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Shop Till You Drop At Pop The Arcade @ Jaya One, PJ

Back when I was still working at my old office in PJ, I used to drop by at Pop@ Jaya One for some retail therapy over my lunch break, or sometimes after work. The artsy space, which was created to help local entrepreneurs showcase their products, was a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind items, from bargain clothing to handmade trinkets and souvenirs.

Since working from home, I haven’t had the chance to go to Jaya One – but when I heard that Pop was relaunching with a brand new shopping concept, I popped in for a visit!

pop the arcade logo

Now known as Pop The Arcade, the retail store has been reimagined as a shopping arcade, making it one of the first urban arcade retrofits in a shopping mall in Malaysia. Spanning 5,800 square feet, the concept draws inspiration from shopping arcades in the UK, Europe and Japan and has been designed for convenience, with specific zones within that make it easy for visitors to find what they need easily.

Plant zone
For the green-thumbed: there’s a section selling all sorts of house plants right at the entrance. Time to spruce up the home with some greens!

True to its mission to champion homegrown entrepreneurs, creative spirits, and unique businesses created out of passion, you’ll find over 40 vendors here – mostly local– covering everything from fashion, fine jewelry, beauty and accessories, to functional and lifestyle items, hobby and pet products, independent food retailers, plants, home appliances.

Accessories & keychains 2
You can get handcrafted leather wallets and journals, keychains, phone cases, pins and more from this store
fashion zone
The clothing section carries the latest fashion for women, and also includes a few stores selling yoga wear. The spacious and easy-to-navigate layout ensures minimal contact and adequate social distancing.
fashion bags
fashion shoes
bags

For the adventurous, Pop The Arcade has a Greenroom 136 store. The homegrown brand from Kajang is popular for its high quality and stylish urban bags, which includes their signature Metro Drifter series. Let it not be said that homegrown brands are inferior to international ones – the quality and designs on these are superb.

home appliances
When I say you can get literally everything under one roof, I meant everything: like these kitchen appliances from Bear. Many of the designs are super adorable and come in a cute, pastel colour scheme. Fancy a self-heating bento box, or a mini cooker that you can bring to the office? You can find it here!
beauty zone
For the ladies, beauty rollers, steamers and other mystifying (to me, at least) contraptions.
home living
Catch some ZZZs with a mattress from local brand Sonno. Just don’t do it at the store itself lol.
pet items
lifestyle goods
Look no further for your eco-friendly products, like handmade soaps, metal straws, biodegradable beeswax packaging, etc.
homemade food 2

Of course, not forgetting my favourite section: food. Pop The Arcade has a good selection of goods and products from small entrepreneurs, so you can get homemade sauces, healthy nut butters, keropok, condiments, nut mixes and more – all at very reasonable prices. You’ll also be doing a part in supporting homegrown brands and small business owners, especially in this current economy.

homemade food

While Pop was previously only available as a physical space, shoppers can now experience it online and shop for unique items without ever having to leave their homes, though the popshop.my online store. To celebrate its opening, shoppers can also enjoy RM 5 off with a minimum spending of RM 30 on the site, while stocks last.

For local brands looking to expand its business, Pop is open for discussion and collaboration. Interested SMEs can enquire at popstars@jayaone.com.my.

popshop.my

*Photos courtesy of Pop The Arcade.

Watch this Free Online Show To Support the Malaysian Performing Arts Scene: indicinelive! Quaranstream Edition

The coronavirus pandemic has affected many businesses and sectors – and with cancelled shows (going to theatres might be the last thing on people’s minds rn), the local performing arts scene has taken quite a hit.

Image courtesy of klpac

In support of those in the industry, indicinelive! (in-dee-SEE-nee-live) returns this year with a social-distancing compliant performance. Founded by Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) former director-in-residence Kelvin Wong, the show first premiered in 2010 and satirises the insane society we live in through a high-octane line-up of everyday characters, familiar situations and parodies of songs we’ve hard and are all too familiar with. It has played to packed houses in KL, Penang, Melaka, Kuching and Singapore since its inception.

indicinelive! Quaranstream Edition brings the show to audiences at home, and will be the very first show created for an online premiere by The Actors Studio Seni Teater Rakyat (TAS STR) and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac). This first ever ‘digital show’ packs in 75 minutes of fun and laughter with brand-new sketches, character satires and song parodies inspired by the pandemic, the recent political shift, and how we see the ‘new normal’ world.

It features a freshly sanitised cast comprising alumni – Anrie Too, Dinesh Kumar, Jad Hidhir, Kamini Senthilathiban, Siti Farrah Abdullah, and Tiara Anchant – along with the new kids on the block – Jon Chew, Nabilah Hamid, and Oxford Tong. They will be performing fun-sized sketches by Adriana Nordin Manan, Terence Toh, Tung Jit Yang and head writer, Uihua Cheah.

Rounding up the team are multimedia designers Coebar Abel and Sebastian Ng, sound designer Clarence Chua and Production / Stage Manager Benedict Chin. Audiences can also expect a few surprise guest performers during the livestream.

The show will be livestreamed on klpac’s Facebook page on the 12th of June (Friday) 9pm, and admission is free – although you can support the ongoing fundraising campaign for klpac and The Actors Studio via an interactive approach. With its theatres closed, klpac and The Actors Studio’s losses have already exceed RM1.1 million. While its recent #SaveYourSeat campaign has raised crucial funds for the next two months, klpac requires RM132,000 per month and The Actors Studio RM25,000 per month to stay afloat.

As part of its fundraising efforts, klpac is also running an e-greeting service called Send-A-Song (link) which packages your message with a song sung by a local artiste into a video and delivers it to your loved one’s phone for a fee of RM50 only. Whether it is a heartfelt message to our loved ones, to thank our front liners or just to cheer a friend up, this is a meaningful gift that will help to keep the arts alive, one song at a time. We can help to keep the arts alive and the theatres running!

Both indicinelive! Quaranstream Edition and Send-A-Song is run on a profit sharing basis with the artistes where they will receive a portion of the proceeds. For indicinelive! donations will be split between artistes, klpac and TAS.

The performance will span approximately 75 minutes including pre and post show engagements, and is strictly for mature audiences only. Direct links to the livestream and donation mechanism will be distributed via klpac and indicinelive!’s social media channels.

facebook.com/theklpac/

Review: Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger (Why Didn’t I Try This Sooner?!)

Americans have their KFCs and McDonalds; Filipinos, their Jollibees. But here in Malaysia, Marrybrown stands proud as a homegrown contender. Founded in 1981 as the local answer to a burgeoning fast food industry, the brand has made a name for itself serving fried chicken and tasty burgers with a Malaysian twist.

I’ve always enjoyed Marrybrown’s fried chicken, which is juicy and has great flavour – but I haven’t had the chance to try out any of their burgers (because I always end up getting the chicken, haha!). The chain recently brought back their limited time only Fortune Burger for the Lunar New Year celebrations, so what better time to check it out?

Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger comes in two flavours: cheese ,and black pepper. The set includes crispy Golden Fortune Fries and a glass of Minute Maid orange juice.

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I visited the branch in Puchong Prima. Service was slow as it took almost 25 minutes to get my burger. (when fast food isn’t fast.) The fries came first. They were thin cut and very crispy. In terms of flavour, they were more akin to A&W’s curly fries, down to that salty, peppery taste. Good stuff. 

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The burger finally arrived, and it did not disappoint.

Deceptive advertising is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it comes to food. I understand that it’s part and parcel of marketing, because there’s no way real food can look as attractive as they do in ads – but I also think there’s a limit to how big of a difference there should be between what’s advertised and the actual product.

Thankfully, Marrybrown’s Fortune Burger was a pleasant surprise: featuring a humongous battered and deep fried chicken thigh, drenched in black pepper sauce and a generous heaping of button mushrooms and onions, sandwiched between two fluffy sesame buns.

The Malaysian black pepper sauce has a very strong and distinctive taste, thanks to the region’s cultural influences and the liberal use of local spices: so you get stuff like oyster sauce, soy sauce, garlic, galangal,  chillies etc. used as the sauce’s ingredients. The black pepper sauce on the Fortune Burger reminded me very much of the cheap but tasty chicken chops that they used to sell in high school – it had almost the exact same flavour. The chicken thigh was also fried to juicy perfection, and despite the copious amount of sauce, still retained a crispy exterior and juicy insides. In my personal opinion, it is way, WAY better than McDonald’s Prosperity Burger. 

The Fortune Burger started its run on January 13 so they’re probably going to take it off the menu very soon. Go try it out before it happens! Else, you’ll have to wait for the next year.

  • Price: RM15++
  • Satisfaction: worth way more

Food With A View @ Forage On The Foreshore, Port Campbell

Located close to the end of the Great Ocean Road, Port Campbell is a small coastal town popular as a base for tourists visiting the Twelve Apostles limestone stacks, which is just a short drive away. Despite its small population (around 5-600), the town is packed with attractions and things to see, from chic restaurants and cafes to vibrant galleries and shops, and of course, beautiful nature.

After a long drive from Melbourne with numerous stops along the way, we were glad to check in to our accommodation at Southern Ocean Villas. After quickly freshening up, it was time for the next item on the agenda – dinner!

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Walking to the town centre, we passed through quiet roads with quaint homes and lush green fields. For a city girl like me, who grew up surrounded by bright lights and concrete buildings, it was a nice and relaxing change of atmosphere.

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Housed in the town’s former post office, Forage on the Foreshore is all about fresh food foraged locally. With gorgeous sea-facing views, the resto exudes chill beach / boardwalk vibes, with a cheerful yellow and blue colour scheme.

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There’s a small souvenir shop next to the restaurant which sells handmade gifts and trinkets. Unfortunately due to the hour, it was closed. (That’s another thing about Western countries that I find in stark contrast with Asian countries, where most of everything is open until late at night) 

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View facing the sea and dramatic cliffs

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The interior is casual, wooden tables, chairs and floorboards, simple deco, a vintage vinyl record player and an open fireplace.

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As with many restaurants that we’ve dined on the Great Ocean Road so far, the menu is big on regional, seasonal produce so it changes from time to time. For starters, we had the Pickled Apollo Bay Octopus with Brucknell Kalamata Olives and Fire-Roasted Capsicum Sauce. Presentation was rustic, but pleasant. The sauce’s vivid red popped against the black plating, and looked great when paired with the greens and the octopus. Meaty and sweet, the protein was great for nibbling on, with a slightly chewy texture and great flavour.

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Digging in to the next appetiser: the Panfried Yumbah Greenlip Abalone with Garlic Butter on a Raw Celeriac and Roquette Salad. Again, slightly chewy as most shellfish done well should be, and I think garlic butter is a great flavour pairing to bring out the natural sweetness of the abalone. The celeriac and roquette salad added an element of crunch and texture to the overall dish. A winner in my books.

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Despite being summer, it was quite windy and cold by the seaside, so I opted for something warm and soothing for mains – Fresh locally caught fish, Mount Martha Mussels, Bass Straight Scallops in Fish Bone Broth. The bread that came with the dish was perfect to sop up the lip-smacking broth, and they were generous with the amount of seafood.

FORAGE ON THE FORESHORE 

32 Cairns St, Port Campbell VIC 3269, Australia

forageontheforeshore.com.au

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Sunset view; lovely pink sky.

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After dinner, we drove back near to the 12 Apostles to try and spot penguins returning from their catch for the day. It was too dark to see anything, but at least we enjoyed the breathtaking view of the sunsetting in the horizon, casting an orange glow across the dark sea.