Sushi Zanmai @ Quayside Mall, Telok Panglima Garang

Dropping in with a short and sweet entry!

You might recall a previous post where I did a walking tour of Quayside Mall, a relatively new mall located in the twentyfive.7 township at Kota Kemuning South. While there isn’t much going on in the neighbourhood, the mall is pretty well equipped and has everything from a higher-end grocer to restaurants, mobile and internet service providers, and a convention centre.

After our trip to Immigration to sort out N’s papers, the bro, N and I stopped by the mall for lunch, where we decided to go for Sushi Zanmai.

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Like its other branches, the Sushi Zanmai here has the same aesthetics: spacious and airy interior, with lots of wood and tall windows for natural sunlight. Service was efficient and friendly; we were promptly seated at a booth and since the menu is now paperless, we made our orders by scanning a QR code at the table.

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For appetisers, the chuuka idako is a must. I like that they don’t skimp on the portions, and the octopus is well marinated and flavourful.

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If you like wasabi, try the tako wasabi (octopus with wasabi). It’ll clear any blocked sinuses immediately! It might take some getting used to, though, as the octopus has a slimy texture which not everyone might find palatable.

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We also got some sushi, like the tuna inari (tuna with rice stuffed in sweet beancurd).

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For mains, Sushi Zanmai offers a selection of rice and noodle dishes, as well as other options like sukiyaki (hotpot). You can opt for regular sized meals, but if you’re a small eater, the small portions are good enough (plus they’re very affordable!)

I got udon in a soy sauce broth served with crispy tempura vegetables and prawn; the Bro had rice with fried fish fillets. The tempura was excellent: lightly battered and crispy; it paired really well with the chewy noodles.

Overall, I enjoyed the food and service from this Sushi Zanmai branch, and wouldn’t mind stopping by again if I’m in the area! Prices are quite affordable too for the setting and quality.

SUSHI ZANMAI

GF-06, Ground Floor, Quayside Mall Persiaran Freesia, Gamuda Kemuning 25.7, 42500 Telok Panglima Garang, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 9PM (daily)

Online delivery available. Order here

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Things to Do@Tropicana Gardens Mall, Kota Damansara

Malls these days follow a cookie-cutter formula – if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all.

Once in awhile, though, you find neighbourhood places like Tropicana Gardens Mall in Kota Damansara. Despite being a stone’s throw away from well known malls like IKEA Damansara, 1Utama and The Curve, Tropicana Gardens holds its own with a unique mix of offerings and cool tenants; most notably Japanese discount chain store Don Don Donki, as well as the largest Starbucks Reserve in Malaysia.

Although it’s far from my house, I’ve been here a couple of times, mostly to visit Donki, but also coz it’s a nice mall to shop at, with everything under one roof.

If you haven’t had the chance to visit, here’s what to expect!

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The mall spans five floors, and has a star-shaped layout. It’s fairly new (the mall opened in February 2021), so the upper floors are quite empty – but there’s plenty to explore on the lower floors. A golden tree takes centre stage at the main concourse, and they spruce it up with different decorations for every season (this pic was taken over a Christmas visit).

SHOP FOR JAPANESE SNACKS AND GOODS AT DON DON DONKI

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One of the mall’s highlights is, of course, the Don Don Donki. This is the second Donki outlet in Malaysia and also the largest, covering nearly 4,000 sq m across two floors. There is a wide variety of goods to shop for here, from fresh produce and snacks, to cosmetics, gym equipment and toys imported from Japan. You can read a more detailed post here.

DO SOME READING AT BOOK XCESS

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Lifestyle bookstore Book Xcess, which sells most of its titles for half the price of what you get at normal bookstores (they’re able to do this as they sell remainder books — books that were overprinted and weren’t taken by conventional bookstores, but are brand new), has a branch on the 2nd floor. If you’re a bibliophile, you can wile the hours away browsing, or just soaking in the store’s cosy aesthetics. I especially like the floor to ceiling ‘wave’ book shelf that stretches from one end of the shop to the other.

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GRAB A BITE

Tropicana Gardens Mall has a fair selection of F&B tenants, from fast food chains to chic cafes. There is also an area called Pitstop which is inspired by the food truck concept — with food truck-shaped kiosks, open seating, and gas station-themed decor.

Personally, I would recommend Tendon Kohaku, which specialises in tempura bowls. Other notable restaurants here include Delay No More Crab Restaurant, Dodo Dimsum Bowls, Go Street Noodle, Ramen Bankara, Rakuzen, D’Italiane, and Sukishi. Don’t forget to check out the snack bars, cafes and bakeries such as Chizu, Park’s Bagels and Gula Cakery.

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GET A MAKEOVER

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The upper floors host a number of salons and beauty parlours where you can get your hair cut, washed and styled, or enjoy beauty treatments.

JOIN A DANCE OR SINGING CLASS

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Here, you can find Flow Academy, a creative school dedicated to the performing arts. They offer dancing and fitness as well as music and singing classes. Many of the academy’s students perform professionally, but you can sign up too if you’re looking to pick up a hobby.

PLAY AND BUY TRADING CARDS AND BOARD GAMES

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If nerdy stuff is more your thing (and I mean it in the best way, being a nerd myself), Invictus Force carries a wide selection of tabletop accessories, trading cards and board games. They also host events for games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering.

CATCH A FILM

I haven’t been to the theatres for over two years now, and probably will not in the near future — but for movie-buffs, the mall has a Golden Screen Cinemas on the top floor.

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The upper floors are quite empty at present.

SING KARAOKE

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Another activity that I haven’t done for years is karaoke — my college mates and I used to go every other week, as it was relatively ‘cheap’ entertainment (20 bucks for 4 hours — but this was back in the 2010s :P). Now that we’re all working, it has been hard to go for such activities, and even if we have free time we end up at a cafe anyway.

If you’d like to sing your heart out and belt out some Whitney Houston, Loudspeaker is on the same floor as the cinema.

SHOOT STUFF UP AT THE ARCADE

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Or race some cars, play some drums, shoot a few hoops.

Last but not least…

GRAB SOME COFFEE AT THE STARBUCKS RESERVE

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The mall is home to Malaysia’s largest Starbucks Reserve (they’re essentially ‘high-end Starbucks’, carrying  ‘a selection of the rarest, most extraordinary coffees Starbucks has to offer’, prepared through different techniques such as Chemex, siphon and pour-over). I haven’t actually been inside (on my visits, I was always too full from eating at the other restos or stuffing my face at Donki, lol), but I’d like to drop by on my next trip. It looks impressive enough from the outside, where there is al fresco seating and an outdoor area with beautiful murals.

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If you have the weekend free, Tropicana Gardens Mall is worth a visit! There is ample parking (although the entrance is quite difficult to find — you have to go past the drop-off point in front of the mall, then make a U-turn when you’re almost at the exit), and alternatively, you can take the MRT and stop at the Surian station.

TROPICANA GARDENS MALL

29 No, Unit CC, 2A, Persiaran Surian, Tropicana Indah, 47810 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Website

PS: This is not a sponsored post. Opinions here are entirely my own.

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Pavilion Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur

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.

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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!)

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Was tempted to get these ‘mystery boxes’ for gifting. Tis’ the season, after all
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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.

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Locally grown jalapenos
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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.

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I love the butter and cheese section. So much variety! Got some hummus.
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I was very tempted to buy this giant bottle of coffee (RM50). It was the length of my forearm and at least twice the width.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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Parkson is another anchor tenant in the mall. Other notable stores that are open include a Harvey Norman, Toys R’Us, HOHM, and Mr DIY. Expect a Dadi cinema and karaoke too in the coming months.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

PS: I hope you liked this post! Please consider supporting my blog via my Patreon, so I can make more. Or buy me a cup of coffee on Paypal @erisgoesto.

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Walking Tour: Things To Do at IOI Mall, Puchong, Malaysia

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.

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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:

Subscribe to my Youtube channel if you haven’t already! I post walking tours and anything that catches my fancy. #shamelessplug

GO SHOPPING (DUH!)

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.

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The concourse area at the Old Wing. The design features skylights that allow plenty of sunlight to filter in.

FEAST

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.

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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.

WORK OUT

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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

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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.

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Not keen on the carousel? A train ride works too! You can go on this with your child just outside Popular bookstore.
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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

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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.

SING KARAOKE

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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!

BUY GROCERIES

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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.

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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.

GETTING HERE

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.

ioimp.com.my

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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An Artsy Weekend @ Sunway Velocity Mall, Cheras – Commune + Sam Kan Chong

The weekend after the historic General Elections was a long one, so the Moomikins and I decided to go walk around at a mall. We drove a bit further to Sunway Velocity Mall, since Moomins had never been there before.

The mall was quiet; probably because everyone was still cautious about going out after GE. Shops here are mostly mid-end brands, like Charles & Keith, Pedro, Burtons, Birkenstock, MAC and Bobbi Brown, as well as those targeted for the mass market. One thing you won’t have a problem finding here is food – there are loads of restaurants, cafes and eateries from the lower ground right up to the top floor.

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A new addition since my last visit: a giant lion sculpture made from metal!

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What I like about Sunway Velocity? I feel like it genuinely promotes arts and culture through the inclusion of pieces like the above, alongside murals, installations and creative art works throughout. Makes the mall more aesthetically pleasing + more of a destination rather than just a place for pure shopping.

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Lunch time! Had pork noodles at Sam Kan Chong, located within the mall’s Food Street, a food court-like establishment on the 4th floor.

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Noodles a tad too soft, but portions were generous. Pork ‘balls’ were springy, the sausages were nicely spiced with five spice powder.

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So good I ordered a separate plate 😀

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Time to burn off the calories! We ventured up to the top floor, known as ‘Commune’. Boasting several cafes and creative tenants selling artisan goods, the space had a refreshingly open layout. The artsy element was even more pronounced here, with some shops sporting an ‘unfinished’, rustic look featuring boarded up windows and peeling paint.

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A shop selling clothing, bags and socks.

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As you stroll through the area, look out for various quirky touches, such as the creative murals and colourful carnival flags interspersed with exposed piping on the ceiling. Aside from cafes, there is also a vintage record shop here for collectors and enthusiasts.

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Stopped by to look at projects done by some Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman architecture students, whereby they had to design an archway for the mall.

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Reminded me of my own college days doing projects lol

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Another mural on tiles, done on the side of a ramen place

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Cute Japanese icons

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Last but not least, we went to Muji, saw this and couldn’t pass up the chance to take a photo lol.

There are plenty of other things to do at the mall, especially if you have kids: indoor playgrounds, a Lego workshop place for children, a small indoor ice-skating rink. All in all a great place to hangout at over the weekend – I just wish it wasn’t so far away from my house. 😀

SUNWAY VELOCITY MALL 

Lingkaran SV, Sunway Velocity, Jalan Cheras, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

 

Largest Pre-Loved Item Store in Malaysia @ Jalan Jalan Japan, One City USJ

The saying goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and at One City USJ, old stuff that’s still in good condition gets a second lease of life at Jalan Jalan Japan ! S and I were at the mall for a movie when we stumbled across this massive warehouse-like store, which carries everything from men’s/women’s clothing to shoes, bags, toys, books, sports equipment, strollers, and more. It’s heaven for bargain hunters!

 

They even have this ‘Tapau’ (takeaway) event where they give you a basket and you stuff as much as you can in it for just RM10 (USD2.30) ! 

On the ground floor is where there are racks upon racks of women’s clothing, which are sorted according to category such as T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, formal wear, skirts, etc. Most of the clothes are from no-name brands from Japan (hence the store’s name of Jalan Jalan Japan!). While most ARE still in good condition, some of the items do look rather old and faded. There are a few quirky-looking gems though (no chance of bumping into someone else wearing these on the street, I bet!) so spend time looking through them and I’m sure the hunt will be worth it. 🙂 If all else fails, the t-shirts are good and cheap for home wear. 😛 They have gowns, evening dresses and even kimonos that look brand new, since these items are rarely worn twice.

Three items for only RM5! (USD1.15)

LOADS of clothes.

Collectibles and toys are housed in glass cases, so if you’d like to look at them you have to ask a staff member to get it out for you. These weren’t as cheap, with some costing a few hundred ringgit! There was also another section with pre-loved branded items such as Gucci handbags, Hermes handkerchiefs, etc. But looking at the overall warehouse-like setting and the presentation, I wouldn’t bet on their authenticity (although they were really pricey).

Stuffed toy aisle.

Some cute and quirky-looking characters.

A section selling books/manga collections; most were in Chinese or Japanese.

On the mezzanine floor, loads of strollers. These were all still in good condition. Which makes sense, since people only use them for a few years anyway. If you’re looking to buy cheap strollers, this is a good place!

Shoe section, sorted according to shoe size. A lot of the shoes had their soles peeling and whatnot, but again, if you hunt long enough, you’d probably find a pair that suits you. That or you could take it to a cobblers and have them spruce it up as good as new. Shoes were all less than Rm20, averaging around RM5-15.

I rather liked this pair of high heels and thought to get them for work, but after tottering around in them I realised why the original owner wanted to get rid of it 😛 It wasn’t the best balance and fit – felt like I was pitching forward. That or I just suck at wearing heels.

Now these looked good. They were only RM15! But the downside of shopping at thrift stores like these? There’s only one size T-T 

I think I’d have a better chance getting something at the bag section. I mean, look at this gaudy gold bag – now that’s a fashion statement. And only RM3! 😀 

Diving gear and surfboards. They also sell sports gear (badminton/tennis racquets), golf bags/golf clubs, guitars (although some are missing strings), keyboards and various other paraphernalia.

I think it’s brilliant to have a pre-loved item store, saves money and gives perfectly usable old items a second lease of life. 🙂

JALAN JALAN JAPAN

Level 1A, Block A, Sky Park @ One City, Jalan USJ 25/1A, 47650, Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

facebook.com/JalanJalanJapan.Malaysia