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.
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.
I’m a creature of habit, so of course…
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.
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.
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
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A breather from updating about Taiwan! Got a call from C over the weekend while I was still recuperating from staying up late gaming:
C: Ey woman, can help me paint my house?
C: Paint my house.
Me: Okay sure.
I find it rather funny that other girls usually ask their girlfriends to go out shopping on a weekend. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. 😀
C came to pick me up and we had a quick breakfast at a food court nearby. Dish of the day: curry chee cheong fun, ie flat rice noodles swimming in a spicy broth and topped with various fried/boiled items such as fishball, meatball, pig’s skin and fried beancurd.
Got to the apartment, which she rents out. She was planning to rent it out to a new set of tenants so we had to clean up the mess left behind by the previous ones – dirty walls with handprints, double sided sticky tape, nails, etc. My ‘job’ was to help repaint the rooms with a nice fresh coat of white. Sounds easier than it looks, but it was a good workout! Took us a few hours, the prospective tenants came to have a look; then we sat around watching some Chinese DVD on the TV. By then it was already 6pm so we went to hunt for food.
Ended up going for Japanese at Sushi Zanmai in IOI Mall, Puchong. This is my second visit here, and like before, business seemed to be booming, with a queue of patrons waiting to be seated. We got seats fairly quick. C ordered garlic fried rice, which was fragrant but rather tasteless. Like many Malaysians, she peppered it with a mad amount of wasabi lol.
I was in the mood for some cold noodles; so went for the tempura soba. A popular summer dish, these buckwheat noodles are bouncy with an al-dente texture, usually served with a small bowl of soy sauce broth.
This is how you eat it: pour in the spring onion/shredded daikon into your soysauce-y broth, grab some noodles, dunk them in, and slurp them from the bowl. Apparently you are also supposed to slurp all of the strands in one go, and make a loud noise while you’re at it. It’s ‘polite’. 😀 Culture is a strange (and fascinating) thing.
For the finale, we had a Sukiyaki (hotpot) to share. The sweet broth was loaded with vegetables, mushrooms and tofu. We waited for it to boil before adding in the thin slices of beef.
Fresh egg is whipped and used for ‘dipping’. Some might find the idea of eating raw egg with cooked meat weird, but trust me, it’s awesome. The egg gives it a silky smooth texture, and also helps in ‘cooling’ down the piping hot meat.
The meat was just the right thickness to cook quickly, and was well marinated: flavourful, juicy and tender on its own. Possibly one of the better hotpots out there. Although, for someone used to free flow, the few pieces of beef weren’t enough 😛
G18A, IOI Mall,
Batu 9 Jalan Puchong,
Bandar Puchong Jaya,
47170 Puchong, Selangor.
Business hours: 10am – 10pm (daily)
Previous blog post: Here
Update: This branch is permanently closed.
One of my fondest childhood memories is that of shopping at IOI Mall, which was opened in the year 2000 when Puchong was still a (relatively) small township undergoing development. These days, you can’t even throw a stone without it landing on a mall, but back then, having one in your neighbourhood was a pretty big deal.
IOI Mall is quite old now but it’s still popular with patrons, and they’ve kept it fresh by expanding to a new wing and getting in some good brands. Apart from having the essentials like a cinema, an arcade, a bowling alley, a snooker center, gym and a bookstore, they’ve also recently introduced some new shops.
One of these is Sushi Zanmai, a very popular (locally helmed) Japanese restaurant in Malaysia. It takes up the corner lot which used to be a place called The Little Pantry – a maid-themed cafe where the staff members dressed up as maids – but it didn’t do so well. Business seemed to be booming at Sushi Zanmai though. Malaysians can never get enough of Jap food.
C and I, along with two of her friends, went to check the place out. The interior is spacious and neat, with a conveyor belt pushing out sushi of all colours, shapes and sizes. We sat at the back at a proper dining table, where it was much more private and hidden from view.
I had ramen instead of my usual udon. Noodles were springy with a slight bite, and the clear broth was flavoured with the goodness of mushroom and seaweed. Nothing to complain about here…
As a snack, deep fried shimeji mushrooms. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with a salty, buttery batter. The dish was served with a dollop of Kewpie mayo.
C had cold noodles, which I tried for the first time. I always think noodles should be hot and slurpy, so was pleasantly surprised to find these very refreshing and tasty. Great for hot summers! It came topped with shrimp, roe and sweet egg.
Grilled cheese ebi sushi. Shrimps were fresh, rice was compacted well.
Soft shell crab temaki had a generous piece stuffed into it. Some places have like a thin leg and try to pass it off on you lol.
Assorted sushi platter with tamago (egg), inari (sweet beancurd) and octopus.
Prices at Sushi Zanmai are pricier than joints like Sushi King or Sakae Sushi, but the quality of the food and environment is good enough to pay a bit extra.
G18A, IOI Mall, Batu 9 Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47170 Puchong, Selangor.
Business hours: 10am – 10pm (daily)