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Eco Shop, Main Place Mall USJ : Everything For RM2.10

Dollar stores, also known as variety shops, are places that sell inexpensive household products for cheap, usually from lesser known brands.

In Malaysia, we have RM2 shops, which have risen in popularity in recent years. Consumers today are much more budget-savvy, and don’t mind buying from these shops if it translates to more savings. There are even viral tutorial videos on how to spruce up your garden or living space with RM2 shop items.

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One of the biggest players on the market is Eco Shop, which has over 150 shops nationwide. I recently checked out their outlet at Main Place Mall USJ, and I can see why they’re so popular. The shop has all sorts of products — and the cheap prices mean that the place is a bargain hunter’s dream.

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The store is pretty big and is neatly divided according to category for easy browsing. There’s the food and snack aisle, which carries a mix of well known brands you see in hypermarkets (Marie biscuits, Mamee monster, Bika, etc.) and lesser known, local brands. Some of the packaging is different as well, like with the instant noodles which come in smaller packs of 3 instead of 5. You can also find gardening equipment, kitchenware, hardware, decorative plastic plants, belts and accessories, plastic containers, and much more. I even glimpsed condoms placed discreetly near the checkout counter — I mean, I’m not even sure how much those would cost on the regular, but RM2.10 sounds pretty affordable to me (?)

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I’m okay with buying most of the items in the store, but probably not cosmetics. These are made in China and at just RM2.10, I have to wonder what they put it them to keep the price low. Not going to put these on my face.

I won’t bore you with product pictures, so here’s a video walkthrough on the store:

This took a few hours to put together because I’m noob like that. Like and subscribe! #shamelessplug

If you’re not fussy about brands, and you love bargains, then Eco Shop might be something you want to check out for your household essentials. The quality isn’t bad for the price too. If you’re not keen to go out because of the pandemic (I find Main Place to be pretty quiet though, especially on weekdays), you can also buy their stuff online via Shopee.

ECO SHOP (MAIN PLACE MALL USJ)

2F-16 & 2F-17 Main Place Mall, Usj 21, 47640 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM (daily)

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Sushi Zanmai, Main Place Mall USJ

Back when I worked in PJ, I used to frequent Sushi Zanmai at Jaya Shopping Centre, which was just a 10-minute-drive from my office. I went there so often the server could anticipate my order even before I placed it (one plate of fried mushrooms, one bowl of rice and one portion of chuuka idako. Lol.) Unfortunately, I haven’t been back since transitioning to a fully WFH setup, which means that I haven’t had Sushi Zanmai for… well over a year.

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I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed it until I walked past the Sushi Zanmai outlet at Main Place Mall in USJ recently. Of course, memories of my favourite mushroom-rice-octopus combo came flooding back, and I had to stop by for lunch. It was a weekday afternoon so the place was empty and service was fast.

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The aesthetics are pretty standard across all of their outlets – wooden dividers, lots of beige, booth seating for privacy, plush pleather seats, and an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs in action.

I’m a creature of habit, so of course…

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Did you imagine I’d order anything else? lol

For some reason, the chuuka idako (baby octopus) came in a bigger portion than I remembered. Not that I’m complaining. The seafood was well marinated in a savoury sauce that brought out its natural sweetness, enhanced with a sprinkling of sesame and served atop a bed of salad.

One great thing about Sushi Zanmai is the consistent quality between outlets; so you get pretty much the same taste from one outlet as you do at any other.

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Not forgetting my favourite fried shimeji mushrooms, served with a small dollop of Japanese-style mayonnaise. The batter was perfectly crispy and salty, but the mushrooms retained their moistness on the inside.

There’s something about eating fluffy white rice with fried items, be they mushrooms or fried chicken wings; perhaps not the healthiest option, but oh-so-satisfying nonetheless.

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To switch things up beyond my usual trinity of orders (also because I haven’t had Japanese food for some time), I ordered kaki furai (fried oysters) and soft shell crab inari. They did not disappoint; the oysters were fresh, nicely battered and not greasy, while the inari and soft shell crab offered a great blend of textures and sweet and savoury flavours. Solid sushi!

Main Place Mall is much closer to where I live, so I guess I’ll be coming here now whenever I crave my Japanese food fix.

Service is friendly and efficient, prices are above average. If you come on weekends there might be a wait.

SUSHI ZANMAI (MAIN PLACE MALL USJ BRANCH)

Lot No.21, Second Floor, The Main Place, Jalan USJ 21/10, Persiaran Kewajipan, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan.

Opening hours: 10AM – 10PM

https://www.supersushi.com.my/mainplace.php

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Walking Tour: Main Place Mall, USJ

Virtual walking tours have been around for some time on Youtube, but I think they really took off during the pandemic, since everyone is stuck wherever we are with no place to go. It’s times like these that make one appreciate the Internet and the amazing connectivity that we have today – you can basically ‘travel’ the world without having to put one foot out the door.

*I have a Youtube channel ! Subscribe if you haven’t already #shamelessplug

I was recently at Main Place Mall USJ, a mid-sized neighbourhood mall in Subang, Selangor that’s part of a mixed development with residential towers. The project was delayed for 15 years before it was finally opened in 2014.

While it isn’t very big, the mall has a convenient, well-stocked grocery, shops selling clothing, home and living items, electronics, plenty of food options, and even spas, a salon and a bookstore. It’s a good option for those living nearby, as it’s quite empty on weekdays, so you don’t have to worry about crowds.

Check out my vid above to see what the place looks like! 🙂

Brunch and Waffles @ The Owls Cafe, One Space, One City USJ

The Owls Cafe has made a name for itself in the Klang Valley, thanks to its signature waffles and brunch offerings. From a humble little cafe in Bukit Jalil, the brand has since expanded to include The New Chapter by The Owls Cafe at the Calvary Convention Centre, Midorie x The Owls Cafe at MYTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, as well as two outlets at The BUNCH PJ and One Space, One City USJ respectively. S and I paid a visit to the latter for Saturday brunch. We were lucky as we got in just before a queue started forming.

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The aesthetics are pretty consistent across their outlets, in that they’re always brightly lit and boast a minimalist look, with clean white/beige furniture and a touch of green. This outlet is smaller than the one at Cavalry, but it also has a high ceiling so it’s less noisy. 

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S had the Nutty Latte, while I went for the Vanilla Latte. Ice cold and perfect for a hot day, milky and not too sweet!

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Every time S and I have gone to The Owls Cafe elsewhere, he orders the same thing – and this time is no exception lol. But as the saying goes, why fix something that isn’t broken? The Morning Daisy is a solid choice for those who want a hearty pick-me-up, and includes a buttered croissant, salad with sesame dressing, scrambled eggs and criss-cut fries. Everything comes together in perfect harmony: the crispy, crunchy potato goodness of the fries, the fluffy eggs with just a dash of salt and pepper for seasoning, the flaky pastry and the refreshing greens.

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Decided to try something different this time and went for the Ultraman Pasta. For those not familiar with Cantonese, Ultraman is known as ‘ham dan chiu yan’ or ‘salted egg superman’ – a moniker that comes from his peculiar egg-like appearance. Anyway, the Ultraman Pasta consists of al-dente pasta coated in a savoury salted egg yolk sauce, served with juicy and sizable chicken karaage, topped off with fried egg. Sinful, but oh-so-worth it.

We could not make anymore room for desserts, but their waffles are really good too. There are two named after the owners of the cafe, Rebecca and David.

Service is nice and friendly. Mains and desserts average around RM18 – RM28.

THE OWLS CAFE @ ONE SPACE ONE CITY USJ 

G.01, G.02 & G.03, Ground Floor One Space @, Jalan USJ 25/1C, One City, 47650 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Opening hours: 11AM – 8PM (daily)

 

 

Our Christmas Party @ Dorsett Grand Subang – BBQ & Steamboat Buffet !

It has become sort of tradition at my company to have a Christmas makan sesh; to mark the hard work we’ve put in throughout the year. This year’s celebration was at Dorsett Grand Subang, where they have an international BBQ Buffet and Steamboat Dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, priced at RM128++ per pax.

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Dorsett is one of the first hotels in Subang (opened in 1981). It’s a five-star hotel and must have once  lived up to the Grand in its name. Today, the interiors feel pretty dated. The coffeehouse, Terazza Brasserie, looks straight out of a 90s film, from the tiles to the seats and deco. It wasn’t unpleasant, though – it felt like a trip down memory lane to back when I was a child, and going to a hotel (for vacations – staycations didn’t exist back then) was a big to-do.

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Malay appetisers – kerabu (salad)

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The centre island had various items for steamboat (or hotpot, if you will) – fish, chicken and beef balls, seafood tofu, beancurd sheets, ham, crabmeat sticks, etc.

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There were two pots boiling at the island, one with clear soup and the other with spicy soup, where you can cook the ingredients you have selected. Unfortunately since there were only two pots, it took forever and there was a queue. Staff members had placed a portable stove and pot at our table, but there was no soup and nobody seemed to be bothered to fill it in, even after we requested. In the end we told them to take it away (for that, they were efficient!).

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Stir-fried dishes and a random vegetable lasagna, which was decent while still hot.

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I was feeling a little disappointed at the quality and selection, but thankfully the BBQ corner swooped in to save the day (or evening). There were two counters outside, one stacked with meat (satay, chicken tenders, chicken wings, sausages, beef, lamb), the other with seafood (whole catfish, crayfish, clams, bamboo clams, scallops, shrimp).

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The offerings were fresh, thankfully. The workers bustled about grilling everyone’s orders. Funny thing: they left the sauce pots on the grill together with the metal spoons in them lmao. No one could ladle anything. I think they eventually took out the spoons.

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Another highlight was the roasted lamb, which was tender, well flavoured and juicy with the right amount of lean and fat. The brown gravy that it came with was also delicious.

I had mostly the grilled items (the good stuff!) – fat, juicy scallops, bamboo clams and lamb meatballs, plus some corn soup and bread.

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Time for dessert! There was a shaved ice counter where you can DIY your own ice kacang, but I went for the chocolate fountain instead, where I could slather my marshmallows and fruits in thick, sweet milk chocolate.

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I liked how they put the desserts in these cabinets rather than the usual spread. Made it easy to miss out though.

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The ice box wasn’t cold enough so the ice cream was a little melty, but I did like the chocolate flavoured one which ran out fast.

All in all it was a decent buffet. Plus points: It’s not crowded like most hotels in the city centre, the BBQ spread is great and has fresh ingredients and the lamb was good. Cons for me would be the lack of variety and facilities, and service can be improved (That being said, the staff at the grill station were friendly and efficient). I also felt that the steamboat items were a little cheap to justify the buffet’s price tag. In conclusion, if you ever consider coming here for dinner, I’d recommend making a beeline for the grill.

TERAZZA BRASSERIE @ DORSETT GRAND SUBANG 

Jalan SS 12/1, Ss 12, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor

Bookings: 

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Review: Fish & Co @ Main Place USJ

Went grocery shopping at Main Place USJ over the weekend, and because it has been awhile since I last had fish and chips – Fish & Co it was for lunch! The seafood restaurant specialises in fish and chips, but they also offer a variety of other Western dishes as well, such as pasta, salads and pizzas.

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Nautical themed decor featuring lots of blue, wood and items like fish-shaped coasters and counters made to look like shipping containers.

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Fish N Co offers several different options under their Fish & Chips From Around the World section, including New York (stuffed with Parmesan cheese and topped with lemon butter sauce), Swiss (mozza-oregano with garlicky lemon butter sauce), Danish, salted egg, Malaysia (fiery sambal sauce), and more. Went with the basic “Best Fish & Chips in Town” and it did not disappoint. Generous portion, nicely battered, soft, flaky fish meat within and not too oily. The tartare sauce it was served with helped to cut through the grease as well. Chips were average.

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Also got a Mediterranean Garden pizza to share. with onion, garlic, oregano and mozzarella cheese. If you like garlic and onions, this would be great, and I liked the thin crust as well.

Prices average from RM20+ onwards for each dish.

FISH N CO (MAIN PLACE) 

LG-13, Lower Ground Floor, Main Place, Jalan USJ 21/10, USJ 21, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Phone: +6 03-8011 4583

Opening hours: 11AM – 10PM

Review: Cor Blimey, SS15 Subang – The Best British Fish N Chips In Town!

Cor Blimey!

That’s a British expression to express surprise – and an apt name for this fantastic chippy in Subang. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the place, and finally decided to drop by for lunch with N over the weekend.

Forget about generic fish and chip joints in the malls, where they serve you soggy, reheated chips, and the fish taste like they’ve been in the freezer for years.

This, my friends, is the real deal. 

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The decor is, no surprise, British-themed: vintage black and white posters, signboards with the names of cities in the UK, warm and cosy wooden decor, tiny Union Jack flags hanging from the ceiling. They even have Mr.Bean cartoons playing on the TV screen.

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The menu is limited, but why would you even come here if you’re not looking to satisfy your fish and chip cravings?

First, choose from four types of fish (Dory, Snapper, Atlantic Cod or Haddock), then a batter (plain, lemon and herb, onion and garlic, chilli lemon) and finally a side (minted mushy peas, baked beans and coleslaw). You can also opt for dipping sauces such as onion gravy, thousand island and chip shop curry sauce.

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The kitchen prepares each dish to order, so expect some waiting, especially during peak hours.

While waiting for my Lilian Gish and Jockeys Whips, there was this interesting survival guide on Cockney slang to keep me occupied.

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Our orders arrived, and we were both impressed by the generous portions – a gigantic piece of fried fish sitting atop a bed of crispy chips. It also came with a huge dollop of tartare sauce.

N had Dory fish with lemon herb batter and a lemon butter sauce.

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My order of dory fish in onion garlic batter, served with a side of baked beans.

I was extremely excited when I saw that they had onion gravy and curry dipping sauce, which I absolutely love. Back in the good ol’ days when I was a student in Sheffield, my housemates and I would always walk out from our dorms to the chippy for supper, and I always drenched each piece with curry dipping sauce. There’s something about it that is so different from the usual Indian curry you get locally – it’s sweeter and creamier, for one. Also less spicy.

Sadly, when I got back to Malaysia, I’ve never seen it served at any fish and chip restaurant. Now I know where to get my fix!

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Did not disappoint! It was just fresh, hot, good food. Gordon would have been proud.

Fish was fried to crispy perfection and did not feel greasy at all; was moist and juicy on the inside. Same went for the thick cut chips. Beans were good, curry sauce was on point. Only thing that could do with improvement was the onion gravy, which was a tad too sweet for me, but all in all, still decent.

Our meal for 2 came up to about RM50+, which is reasonable given their hefty portions. 10/10 would recommend.

Ambience: 8/10 – rustic and cosy

Service: 9/10 – efficient and attentive

FISH N CHIPS: 10/10 BEST BRITISH FISH N CHIPS IN TOWN

COR BLIMEY (SS15 BRANCH)

No. 23, Jalan SS15/4, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Opening hours: 12-3PM, 6-11PM. Closed Mondays.

corblimeymy.com

Food Review: Bali’s Famous Pork Ribs – Naughty Nuri’s @ SS 15 Courtyard, Subang

Anyone who has been to Bali will know about the island’s most famous pork ribs – the Naughty Nuri franchise. Started as a warung by a husband and wife team, the brand slowly cemented its place as the go-to for ribs and drinks with the expatriate community in the area: celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain himself declaring the resto as serving the ‘best Martinis outside of New York’. In 2014, Naughty Nuri made its way across the straits to Kuala Lumpur. Their third and latest outlet is located in SS15 Courtyard, Subang, which I visited with some friends over the weekend. The shop was packed with customers over dinner, but they managed to squeeze us into a corner seat by the verandah, which was cool and breezy. Almost felt like we were at a seaside resto in Bali.. only with trains running on the track going past xD

The interior was warm and homely, with yellow lights (made for terrible pictures though), closely packed wooden tables and chairs as well as chequered pillars and plants. The rustic feel was complemented by porky decor, like pig heads and a giant rotating pig statue hanging from the ceiling.

Bar area.

  

Jo and I each ordered a plate of Nasi Goreng (RM25), not knowing that the portion would be humongous (!) The giant plate of pork fried rice was topped with a beautiful fried egg, its yolk still slightly runny, a side of roast pork, crackers and fried onions. The rice itself was full of wok-hei and mixed with tender slices of pork, pork belly, chilli and onions, although I felt it could use a bit more salt. The side of roast pork had just the right amount of fat and lean, with nice, crackly skin. Couldn’t finish it tho as this was definitely enough for two.

Of course we had to get the house specialty, the bbq glazed pork ribs (RM35) to share. I was expecting a really good dish,what with the hype and all, and was a little disappointed. It was tasty, but not amazing. The sauce was well flavoured, richly coating the ribs, but the meat was not fall off the bone tender and was even a little hard to cut off the bone at times. Decent, but not great.

I know franchises have a way of not living up to their name, but all in all, I’d say the food at Naughty Nuri’s SS15 was good and the prices reasonable; although I wouldn’t line up for it.

NAUGHTY NURI’S (SS15) 

Lot G-08, Ground Floor, SS15 Courtyard., Jalan SS15/4G,, SS15, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Open daily: 11AM – 12AM