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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! 🙂

November Eats – West St Cafe PJ 8 &Fish N Co Main Place

For lunch on weekdays, I usually walk 10minutes to the shops to get a cheap mixed rice meal. But once in awhile, when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll spend a little more on something nice at West St Cafe, which is just downstairs from my office building. They used to serve only coffee and snacks, but have recently introduced lunch as well. The menu changes everyday. On this particular visit, it was Couscous with Salad and Chicken.

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The serving was large and colourfully presented.

This is gonna sound funny but I have never tried couscous before. I always thought it was some type of rice, but it’s actually steamed semolina. I liked it though – slightly mushy, grainy, with lots of sweet dates cooked in. The lettuce was bitter for some reason but the flavour of the couscous and the tender, nicely marinated chicken masked it so overall it wasn’t a bad meal.

The lunch set comes with an iced lemon tea drink for RM14.90.

WEST ST CAFE 

L-02-03, PJ8 Jalan Barat
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Phone: +603-7624 5072
Business hours: 8AM-5PM

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Caught up with H over lunch recently. We went to Fish N Co at The Main Place, USJ. The chain has many branches all over Malaysia; serving up seafood dishes like Fish N Chips, grilled calamari, pastas, pizzas and more. Been some time since I had it, but the quality differs from place to place.

I ordered my usual, which is New York Fish and Chips – stuffed with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on the inside. The version here was a little on the oily side, but passable. Still prefer having Fish N Co at 1Utama. 🙂

The upgraded set also comes with drink and Soup of the Day (below).

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FISH N CO (Main Place)
LG-13, Ground Floor, Main Place,
Jalan USJ 21/10, Usj 21,
47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Business hours (Daily) 10AM-10PM

I guess it’ll be a busy two weeks, lots of travelling. Watch this space for more updates ! 🙂

New Shopping Mall in Town – USJ Da:Men

We heard that there’s a new mall in the neighbourhood, so the fam and I hopped on to Da: Men in USJ for lunch over the weekend. Many of the shops are still vacant but there are loads of food stalls and beauty parlours selling makeup, cosmetics, designer boutiques and hipster-ish stuff. Foodies and girls will like it here!

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The lower ground floor is an open food court area, with stalls selling mostly snacks and light fare. I liked the designs, they were all cool and hip. (Above) some food ‘trucks’ selling HK-style egg biscuits,  smoothies and toast.

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The Hippie Bus Cafe was charming with its psychedelic murals and cutesy decos.

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After wandering around for a bit, we finally opted for Japanese food from Hayadon. Specialising in cheap but tasty izakaya/udon/don meals, this is their fourth outlet and the only one outside of KL. Bro had the teriyaki chicken don (RM12.90 – ala carte) , which came with a largish piece of sweet basted chicken atop rice and salad.

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I enjoyed my dry spicy chicken and egg udon (RM12.90 – ala carte), which came with a smattering of minced meat, beautifully topped with onsen-cooked egg and seaweed flakes. Poking the egg so that the runny yolk oozed out to coat the wonderfully bouncy udon noodles, this dish reminded me of dry chilli pan mee. The sauce tasted like a cross between spicy tomato and a sloppy joe. It is one of their best sellers and worthy of the title. 🙂

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You can bring food from another stall and sit anywhere. Parents had lu ruo fan (stewed minced chicken rice) from SnackzIt for RM9. It took forever to serve (our Jap food had already arrived even though we ordered later) and even then, the rice was cold and grainy.

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Mum: wtf? RM9? The chicken meat is like pei tai (snot) (lol referring to the small meat portion.

They ended up eating at another food court again afterwards.

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The mall has many floors, but most were dedicated to beauty products like masks, makeup, etc.

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Random decos throughout the mall.

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We made our way to the top floor, where there was another food court. This was also very open with a modern + nostalgic design. Modern because the furniture and walls were minimalist, nostalgic because they had all these old utensils and items as decoration. They give you an access card when you enter and you use that when ordering at the stalls. They’ll swipe it and you pay at the exit.

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Dad had the grilled chicken satay (RM8 – 6pieces): a bit sweet with the baste but otherwise tender and well done.

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Mom’s chicken porridge (RM8.50) came in a generous portion with minced chicken, carrots and crab meat sticks.

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The top floor also has a wishing tree where visitors can hang up their wishes on colourful pieces of paper. 🙂

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I hope to be able to wear a yukata for a festival someday. 🙂

All You Can Eat Korean Buffet – San Nae Deul, One City USJ

Update 2021: This restaurant is permanently closed.

You know what they say about ‘authentic’ restaurants – they’re the ones serving a customer base made up of that particular cuisine’s ethnic group. So when Grace and I walked into San Nae Deul at One City, USJ, we knew we were in for a good K-BBQ experience. On our left and right were Korean customers jabbering away in their mothertongue as they downed soju and beer with their barbecued meats.

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The outlet was spacious and comfy, with wooden chairs and tables each with their own cooking stove. Posters of Korean artists and Korean products abound everywhere. The lady boss is also Korean, but the servers were Indian. We were served by a rather cute looking North Indian guy with really nice honey-coloured eyes. He even understood some Cantonese lol.

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I finally got to catch up with Grace after more than a year. She had been working in Singapore for a couple of years, so it was hard for us to meet. Now that she’s back for good, expect more hangouts 🙂

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We ordered the BBQ Buffet set for RM40+ per person. They served a variety of banchan (side dishes) and the meat was refillable. My eyes widened when the meat came – it was loaded like a mountain on that plate. There was chicken teriyaki, samgyupsal (pork belly), spicy pork belly, lamb, beef. We didn’t even need to refill anything because the portions were so big. Definitely value for money, especially if you’re a big eater. 

For those who don’t want the buffet, you can order individual meat dishes which are quite pricey (RM30 and above), rice, soup or noodle dishes. I’d recommend getting the buffet because there is a variety of stuff to eat and they’re refillable.

20160113_203045-tile   Beef marinated in a sweet sauce.

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So many banchans. Stir-fried long beans, sweet fried anchovies with nuts, potato chunks in a savoury sauce, spicy fish cakes, kimchi and some sort of gourd veggie in chilli sauce.

Guests can opt for rice, but we didn’t because there seemed to be a lot of food on the table already.

They also give you two bowls of gochujang and fragrant sesame oil, which is used for the meat dipping.

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Banchans were okay.. I don’t eat kimchi (why am I in a Korean resto?), but the rest were decent. Enjoyed the crispy and crunchy anchovies + nuts, even though they were a tad too sweet. Potatoes were boiled well, and the fish cakes were good too.

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All of that would have been enough, but they also dished out a stir-fried glass noodle dish and we didn’t know how to say no .__. This was very good, although the cooking was uneven ie the noodes on the outside were cold (?) while the inside was piping hot. The noodles were bouncy and springy, flavoured well with soy sauce, onions, carrot slices and mushroom.

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Our server cooking the meat for us on the built in stove. It is made in such a way that the smoke doesn’t get into your clothes (which is one of the downsides of eating bbq.. you always leave the place smelling like charred meat).

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The worst part is waiting.. when you’re practically salivating from the smells and sight of cooking meat 🙂

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I reallly liked their chicken, which had a miso flavour to it. Some parts of the pork was overdone and tasteless, but others were marinated well, especially the pork belly which had a nice layering of fat and lean meat. How we eat is by adding a piece of garlic, some gochujang, sesame oil and then wrapping the whole piece in a piece of lettuce before popping it into your mouth. That’s a great way to get me to eat my greens 😛

The bill came up to RM88 for the two of us, which I think is reasonable considering the portions. For big eaters, come here to get a great value for your money!

SAN NAE DEUL 

SkyPark Lot no.B-GF-06, Ground Floor, One City, USJ 25, Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Tel:016-315-7239

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Just like old times. ❤

This year marks our 12th year of friendship, and I hope, many more to come. 🙂

The Sheperdoo, One City USJ

Update: This branch is permanently closed.

I met up with my ex-colleague N for dinner recently. After walking a good half hour around One City in USJ, mulling over a very first world problem (what to eat), we stopped at a cosy-looking place called The Sheperdoo. 

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A quick glance at the menu revealed that they served Mexican /Latin American food such as nachos, burritos, Tex-Mex burgers, and the like. I was excited because it’s hard to find Mexican restaurants around the Klang Valley other than Chilli’s – there are way more Japanese/Korean/whatever else. But N disagreed.

“It’s easy to find Mexican food. It’s hard to find good Mexican food,” he corrected. Hmm.

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Even on a Sunday, it was pretty empty (but then again, One City is a dead mall so). The resto was blasting loud club music, which was not very conducive for conversations. We found a relatively quiet spot separated by wooden dividers and tucked in.

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I forgot the exact name of the dish, but it was an appetiser. The mushroom and sweet onion crepes (RM15) was topped with a dollop of fresh tomato salsa and a dash of sour, tangy balsamic vinegar. The crepes were warm and fluffy when they arrived at our table, and the mushrooms/onions came together for a crunchy/chewy texture interspersed with fresh, bouncy flavours. Loved it. My only regret is that the portion was small lol.

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Buffalo Wings (Rm16) was super spicy. Had to ‘dilute’ the flavour with cold ranch dressing. It wasn’t bad though, just a tad too salty. It wasn’t value for money because there were only three pieces broken into six.

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N had Chicken Quesadilla. The portion was huge – four slabs of chicken and vege-filled tortillas with a side of deep fried spiced potato strips and tomato salsa. Now everyone who knows me knows I don’t fancy veges, so the only way to get me to eat any greens is to wrap it up in something – tortillas, lumpias, burritos, popiahs, etc. Idk, it just feels really fun to eat wrapped items; like you’re giving presents to your tummy 🙂

The quesadilla was awesome. The meat was spiced well, with a strong black pepper flavour and had juices dripping out of the sides of the fluffy tortilla wrap. The potato strips were oily but oh-so-addictive. I think they seasoned them with cayenne pepper or chilli powder. You can order it as a side, perfect for tapas and drinks.

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Speaking of drinks, I had Tropical Summer (RM14) which was basically mango/orange cordial. It was refreshing and went well with the heavily spiced food items.

So if you’re looking for good Mexican/Latin American food, Sheperdoo is a good choice! Now I know where to go to get my quesadilla fix. 🙂

The Sheperdoo 

A-GF-07, Sky Park, Ground Floor, One City @ USJ 25, Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

Tel: 018 – 656 8828

Opening hours: 1130am – 1am

PS: Their main branch is at Centro Klang. 

Master Room Pub @ One City USJ

Update: This restaurant is permanently closed.

One City USJ opened a few years ago, but it never really took off : probably coz most of the Subang crowd flocked to the much nearer, more neighbourhood-oriented The Main Place. Despite having an interesting design, especially at the rooftop’s Skypark, the place is quite dead, even on weekend nights.

No and I were here to catch Inside Out and we had some time before the film, so dinner was at Master Room Pub. 

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The interior had dart machines, small cocktail tables and a bar. The main dining area is out on a patio, with palm tree decor and low lights. The view is nice and it was a breezy night: perfect for dinner and drinks. But as you can see, it was quiet even on a Friday. I wonder how the businesses here survive…

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No had butter prawn spaghetti, and I had crispy, battered squid with Thai chilli dip. Ordered a bowl of rice to go with it. The batter was a bit too hard, but the squid was fresh, springy and well-flavoured.

The restaurant gave us complimentary water. Service was relatively fast, but the servers were mostly foreign nationals and didn’t seem to understand English that well (?)

They actually have a lot of other dishes, but some were not available. It’s still a nice place to chill if you want a quiet place for beer and food with friends.

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View of Subang from patio.

Master Room
Sky Park, One City, Jalan USJ 25/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor
Business hours: 4pm-2am, daily
Tel: 03-5115 0189

Skypark has an interesting glass-floor feature: it’s giddy to look at since the building is more than 10 floors high!