Hey, everyone! We’re well into the first week of 2022 – how has the new year been for you so far? It has been pretty busy for me, what with the Hubs finally coming to Malaysia after 22 months of us being apart, me starting a new job, preparing to apply for the Hub’s spouse visa, etc.
I have a tonne of posts rolled over from last year still pending in drafts, but in the meantime, here’s one from when I went to buy lunch recently at Taman Meranti Jaya, Puchong. Whenever I’m craving for Ipoh-style Chicken Hor Fun, I usually pay a visit to Wai Wai kopitiam (this warrants a separate post!). I haven’t been this way for some time now, and I noticed a new canopy set up around the corner – which turned out to be a ‘cafe’!
Run by a young man named Jeshua, Cornerstone Cafe has apparently been open for several months now – serving handcrafted coffees, teas, and lemonades, as well as cookies and snacks. The setup is simple, so you can only get your orders to go, but service is warm and friendly, as befitting a neighbourhood coffee joint.
There aren’t any cafes serving coffee in this neighbourhood – unless you count kopi o from kopitiams and instant coffee from convenience stores – so it’s nice to see one serving ‘fancier’ items like lattes and cappuccinos. Prices are also extremely reasonable, given the quality, which is on par with what you get from proper cafes in Puchong Jaya or Bandar Puteri Puchong.
Homemade cookies and the trending item that everyone’s into these days – dalgona candy.
The cafe is open from Tuesdays to Fridays, and on Sundays, from 8.30AM to 3PM.
I got a cold Caramel latte (RM9), plus a dalgona candy (RM3). The drink was perfectly balanced; not too sweet nor bitter, and it was smooth and creamy. It was perfect as an accompaniment to the candy.
Anddddd I’m dead if this had been Squid Game.
Tanming Boulevard, Taman Meranti Jaya, 47120, Puchong, Selangor (across the road, a short walk from Wai Wai restaurant)
Why choose, when you can have both? Newly opened at Le Pavillion in Bandar Puteri Puchong, The IceCream Bar serves artisanal ice cream infused with alcohol, with boozy creations the likes of Rum & Raisin and Bailey’s Original Ice Cream Liqueur. This is the brand’s latest outlet, after successful stints in Hartamas, 1Utama, and Seapark.
Interiors are cool and sophisticated, with a sleek black and white colour scheme, paired with high ceilings and lots of windows to give the space an airy feeling.
Pick your poison: aside from the signatures mentioned above, they also carry flavours such as Smoked Cognac, Guinness Brownies, Kahlua Cheesecake, and more. For those who prefer non-alcoholic flavours, opt for choices such as Valrhona Chocolate or Vanilla.
PS: If the design/feel/flavours of The Ice Cream Bar remind you of homegrown artisanal ice cream brand, Inside Scoop, that’s because they are under the same company.
You can have your scoop ice cream in cups, with cones, or on waffles. S and I went for the latter with three scoops of ice cream (RM27) : Whisky Cream, Popcorn Daiquiri, and their signature Rum & Raisin.
Now, I’m a bit of a teetotaler. I can’t hold my liquor well, and I can’t identify different kinds of liquor to save my life. So if you want my honest opinion: the ice cream tasted boozy. But they also tasted very similar to me. The Rum & Raisin had a distinctive flavour, but otherwise, all the flavours kind of blended together into one big hodgepodge of creamy alcoholic ice cream lol. That’s not to say it wasn’t good though; and I can see how people would enjoy this. It’s not like we have many boozy ice cream bars in Malaysia, so the concept is unique – that alone makes it worth a try.
Bought a Mapled Churchill for the bro. I like that they put it in these little transparent cans: not only is the packaging adorable, it’s also easy to store and eat from.
THE ICE CREAM BAR (PUCHONG)
LPC GF 18, Block C, Le Pavillion, Jalan Puteri 7/13, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong Phone: 03-5878 4735
One thing about living in Puchong? The food scene is never dull – and even as a Puchong-ite I’m always finding new spots to discover. In fact, if it wasn’t for a lifestyle article I read recently, I wouldn’t even have known about Luckee Canteen.
Opened earlier this year, this charming fusion cafe is tucked in a relatively quiet corner of Pusat Bandar Puchong (behind Lotus hypermarket) – which is probably why it doesn’t get as much traffic as the more commercial areas of Bandar Puteri and Puchong Jaya.
The cafe isn’t difficult to spot: just look for a bright red food stand outside, where one of the chefs serves up toasty ciabattas.
The outdoor seating area is cosy, and accommodates six to eight people. Bikes seem to be a theme here, as there’s one on the wall outside, and one inside. There are also a couple of mannequins and some skeleton(s) that make up part of the decor – it may sound odd, but the overall aesthetics go pretty well together.
On the outside, the cafe looks like a single-storey building, but it actually slants to the back, so you get a very lofty ceiling. They’ve designed it in such a way to allow for plenty of natural sunlight to filter in, making the place bright and cheerful looking.
Luckee Canteen offers a modest selection of fusion cuisine, including Asian-style rice bowls (like Minced Pork in Tomato Sauce rice, Teriyaki Salmon Rice), ciabatta sandwiches, and pastas. There’s also coffee and tea from Harney & Sons to go along with your meal.
The rice bowl portions here are very generous. Moo ordered the Luncheon Meat with egg rice bowl, which came with a side of sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes and pickled cucumber, as well as a fluffy omelette atop a bed of rice. If you’re a small eater, I think this can even be shared among two people.
Pops had one of the cafe’s signatures, namely the fried chicken rice bowl. The sides were similar to Moo’s order, except that the main protein was tender, juicy pieces of deep fried chicken. They were very flavourful, although Moo and Pops felt like it was a tad too salty for them.
I had the Fish Ciabbata, which was served with a side of chips. Again, the portion was quite generous; the fish fillet was sizable and cooked perfectly, the vegetables were fresh, and the melted cheese complemented the natural sweetness of the seafood well. The fish was moist enough on its own that no sauces were needed, and the ciabatta was soft and fluffy, with a crisp shell. Solid dish!
Our meal for three came up to about RM70. Most of the regular mains go for about RM18 – RM20++, but they also have pricier dishes like lamb and what not.
Luckee Canteen has pretty limited seating (about 30). I think it’s still relatively ‘hidden’ for now, but you might have to queue up if the place gets busier. Service is friendly.
6, Jalan Bandar 13, Pusat Bandar Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
Among Buddhist lay-followers, the first and the 15th day of each month according to the lunar calendar is when we are supposed to observe a vegetarian diet. This practice is rooted in Chinese tradition and Buddhist belief, as in Chinese culture, these are important days that mark the new and the full moon. In modern times, these beliefs are not always followed – but the fam and I try to eat vegetarian food whenever we can on these days, as well as on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and Wesak (Buddha’s birthday).
Puchong is home to quite a number of good vegetarian restaurants, such as Pure Heart, I Mushroom Culture, and VLite Cafe. We recently went to check out a relatively new place, called Soul Kitchen, in Bandar Puchong Jaya. This is their fourth outlet, as they also have shops in KL and Cheras, Selangor.
I don’t quite get the style they are going with – there’s a chandelier in the middle of the resto, but the tables and chairs look simple and the wall decor is minimal. But it’s cosy and clean, and that’s the most important thing.
Most vegetarian restaurants in Puchong serve Chinese cuisine, but Soul Kitchen also carries Western dishes the likes of pizzas and pastas, alongside the usual rice and noodle fare. It takes a good amount of creativity and skill to make vegetarian dishes on par with their meat-version counterparts – and I’m happy to say that Soul Kitchen delivers with aplomb. Prices are very reasonable too.
Moo’s order of Stir Fried Sang Meen (one of their signature dishes) came in a generous portion, loaded with cabbage, carrots and a side of tempe (fermented soybeans). We could immediately tell it was full of wok hei from the smell of the dish when it came to the table. (Wok hei literally means ‘breath of the wok’, a term used in Chinese cooking to describe food cooked over a big flame and high heat, which gives it an intense, smoky flavour). Really enjoyed this one! The noodles were al dente, the dish was well flavoured, and of course, what really set it apart was the wok hei. It’s one of the things that differentiates Chinese cuisine from Western cooking. They don’t call it the cuisine of flames for nothing!
I had a late breakfast, so I opted for a non-carb plate of fried mushrooms. Most places will just serve up battered fried mushrooms with either mayonnaise or tomato sauce, but Soul Kitchen’s version comes topped with loads of vegetarian floss. The mushrooms were perfectly fried, with a crispy exterior and moist insides, and the floss tasted remarkably like chicken floss.
Pops had the Nasi Lemak. You can choose from three options for the accompanying main dish, namely curry, rendang or petai (stinkbean). It was also served with a fried egg, keropok, peanuts, sambal and a crunchy snack that looked remarkably like anchovies. It’s amazing how creative chefs can be when it comes to making vegetarian food that is as close as possible to meat or seafood, both in taste and appearance.
Last but not least was the Brah’s pan mee. The noodles had a good texture, and Moo enjoyed the soup as she said it tasted ‘natural’ and didn’t seem to have MSG.
So that’s one more vegetarian food place to add onto the list! Even if you’re not Buddhist, this is good news for those living in the area who practice veganism or vegetarianism for a healthy lifestyle.
SOUL KITCHEN (PUCHONG JAYA)
15, Jalan Kenari 18b, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
Opening hours: 10.30AM -9.30PM (Daily)
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When it comes to weddings, events, and special get-togethers, jao lao (banquet halls) are still a popular choice among the Malaysian Chinese community. We had a special occasion recently, so the fam and I went to one such place, Hee Lai Ton Restaurant Puchong, for dinner.
Hee Lai Ton is a group of banquet restaurants, and they have branches in KL (went there once, for a friend’s wedding), Petaling Jaya, Seri Kembangan and Seremban. I’ve been to the Puchong branch a couple of times and their food is always decent.
Typical of Chinese jao laos, the restaurant is divided into two floors, and has large tables that seat up to 10 people. Each of these is equipped with a lazy Susan, so it’s convenient to reach for dishes. There is a stage at the corner of the room, complete with audio visual equipment and screen (they usually play photo slides/videos on it for weddings).
Hee Lai Ton offers sets of course meals comprising several dishes, good for six to ten people. Since we were only four, we went for ala carte. There is a wide variety of dishes to choose from, including seafood, meat, vegetables and tofu.
Our first order was Deep fried Oatmeal squid. This is a fairly common item in local Chinese restaurants, and involves deep frying seafood (usually squid or shrimp, or sometimes fried fish fillets), and tossing them in a butter and oatmeal mix together with bird’s eye chilli for an extra kick. The version here did not disappoint. It was nicely seasoned, not greasy, and the buttermilk-like sweetness paired well with the squid’s natural flavour.
Next came the Tofu with Crab meat. The tofu is made in-house, fried, and then cooked in an eggy, starchy sauce with brocolli, carrots and mushrooms. It had a nice silky texture, but there was very little crab meat in the dish. Miniscule, even. Can’t really blame the resto though – crab is expensive these days.
This was the Moomins’ pick: steamed “snow cod”. This is a misnomer, as this deepsea fish is not actually cod (it’s proper name is Patagonian toothfish), but that’s just how we call it here. Snow cod is very expensive – and since we didn’t want a siakap incident on our hands, we made sure to ask the resto manager how much it would cost. Our fish was about 300grammes, so it cost around RM80.
Despite the hefty price tag, I felt that it was worth it. Snow cod has a very distinctive taste: it’s sweet and buttery, with a fatty layer that melts in your mouth. Having it steamed and paired with soy sauce is the best way to showcase the natural flavours of this fish.
Tanjung Tualang is a small fishing village in Perak, renowned for its udang galah (freshwater prawns). The restaurant sells these large prawns, but they’re pricey – so to fit our budget, the waitress recommended regular prawns done “Tualang style” – that is, cooked in garlic and a savoury sauce. The prawns were still sizeable and juicy, with lots of roe in the head.
Last but not least was another one of Moo’s picks: pork ribs cooked in pumpkin. The ribs were served in a carved out pumpkin, so it absorbed the pumpkin’s natural sweetness, and the meat was also fall-off-the-bone tender.
All in all, our meal of five dishes came up to RM300+, which was actually more expensive than the set for six 😛 So if you do want to dine in, I suggest coming as a large group to get more bang for your buck. But given the quality of the food, the efficient service and comfortable setting, I think what we paid was worth the price.
HEE LAI TON (PUCHONG)
21, 22, 23, Jalan Kenari 1, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor
The Korean Wave, which started in the 2000s, has only grown stronger over the last two decades – thanks to cultural exports such as BTS and dramas like Crash Landing on You and more recently, Squid Game. Korean food has also become increasingly popular, with Korean fried chicken joints and BBQ restaurants opening up every other week.
One recent trend is the cheese corn dog, a hot street food item in South Korea. What makes it different from the American corn dog is the batter (the Korean version uses rice flour or yeasted dough rather than cornmeal), and although they both feature hot dog centres, Korean corn dogs typically include cheese and other ingredients such as fish cakes or rice cakes.
I get my K-corn dog fix from Kaiju Crunch, which opened not too long ago at Lotus Bukit Puchong. The name can be a bit of a misnomer, since Kaiju is a Japanese term for the giant monster genre (the brand mascot is also a Godzilla-looking monster), but I’d like to think it’s all in good fun. You can choose to have your corn dogs in the outlet, but seating is rather limited.
Took this pic some time ago, so the pandemic was still quite serious then – so I thought it was a nice gesture of them to have this ‘food bank’ for the needy.
KaijuCrunch offers eight flavours. Some of them have the same filling, but with different coatings. Their signatures are the Kaiju Sausage(RM8.70), which is the basic hotdog with batter, and the Original MozaSausage(RM9.80), which consists of hotdog + mozarella cheese with batter.
You can request for different sauces to go with your corn dog, including cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup or chilli sauce.
I mean, what can I say? Solid corndog. You get melty, stretchy Mozzarella cheese and hot dog on the inside, and a nice crispy batter on the outside. Best eaten hot, but if you must take away, you can pop it into the microwave and voila!
Another one I tried was the Ramyeon MozaSausage (RM10.90). The filling’s the same, but the fried noodle coating adds an extra layer of crunch.
Other items you can order include the Cornflake MozaSausage and Korean Spicy MozaSausage. If you like sweeter stuff, opt for the Honey Almond Cornflakes, or Mozacocoreo.
KaijuCrunch offers a small selection of drinks as well. I like their Choco Crumble Milk. It’s pretty sweet because of the honeycomb candy, but I like it that way. Else, go for drinks like the Strawberry Fizzy with Popping Boba, Lychee Fizzy or Korean Melon Milk for a more refreshing taste.
Gotta get that cheese stretch!
KaijuCrunch has another outlet in Batu Caves.
Lot G28. No. 1, 1, Jalan BP 7, Bandar Bukit Puchong 2, 47120 Puchong, Selangor
A couple of months ago, I wrote about Ramen Seirock-Ya, an up-and-coming halal ramen chain that specialises in toripaitan (chicken ramen) – and how it might just be the best halal ramen that I’ve tasted. Well, my opinion hasn’t changed – but this time, I’ve made a vlog about it. And in Malay, no less!
The video clips have been in my folder for some time now, but I just couldn’t find the time/energy to edit them. But better late than never, right? PS: This was filmed before the Movement Control Order 3.0 came into effect, when dine-in was still allowed. Fret not, though – you can order from them online here.
BTW, this is the first time that I’ve vlogged in Malay. Language gets rusty if you don’t use it often, which is the case with my Malay, and that’s why I wanted to at least practice it a bit in my vlog.
“But aren’t you Malaysian?” my non-Malaysian readers might ask. “You should be fluent in Malay, since you live there.”
Well, technically, I am fluent. I learned it for 10 years in school. I even got a “Best in BM” award in high school, which is a pretty good achievement if I say so myself, seeing that I’m Malaysian Chinese.
Here’s the thing though. It’s complicated. Malaysia is a pretty odd country. You have all these different races living together in relative harmony, but racial (and religious) polarisation has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s no longer surprising to find people who aren’t that fluent in Malay, even though they are citizens. My parents, for example, can speak in Malay relatively well. But they tend to mix English words into their conversations, and if you asked them to speak purely in Malay, they would find it difficult. Would that be considered ‘fluent’?
As for myself, well, being stuck at home means I only speak Cantonese and English (my first language) most of the time. And to be honest, my Malay has been on a downward spiral ever since I graduated from high school, because I don’t have that many Malay friends (or friends in general *cough cough*) who speak to me in Malay. The only occasions where I have to dig up my long-lost BM vocab are when I have to visit a government office.
Anyway, I hope to make more vlogs in Malay. I’m already an outcast when it comes to Chinese (I can’t read Chinese characters and I’m not fluent in Mandarin. Third culture kid problems), so I don’t want mastery of my second best language to go down the drain.
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PS: This is not a sponsored post. I just feel like sharing my favourite mall with you guys, Enjoy!
Old but gold best describes IOI Mall Puchong. Opened in 1996 when Puchong was still a relatively small township, it was originally a modest three-storey building, the main tenant being a department store called JUSCO (now AEON).
Over the years, the mall has undergone numerous refurbishments to keep it fresh and relevant. Today, the building comprises of two wings: the old wing and the new, which has four levels. The mall also boasts a good mix of tenants, from big brand names like UNIQLO, Victoria’s Secret and Levi’s, to local businesses and chain restaurants.
Being a Puchong-ite, I have very fond memories of the place, and I’ve seen how the place has transformed through the years. I rode on the carousel here as a kid, hung out with friends here as a teen, and more recently, gone on dates with my husband here. One thing I like about the mall is that it’s never boring – there’s always something to see and do. So if you’re an out-of-towner, here’s what you can expect on a visit to Puchong’s oldest mall:
The new wing was built sometime in 2009 and has four levels. Most of the shops are at the old wing, but the new wing has a pretty good selection of stores as well. Here you will find mid to upper-mid fashion stores such as Victoria’s Secret, Levi’s, Elle, Hush Puppies, Dockers, Cotton On, UNIQLO and Pedro, as well as optical shops, pharmacies (Caring Pharmacy and Watsons), and jewellery stores (SIMS Jewellery). Over at the old wing, you have mid to lower-mid brands like Giordano, as well as local brands like Nichii and Voir. Beauty enthusiasts will want to shop at The Body Shop, the newly opened Bath & Body Works kiosk (I always get tempted with the candles!), Sasa and Elianto. There are also a few watch shops (AWG Fine Watches, G-Shock) and more jewellery stores (Poh Kong, Tomei). DIY lovers can get their fix at Acer hardware, or buy cheap household goods at DAISO.
No matter what you’re craving, chances are IOI Mall Puchong has something to satisfy those cravings. There are lots of F&B options, so diners will be spoilt for choice. There’s a whole Food Street on the first floor dedicated to restaurants and eateries. My favourite picks? For non-halal, there’s Thai mookata restaurant BBQ Plaza, homegrown mee xian noodle experts Go Noodle House, and Japanese hotpot buffet Sukishi with its unlimited refill of meat. Wong Kok Char Chan Teng and its HK-inspired dishes (think cheese baked rice and spaghetti with ‘sock’ millk tea) are a good choice too.
For halal options, a must-try is the newly opened Seirock-Ya ramen that specialises in toripaiten (chicken ramen). Suki-ya and Sushi King both offer affordable and tasty Japanese food too, while K-fans will want to head to Kyochon for their chicken wings. And then there are the usual fast food chains like KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonalds and A&W. Snack kiosks like J&G Fried Chicken, Empire Sushi, Shihlin Taiwanese Snacks, Chatime and Daboba offer something for diners to munch/sip on while they shop.
Oh, and if you’re looking to have a Chinese wedding or celebration, there’s Dynasty Dragon. I almost had my wedding banquet dinner here but the prices were a bit steep so we ended up somewhere else.
The mall is constantly getting new tenants, so even I haven’t tried some of the newer places like Haidilao and Honeycomb BBQ (a Korean BBQ resto). I’m also looking forward to trying Putien (their outlet in Singapore has one Michelin star) someday.
The new wing’s second floor houses a Fitness First gym. It used to be on the ground floor at the old wing, before shifting to the new premises. Before FF, Puchong did not have gyms, so it was always packed with gym-goers. Things are obviously much quieter now coz of the pandemic.
BEAUTY AND WELLNESS TREATMENTS
There is a slew of aesthetic clinics at the new wing offering beauty treatments like slimming and facials (Dorra, Yunnan Haircare, London Weight Management) on the first and second floors. If you’re looking for a relaxing massage, there’s Manjakaki Spa (traditional Malay spa) and the premium-priced Thai Oddysey.
BRING THE KIDS FOR SOME FUN
IOI Mall’s star attraction when it opened was the carousel in its concourse area, complete with decked out horses, mirrors and bright sparkling lights. My brother and I have gone on many a ride in our younger years, and I always get a pang of nostalgia whenever I see it today. It gives me a fuzzy feeling knowing that some of my friends are bringing their kids on the carousel that they rode on in their younger years. Perhaps if I ever have kids, I’d bring them for a ride too.
As a teen (and even during my college years), many an afternoon was spent at the arcade playing Rock Fever 3, shooting hoops on the basketball machine, dancing to DDR and shooting up zombies in House of the Dead. They’ve updated the machines so many of these games are no longer there, but it’s still a great place to take the kids for an hour or two of fun. The mall has two arcades; one at the old wing and one at the new.
CATCH A MOVIE
IOI Mall’s Golden Screen Cinemas is where you can watch the latest movies. These days it is very quiet due to pandemic restrictions, but pre-pandemic, it was one of the most popular places in the mall, almost jam packed every weekend. The cinema spans two floors and parts of both the old and new wing.
Probably not the best time to go right now, but IOI Mall does have a Karaoke joint called Port. I hope they’ll last until everything tides over!
For household goods and essentials, look no further than department store AEON. Aside from a section for groceries, they also carry everything from clothing and electronics to kitchen equipment, bedding, sports equipment, and more.
There are actually loads of other things you can get/do at IOI Mall. You can pay your phone bills or shop for gadgets at the old wing’s third floor, where they have all the flagship smartphone/telcomm operators like Digi, Celcom + Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung, etc. You can sip on coffee at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, ZUS, Coffea Coffee or get freshly baked goods from Donutes. There’s a chiropractor and a physical therapist centre as well.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but hopefully it can help you get a better idea of what to expect. IOI Mall Puchong may not be the biggest or nicest mall out there, but it’s certainly close to my heart.
IOI Mall sits next to the LDP Highway and is easy accessible by car. There is ample parking outdoors, in the basement at the new wing, and on the rooftop of the old wing. Those taking public transport can hop onto Rapid KL buses 506, 600, 602, 671, T600, T601, T602, T603, T604 and T605 servicing the route. The IOI Puchong Jaya LRT station (Sri Petaling Line) stops just next to the mall and is a 2-minute walk away.
PS: I filmed this before MCO3.0. Please do not travel unless absolutely necessary – save a trip for when things are better and it’s safe to go around again!
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