If you cringe at the thought of Subang and the number of students swarming the area (by area, we mean SS15), just know that the small town offers more than its share of gimmicky dining establishments. Here’s a cheat sheet on what to do and places to eat.
RECOMMENDED: Sunway area guide
Best restaurants in Subang
Well Cook Gourmet
The fishy assam laksa takes an unusual route at Restoran Well Cook Gourmet. Penangite owner Chin Gok Ton fries thick laksa noodles with a spice paste of blue ginger, belacan and chilli, complete with onion and pineapple garnishing. The recognisable tang and piquancy of assam laksa remain, but combined with a clever smokiness from the wok-tossing, like a cross between Penang assam laksa and char kway teow. To amp up the novelty factor, also try the claypot curry laksa. As featured in Time Out KL's 101 things to do in KL.
One of 2014’s more promising restaurants so far steers clear of café clichés – no sub-par sandwiches, carbonara or heaven forbid, red velvet cake. Owner and chef Syafiq Zane introduces dishes like spinach risotto with sous vide chicken, roasted potato gnocchi with mushrooms, and five-hour braised short ribs. (All pastas are made fresh on-site.) Syafiq spent six years in the US – he worked in the food industry to hone French cooking techniques and even squeezed in an internship at three-Michelin starred Jean Georges in New York City. Chances are, he’s going places.
Best cafés in Subang
Tucked away in a quiet corner of SS17, Analog KL is one of Subang’s best-kept secrets. The menu at this cosy neighbourhood café is stripped down, but it works – toasties (with house-made sourdough), waffles (served with honey and French butter) and bagels, all which go well with their filtered coffee and cold brews. At the coffee counter, Afiq (formerly of Whisk and Thursdvys) experiments with a selection of small batch coffee from boutique roasters (Tokyo-based Fuglen, Dukes Coffee from Melbourne, The Roast Things) on rotation.
Run by husband-and-wife team Kato-san and Yuko-san, this cosy café has been keeping Japanese expats in Subang Jaya well caffeinated since 2008. You’ll see him brewing potent cups of coffee from a siphon brewer behind the wide bar counter (ask for their signature iced coffee). From roasting beans over charcoal to organic breads (the honey toast by Yuko-san is a game changer) baked in the tiny kitchen, this Japanese café definitely merits a trip to Subang Jaya. For brunch, we love the comforting home-style curry rice at Haikara. Pair it with a juicy beef hamburg (also known as hambagu), pick the level of spiciness (on a scale of one to ten), and top it off with a creamy cheese omelette. For sides, Haikara also does Nagoya-style chicken wings, roasted edamame, fluffy toast with matcha jam and chicken katsu sandwiches. While the food here may not be artfully plated on wooden boards, it more than makes up for it with taste. On weekdays, if you buy a cup of coffee, get free toast and scrambled eggs for free.
The raw, rough aesthetic of greyskymorning – in its mix of modern minimalist materials, especially exposed bricks, glass doors and windows as well as metal and wood surfaces – is as much a draw to Instagrammers as the shafts of sunlight streaming down: light, we all know, is everything in pure photography. A chandelier hangs from the high ceilings, delicate flowers stand in bottles atop dark, dramatic wood and the big open space, coupled with the calm, is picture-perfect. Also picture-perfect are its coffee and cakes – the roast, by Three Little Birds, is different each day, and we recommend the chocolate chip and Nutella cake.
Located right next to Main Place mall in USJ, cosy neighbourhood café AM/PM is where residents of USJ and Putra Heights go for coffee and cakes. The menu consists of mostly western dishes like pasta (try the angel hair in beef broth), waffles, sandwiches and more. Try the tau fu fah cheesecake, sourced from Project Cake Therapy.
Best places for desserts and snacks in Subang
Ice cream factory on weekdays, scoop shop on weekends. After nearly two years of supplying their cult favourite ice cream to cafés around town, Fatbaby finally has a place to call their own, a few steps away from Grafa in SS15. For now Fatbaby is open on weekends only, but founder Hui Ming assures us that they will eventually be open on weekdays. We visited them on a Saturday, dropping in just after they opened at 2pm. Cheery baby blue walls combined with efficient staff who offer you ice cream samples at every turn make a great recipe indeed. The ice cream menu rotates on a weekly basis, but we hope that the Madagascar vanilla bean, Earl Grey and salted caramel are here to stay. If you come with a group of friends, order Get Stuffed (RM38), where four scoops of ice cream are sandwiched between two waffles, and topped with banana slices and another scoop of ice cream. In a lavish final touch, it’s also drizzled with Fatbaby’s signature salted caramel sauce. Wash down the ice cream with juice by Smooshies. As the scoop shop only opens on weekends, you’ll find a mix of college kids, families, and the odd expat or two quickly filling up the place, so lingering for too long isn’t an option. Be sure to check Fatbaby’s Facebook page during the week to keep updated on the coming weekend’s flavours and new experiments (on our visit, it was the ice cream sandwich).
Think of a savoury and slightly spicy doughnut, and you’ve got yourself a vadai. The vadai stall, sandwiched between the cendol and the rojak stalls, more than holds its own; the crunchier masala vadai and the softer uluntu vadai flies off the wok as fast as the vadai man fries them. Tip: have it with whole green cili padi.
Located next to Inti College, this owl-themed café serves Korean shaved ice (bingsu) in a variety of flavours including daring ones such as the Yogurt and Fruits bingsu, topped with diced watermelon, strawberry, mango, pineapple, blueberry, grapes and house-made dragon fruit syrup. The café is also the stockist for Marley Coffee from Jamaica.
Bungeoppang, the Korean carp-shaped waffle snack with red bean filling, is essentially South Korea’s answer to the Japanese taiyaki. South Korean chain Aboong (derived from ‘bungeoppang’) took things a step further by serving yoghurt soft serve in a fish-shaped waffle, which acts as a cone. If you’ve always wanted to have waffles with ice cream on the go, Aboong is your answer. The waffle (slightly crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside) is made to order, with a dollop of either red bean, custard cream or Nutella as the base, then filled with the yoghurt soft serve of your choice (we had red bean and the seasonal mango flavour) for a surprisingly delicious package. Toppings include Nestum flakes, chocolate drizzle and mixed fruit skewers dipped in chocolate fondue.
Inside Scoop churns out some of the best ice cream in the city. Owner and in-house ice cream churner Shiew Li uses gelato techniques to achieve full-bodied consistency and concentration of flavour, best sampled in a scoop of the Valrhona chocolate, durian or the naturally green pistachio. Whether you have your ice cream on a freshly baked waffle cone or slightly melted on a warm, buttery waffle, Inside Scoop provides momentary joy for the restless and the overworked.
Best shops in Subang
Teenage Head Records
Owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team of Radzi Jasni and Linda Hat, the cosy, small storefront leans towards more alternative, contemporary stuff: Lots of grunge, punk and rock’n’roll the likes of Haim, Suede and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, in addition to ambient and electronic, R&B as well as local and regional releases. Bonus: They throw the occasional in-store gig.
Wheel Love Skateshop
Tricked out with all forms of inline skates, blades, bikes and skateboards, Wheel Love equips you with everything you need to survive KL’s harshest streets. You’ve got only one wheel? They love unicyclists too. If Subang's too far away from you, get your fix at their KL outlet at The Row.
Two words: Asian fit. Friends and founders Hau and Hoong’s Pott Glasses have discovered that there is a real, practical need for glasses that fit Asian features better – we have higher cheekbones, lower nose bridges and wider faces than Caucasians, for whom most Western eyewear brands are designed for. The Malaysian-made label carries dozens of designs, in different colours and styles from RM265 a pair – including clubmasters, oxfords and wire-rim glasses. If you can’t come to Pott Glasses, Pott Glasses will come to you: the boys have a door-to-door try-on service, so you can select up to 16 pairs and they’ll bring the glasses to you to try on. As a bonus, for every pair of glasses sold, they donate one to those in need.
Amplitude is first and foremost a music store, even before the existence of the small barbershop space decked with music paraphernalia. Started a few years ago by Jon Lim, the store first began selling musical instruments before expanding to a music academy and, just two months ago, a barbershop. The barbershop is headed by Lex Low, who was trained under Toni & Guy and has other female-oriented salons. For Amplitude however, he wanted a vibe that's chiefly rockabilly-inspired (like old American barbershops). For one thing, there's music. And the barbers here are stylish enough that you would feel at ease about letting them take care of your locks. But to dismiss Amplitude as just another hip barbershop would be wrong. They're quite serious about their craft – Lex and fellow barber Kevin Tan even make their own pomades. Lex's pomade is the water-based LeQuiff, while Kevin's is the newly-launched Mentega pomade.The combination of a music store, academy and barbershop might seem odd to some but all three sections have common goals – they all play their part in giving back to the community. The barbershop guys sometimes go on their own excursions around KL to give the underprivileged free haircuts. Lex also volunteers at Dignity for Children to teach kids the basics of hairdressing. As for Jon and the music side of things, they give out musical instruments and teach music to those in need, including orphanages and people from orang asli settlements. Jon is currently finalising t
This independent bookstore in The Summit has a collection like no other as owner and merchandising manager, Leon Ngai, carefully selects the books himself. They are brand new, but the prices are marked down to encourage young adults to buy more books and cultivate a reading habit. The genres are vast, spanning poetry, adult romance, fantasy and more. For special editions and hardcovers, head to the shelf next to the cashier – we spotted Charles Bukowski.
I Am Lejen
Lejen Press's bookshop – and boutique, as it carries hoodies and T-shirts – brims with Malay literature, fiction or otherwise, by local independent presses. Your afternoon book-browsing will include titles by Lejen Press (of ‘Awek Chuck Taylor’ fame and ‘Rosmoh: Perempuan Puaka’ controversy, as well as reprints of A Samad Said’s ‘Salina’ and ‘Langit Petang’), and also books by big names Buku Fixi, DuBook Press and Sang Freud Press, along with smaller publishers Obscura Malaysia and Poket Press.
Best things to do in Subang
You can’t miss da:mén – with a name that literally translates to ‘big doors’ in Mandarin, USJ’s da:mén boasts a big red gateway entrance, complete with cymbals and lanterns. Plus, it’s located along Jalan Kewajipan in Subang Jaya, one of the busiest main roads in the area. Some figures: six-storey, 280 retail outlets, 420,000 sq ft. Every floor offers a specific shopping experience – the 10,000 sq ft Beauty Queendom, for example, was designed for all your beauty needs and is anchored by SaSa Zensation in collaboration with A Cut Above and Oriental Spa, housing brands such as Beautime, Bloop, Hanna & Kent, Kasumi Beauty and Wunderbath. da:mén has some choice dining fare too. AM-PM has day-to-night dining, with outlets open from 10am until late at night (as in, beyond 10pm); AKIBA is a Japanese food street concept restaurant located on the fourth floor; and there’s also The Canteen, a cashless concept food hall with 12 food stalls and themed seating areas. Other dining options include Grand Harbour Restaurant, Grandmama’s, Morganfields, Tonkatsu, Sangkaya, Sukiya, Tea Press, and many more. Also, check out PasarBella, Singapore’s artisan concept marketplace. If not, there’s always the ever-reliable Jaya Grocer at the lower ground floor.
Located in Subang's SS18, RUANG is a new modern event space for rent where you can host just about anything from fashion shows and product launches to gigs, training sessions, meetings and more. There are two sections to RUANG – one is decked out in alternating white-washed and wood-panelled walls, parquet floor and black frame windows, while the other has a more rustic design of exposed brick walls, cement floor and hanging light bulbs. Depending on the ambience you prefer, tables and chairs and the catering service can be set up in one space, saving the other for fun and games.
Empire Shopping Gallery
Having 600,000 sq ft of retail space, Empire has six floors worth of shops for mall-goers to explore under its clear domed roof and makes no false claims when it declares that it has something for everyone. Upscale department store Tangs offers tasteful selections of menswear, women’s fashion, streetwear, home accessories and travel necessities. Fitness First Platinum differs from its counterparts by a 22-inch infinity pool (the first of its kind in Malaysia) and is also equipped with a purpose built cycle studio with the latest gym bikes. LEX (Lifestyle Experiential Centre) is a holistic electronic retail centre that lets customers spiral down a five-storey high slide while experiencing a state-of-the-art audio system. There is also a 'capsulated acoustic space' called the CineBox and the Re:LeX Cafe, a high-speed broadband eatery. Elsewhere, shoppers can stock up their food shelves at the locally-owned Jaya Grocer. There is a whole floor dedicated to kids with children’s fashion, education and entertainment outlets such as Dance Space, My Favourite Art House, Plaster Fun House, and Toys R Us. Empire goes a step further by providing two nursing rooms complete with changing and feeding facilities and play area. There are also changing stations at the female restrooms and also baby strollers available upon entrance.
Subang Parade’s recent refurbishment earned a Silver Award from ICSC Asia Pacific in the category of Development and Design so hop on over to see what the fuss is all about. It also has a weekend bazaar called the Trinket Trail going on every Saturday (11am – 9pm) and Sunday (11am – 6pm) on the first floor. For parents looking to occupy the kids while they shop, there is TumbleTots, a UK-based centre for physical play programmes located on the same floor.
From the ashes of an abandoned construction eyesore rises Main Place, the newest residence mall this side of Subang. Opened in early 2014, the management has procured a good mix of retail as well as food and beverage outlets. A neighbourhood mall with a manageable crowd, Jaya Grocer, Cotton On, Uniqlo and Sushi Zanmai make up some of the bigger names in the long list of retail tenants. Meanwhile, harried parents are able to drop off their kids at Kizsports & Gym, Blokspace and Molly Fantasy. The upcoming MRT line is purported to be linked to the mall.
See more area guides
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