Review: Pho Street, IOI Mall Puchong

The Moo and I were in IOI Mall Puchong for a spot of shopping recently, and we stopped for lunch at Pho Street, a restaurant specialising in Vietnamese cuisine. It was not too packed and we were led to our table and served promptly.

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Blue and white + wood seems to be the theme around here. I liked the traditional-looking lamp shades they had on the ceiling.

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One side of the resto featured a painting of a giant panda being wheeled by a tricycle lol.

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I know the place is called Pho Street, but we were both craving for rice and went for the chicken/rice dishes instead. Moo had the Lemongrass Chicken Chop Rice, which came with a small side of salad and pickled vegetables. Portions were generous: a huge mound or rice with a thick slab of chicken thigh. The chicken tasted fresh and was tender and juicy, but sadly, it was overpowered by the sweetness of the lemongrass sauce and became quite cloying to eat after the first few bites.

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Same thing with my Turmeric Chicken Chop, which, if you can believe it, was even sweeter than the Lemongrass one. I know Vietnamese cuisine tends to be on the sweet side, but it was definitely overpowering. Would I say the food was bad? Nah, but it wasn’t great either and I wouldn’t deign to order this again. Perhaps the Banh Mi (sandwiches) or a bowl of Pho next time.

**Dining out is so exp these days – our meal was RM15.90 each plus 10% service charge and 6% service tax for a whopping 16% (!) 

PHO STREET 

Level 2, Food Street, IOI Mall, 23, Lebuhraya Damansara – Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong

Sushi Zanmai, IOI Mall Puchong

Update: This branch is permanently closed.

One of my fondest childhood memories is that of shopping at IOI Mall, which was opened in the year 2000 when Puchong was still a (relatively) small township undergoing development. These days, you can’t even throw a stone without it landing on a mall, but back then, having one in your neighbourhood was a pretty big deal.

IOI Mall is quite old now but it’s still popular with patrons, and they’ve kept it fresh by expanding to a new wing and getting in some good brands. Apart from having the essentials like a cinema, an arcade, a bowling alley, a snooker center, gym and a bookstore, they’ve also recently introduced some new shops.

One of these is Sushi Zanmai, a very popular (locally helmed) Japanese restaurant in Malaysia. It takes up the corner lot which used to be a place called The Little Pantry – a maid-themed cafe where the staff members dressed up as maids – but it didn’t do so well. Business seemed to be booming at Sushi Zanmai though. Malaysians can never get enough of Jap food.

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C and I, along with two of her friends, went to check the place out. The interior is spacious and neat, with a conveyor belt pushing out sushi of all colours, shapes and sizes. We sat at the back at a proper dining table, where it was much more private and hidden from view.

I had ramen instead of my usual udon. Noodles were springy with a slight bite, and the clear broth was flavoured with the goodness of mushroom and seaweed. Nothing to complain about here…

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As a snack, deep fried shimeji mushrooms. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with a salty, buttery batter. The dish was served with a dollop of Kewpie mayo.

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C had cold noodles, which I tried for the first time. I always think noodles should be hot and slurpy, so was pleasantly surprised to find these very refreshing and tasty. Great for hot summers! It came topped with shrimp, roe and sweet egg.

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Grilled cheese ebi sushi. Shrimps were fresh, rice was compacted well.

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Soft shell crab temaki had a generous piece stuffed into it. Some places have like a thin leg and try to pass it off on you lol.

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Assorted sushi platter with tamago (egg), inari (sweet beancurd) and octopus.

Prices at Sushi Zanmai are pricier than joints like Sushi King or Sakae Sushi, but the quality of the food and environment is good enough to pay a bit extra.

SUSHI ZANMAI 

G18A, IOI Mall, Batu 9 Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor.

Business hours: 10am – 10pm (daily)

Porridge Time, IOI Mall Puchong

[Update] This outlet is permanently closed.

In the West you have pizza places; in Malaysia we have porridge joints. One great place to get a porridge fix is at Porridge Time, which has branches in malls all over the country. Serving hearty and delicious porridge, the outlets are no-frills and the items are affordable, considering the air-conditioned setting.

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The nearest outlet to my house is at IOI Mall in Puchong, tucked within a quiet corner on the ground floor. It can be hard to miss, so just look out Papa John’s Pizza/Seoul Garden BBQ and you’ll find the resto, all decked out in red.

I like the one topped with deep fried pieces of pork intestine (above). The flavour is a little gamey, but the innards are super crunchy and addictive.

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Porridge is best eaten with deep fried crullers. Cut into small pieces, you dip them into the porridge where they soak up the broth.

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Something less fatty.

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“Teng Zai” porridge, so called because it used to be sold on little boats. This dish was popular in Hong Kong back in the day. The version here has crab meat sticks, seaweed and peanuts, garnished with spring onions and ginger.

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Enjoy with seasonings such as pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil.

PORRIDGE TIME 

Lot EG12, IOI Mall, Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya,
47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia
 +60 12-286 8992
Open daily: 11AM–10PM

Bowling Weekend at IOI Mall Puchong

[UPDATE] IOI Mall Puchong’s bowling centre is now closed. 

I haven’t gone bowling for seven years. 

The last time was with a group of high school friends after our graduation, to send Paul off to the States where he would be furthering his studies. So you can imagine how rusty I was!

Carmen randomly called me up one afternoon and asked if I’d like to go bowling with her over the weekend, coz she had to practice for a company tournament. And since there is a bowling alley near my house, I thought why the heck not? Beats being a couch potato.

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We went to Superbowl at IOI Mall Puchong. The place is pretty old – they opened it when the mall was built, so it’s at least 15 years.

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There are about 20 lanes in the alley. Back when I was still in high school, I came here a couple of times and the facilities were well managed. Now, all the screens where you can key in players names are busted.. so you have to do it at the counter. I made the mistake of leaning against one of the monitors and the whole thing came apart.

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We were there around 7pm and the place was deserted. There was a promo going on where guests can buy 3 games and get 1 free (RM24) so we got that. We had to go look for our own shoes, which were in mismatched colours. I doubt they wash the shoes regularly; the stink of feet as we entered the area could have sent most people to high heaven lol.

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The floor where the seats were was uneven, lazily covered over with cardboard and carpet. The seats were littered with garbage (you can buy snacks and chocolates from a nearby concessionaire); even though there was a garbage bin nearby. Sheesh, some people and their non-existent civic consciousness.

The balls were also greasy, like someone just decided to oil all of them.Carmen went around wiping each and everyone that she used with tissues repeatedly.

Somehow that entire paragraph sounded really wrong.

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Game on! Look at how pro Carmen is with her stance lol. I never realised she was left handed because she always used to write with her right in school. Apparently when she was a kid, her parents made her use her right hand (it’s kind of a dumb superstition that using your left hand is bad, imo) so now she’s ambidextrous.

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And then yours truly..

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Straight into the gutter

 

It took me awhile to get the hang of rolling it into the center.

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Yay me lol

Our lane’s sensor malfunctioned – it always failed to detect two of the pins. This meant that even if our ball rolled into the gutter without hitting anything, it always counted as 2. We never got a zero. Idk if that’s a good or bad thing..

I scored a couple of lucky strikes though 🙂

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Halfway through my arm was getting tired lol.

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By 8.30pm, the place was slowly filling up with groups of friends and family enjoying the weekend out.

Which baffles me… if the place is so popular and they’re doing good business, why can’t they spend a little to upgrade the facilities?

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And the winner goes to… 😀

20160109_223530-tile All that rolling had us tired, so we stopped by at Lok Lok Street for some supper.

This place is filthy as sht, but people (I’m guilty too) still flock to it for the food.

The ‘street’ is basically an open air carpark with tables and chairs, where numerous lok lok lorries are parked and where visitors can cook food on skewers in pots of broth, on the spot. It’s definitely not the most hygienic place to eat at lol.

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Pork balls and cheese sausage

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I come here for the fried oyster mushrooms coated in tempura batter and chilli powder. An oily treat once in awhile.

 

Hope you guys had a nice weekend too! 🙂

Japanese Steamboat Buffet – Sukishi @ IOI Mall Puchong

I LOVE meat.

I had to type that in caps to tell you just how much. I like anything grilled, fried, roasted, barbecued… the possibilities are endless. To put it in a nutshell, I was never a ‘save the animals and go vegetarian’ person.  I do like animals in general, but I also think some animals taste yummy as fahk.

Previously when I was in Sg, my friend brought me to a local buffet steamboat restaurant where you could order all the meat you want. And I was like wtf… we have steamboat restaurants in Malaysia, but it’s usually the standard fare of fishballs, squid balls, sausages and processed stuff. So when I came back and I found out there was a newly opened shop called Sukishi in IOI Mall Puchong which adopts a similar concept of free-flow meat, I dropped by for a visit immediately. Man was I satisfied that day.

I brought Carmen along for my second visit.

I don’t even need anything else from their buffet selection.. just fat, juicy clams (the ones here are reasonably sized), beef and pork. Although I have to say I like pork better. There’s an even layer of fat and lean meat so it’s awesome when you dip it in the broth. For those who aren’t meat eaters like I am, there’s a tonne of vegetables, mushrooms, carrot, daikon and corn to make your soup sweeter tasting and more flavourful. And then there’s the standard fishballs, cheese filled tofu, beancurd… etc. They also have a small selection of sushi (hence the name Sukishi: it’s a combination of Sukiyaki = Japanese hotpot, and Sushi).

The inside of the restaurant can be a little smoky what with all the cooking. But it’s neat and clean, with wooden accents to give it an Asian zen kind of feel. One side of the place faces the vast mining lake next to the mall, so it has good sunset views.

Customers get to choose between two types of broth. We went for Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki, which is the soy based broth, for a clearer taste.

There are three kinds of meat available – chicken, beef and pork. Not a fan of chicken that much if its boiled, so pork and beef it is. To enjoy, simply cook the meat for a few seconds in the boiling broth, then dip it in raw beaten egg. it might sound ew but it’s awesome. The smooth egg actually cools down the piping hot meat and gives it a silky texture.

The meat quality here is pretty good. One plate normally comes in thinly sized pieces of eight. (u)

What’s a meal without dessert? Finished our lunch with a generous dose of Matcha Ice-Cream sprinkled over with nata de coco and chocolate sprinkles.

The lunch came up to RM30 per person. If you’re a big meat eater, the trip here is well worth it. Dinner is pricier, but I think there is a wider selection of items available.

Sukishi

IOI Mall, New Wing, 3rd Floor, 47170 Puchong

Mon-Sun (11am – 10pm) Lunch – 11am – 4pm, Dinner – 5pm – 10pm