’re done—which keeps the place clean and reduces the need for a lot of staff.


As usual, when you’re hungry, you tend to order more than you need—which was what happened to us lol. In retrospect, I think one plate of meatballs would have been enough between us, and we could have gotten a wider variety of lighter items to try.


The meatballs (RM16.50) came in a generous portion; each plate had 17 pieces, a dollop of lingonberry jam, creamy mashed potatoes, and buttered vegetables, all drenched in a brown sauce. The sauce didn’t have that much of a taste, but what elevated the meatballs was the sour/sweet lingonberry sauce, which went surprisingly well with the meat. I also enjoyed the mashed potatoes, which was creamy and flavourful.


Another winner for me was the mushroom soup. It was creamy but not cloying, had generous amounts of mushrooms in it (none of that watery shit you get from some restos), and was overall just warm and comforting, especially when enjoyed with the bread roll.


As for extras, I grabbed a bit of everything to try—so there was fried popiah, chicken sausage, fried wontons, and a chocolate roll. Hubs didn’t like the popiah and the chicken sausage, as he said the former was too sweet, and the latter had a plasticky feel, but I felt both were decent enough lol. The chicken wontons were bit hard on the outside, but there was a lot of filling.

While many people come here for the meatballs, their other items like the fried/grilled chicken wings, salmon, and plant-based dishes such as the rendang burger, are also popular. And if you haven’t had your fill of the food here, you can also buy frozen versions to enjoy at home!

What do you usually order at IKEA?

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Uncle Don’s @ IOI Boulevard, Puchong Jaya

Uncle Don’s is a popular resto-bar chain with close to 30 outlets in Peninsula Malaysia. The brand is known for its relatively affordable Western and Asian fusion cuisine, served alongside draught beers and other alcoholic beverages. It also has a catchy tagline, ie “Dine like a Don Everyday!”

There aren’t too many affordable bistro-style eateries around, (the only other one I can think of is The Brew House), so Uncle Don’s outlets are always packed. I hate queuing up for food, so up until now, my first and only experience with the chain was at their SS2 branch, where the food was okay but the service abysmal. But I recently decided to give it another try at their Puchong outlet, which is tucked within IOI Boulevard in Puchong Jaya.


Uncle Don’s is usually packed in the evenings with office workers grabbing some drinks with colleagues, or youngsters hanging out, so the place is very lively. You can come in the afternoon if you want a bit more breathing space. The Puchong outlet sports the signature Uncle Don’s look — wooden tables, a dark colour scheme, brick walls, and a sleek bar counter.


The menu is extensive, with a broad selection of appetizers (mostly bites that go well with beer, like buffalo wings, nachos, and keropok), pastas, pizzas, burgers, as well as rice and noodle dishes. Not sure if they employ Filipino chefs, but there is a sole Filipino dish on the menu — sizzling sisig.

The Hubs ordered this, and it came served with rice and a side of keropok and some vegetables. It tasted pretty good, but I think it would have been better if the bits weren’t chopped so fine. Nothing wrong with it of course, just personal preference — because I think bigger bits would have given it a better texture. I also like that they didn’t include mayo, as some versions do (like the one at The Narra).


My Seafood Maggi Goreng (I requested for no vegetables) was extremely spicy and had me sweating even within the air conditioned premises lol. Nevertheless, the dish was flavourful and they were generous with the portions, and there was a good amount of squid and shrimp with the noodles. Good wok hei as well.


Both of our meals were part of the set lunches, which came with a choice of soft drinks or iced lemon tea. The set lunches are priced below RM20.

All in all, my second experience at Uncle Don’s was a pretty pleasant one! The service is much better at this outlet as well. I recommend coming for the lunches if you don’t like crowds, and during dinner/supper if you prefer a livelier atmosphere with drinks and music.


19, Jalan Kenari 6, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Open daily from 12PM – 12AM

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Peri-Peri Chicken @ Nando’s, D’Pulze Cyberjaya

Founded in 1987, Nando’s is a South African restaurant chain specializing in peri-peri style chicken, which has a distinctively tangy taste, thanks to its blend of lemon, pepper, and vinegar used in its marinade. In Malaysia, Nando’s has numerous outlets – including one at D’Pulze Mall in Cyberjaya, where N and I dropped by for lunch recently.


Just like all its other outlets, the one at Cyberjaya boasts a fun and vibrant design reflecting its South African and Portuguese roots (the Portuguese were one of the first Europeans to land in South Africa. Peri-peri chicken is also a popular dish in Portugal!). The Nando’s logo is a rooster, which is a symbol of Portugal based on the folktale “The Rooster of Barcelos”. Geometric patterns adorn the walls, while the ceilings feature colourful drapery in festive shades.

While the resto looks fairly clean, I think the booth seating can do with a replacement for its covers. The fabric looked worn and there were patches and stains all over them.



Of course, the chicken is the star here. First, choose the part you like (thigh or breast). Then pick from four levels of spiciness, namely “lemon & herb“, “mild“, “hot“, and “extra hot“; and a selection of sides which include garlic bread, chargrilled vegetables, corn on the cob, wedges, peri-peri chips, coleslaw, Mediterranean rice, and Spicy rice.

N ordered the thigh part with wedges and garlic bread, basted with hot sauce. The portion was humongous, and frankly, would have been enough for the both of us. The chicken was cooked well; it was tender and flavourful, and the hot sauce gave it an extra kick. N liked it and said it would fit well with Filipino taste buds, on account of the lemon/sourness from the vinegar marinade.


I personally prefer roast chicken from Dave’s Deli, but Nando’s is a pretty solid choice too. It’s especially good if you eat it with their signature sauces, which are also sold by the bottle as condiments.


I was excited to see Chicken Livers and Portuguese Roll on the menu, because not many places serve chicken livers or even makes them well. The version here is decent; ie the liver has a nice, creamy consistency, and did not have an overly offal-y smell. However, the sauce was EXTREMELY salty. I ended up ordering a bowl of mushroom soup to dip my Portuguese roll in.


Our meal for two came up to about RM50. Overall, pretty satisfying! You can get a bottomless drink for extra. We were debating if we could just order one drink and share it between the two of us but decided we didn’t want to be assholes. 😛

NANDO’S (Cyberjaya)

 Lot G-25, DPULZE Shopping Centre, Lingkaran Cyber Point Timur, Cyberjaya, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 9PM

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KL’s Hottest Culinary Playground: Tiffin At The Yard @ Sentul Depot, Kuala Lumpur

Tiffin made its debut back in 2016 as a culinary pop-up called Tiffin Food Court, which ran for a month or two each time at various spots around town. It quickly made a name for itself as ‘the’ hottest makan spot – thanks to its unique “Malaysian food court with a twist” concept, featuring fusion dishes and experimental flavours from some of the country’s top chefs and culinary talents. Tiffin’s event spaces were also a reflection of its crowd (think neon lights and cool art installations) – all catering to a young, urban, and affluent crowd.


Even a pandemic hasn’t stopped the brand’s growth: it now has a permanent space called Tiffin at the Yard, which covers some 22,000 sq ft of space within the historical Sentul Depot in Kuala Lumpur. Formerly a railway engineering workshop, this 110-year-old heritage building has been revitalized as a lifestyle destination, with Tiffin being its main F&B hub. Visitors can expect 15 rotating and permanent vendors, serving an eclectic mix of offerings the likes of Afro-Carribean, Middle Eastern, and Asian fusion cuisine.


I’ve been meaning to check this place out since it opened in November 2021, but the crowds were massive from the hype at the time lol. It seems to have thinned a little now, as there were plenty of seats during our visit on a Saturday afternoon.

Not that there’s much to worry about – the space seems to have been designed with social distancing in mind; the seats and stalls are spaced far apart, and there’s plenty of room to move around. The building is enclosed – but the high ceiling and skylights, which allow for good natural lighting, provide a lofty sense of space. Add to that the nicely landscaped trees and greenery within, and it feels like you’re dining in a premium, open-air food court.


Parts of the depot’s original interior, such as the exposed brick walls and cement flooring, have been preserved, which lends to the whole ‘post industrial’ feel of the place. It’s hip, it’s chic, and it’s very Instagrammable.


There’s something for every palate here. We wandered around the stalls for some time trying to decide on what to eat (it’s impossible to get everything in one go – which warrants a return visit!). If you’re interested in Afro-Carribean cuisine, KL’s famous Joloko has a spin-off stall here called Jojo’s. Conceptualised as a ‘Carribean beach shack’, expect to find sandwiches called ‘bakes’ with fillings such as jerk-spiced barracuda and carne guisada. Sweet-toothed alcohol lovers will want to pay a stop at Licky Chan for its alcohol-infused treats – and just indulge in their dairy and vegan alcohol-free options.


For starters, we got some crispy bread and hummus (RM15) from Leen’s, which also serves Middle Eastern favourites such as kebabs and shawarmas. I love hummus and can probably eat it as my only dip for the rest of my life – so this was right up my alley. The crispy bread had the texture of chips/crackers, and was insanely addictive with the hummus.


Moving on to something a bit more substantial, we ordered Udang Di Sebalik Brioche (RM20) from Red Red Botak Head. The dish’s name is a cheeky play on words on the Malay proverb “ada udang di sebalik batu” (there’s a prawn hiding beneath the rock – which means there’s a hidden plot or something unseen). Picture huge, juicy pieces of shrimp in a creamy, tangy sauce, topped with caramelized onions and sandwiched between a soft and fluffy brioche – and you have the UDSB.


No points for guessing why the store is called “botak head” (baldie). Chef Liang works the kitchen, and is super friendly (not many chefs crack a smile while they’re working – at least not the ones I’ve encountered lol), and the staff is super warm and friendly as well.


And finally, the Hubs and I shared a main of crispy noodles with roast duck (RM22) from Halley by Wondermama, which serves dimsum and roasties. The noodles were pretty good and came with bokchoy, egg, plus juicy and flavourful roast duck. I think there was a bit of preserved vegetables in it too which gave the broth a rich flavour and a slightly sour kick.


Wanted to try TokyoRamen; unfortunately they were still preparing the food and I didn’t want to wait 30 minutes. Another trip then!


There are many vendors that looked interesting but we didn’t manage to try them all on this visit. Some that caught my eye include The Bao Guys, featuring fluffy mantous sandwiched with everything from fried chicken to braised beef with spicy mala mayo; Taco King and its selection of authentic Mexican tacos; and Olivia’s Deli, which serves Valencian-style paellas. For alcoholic libations, visitors can head to Bar 44, while coffee lovers can indulge in cold brews and lattes from Kopenhagen.

Will definitely plan a return visit some time soon!

PS: All payments here are cashless so have your e wallets and debit/credit cards ready!


PT189-PT183-PT185 Jalan Strachan, Off, Jln Ipoh, Sentul, 51100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (or Waze to Tiffin at the Yard/Sentul Depot). Parking is free.

Opening hours: Thurs – Fri (5PM – 12AM), Sat-Sun (10AM – 12AM).

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