June 18, 2018
As Johor Bahru's largest mall, it's no surprise that Paradigm Mall boasts a staggering diversity of eateries. With no fewer than 86 food and beverage venues open here right now, this mall is well worth a day-trip for dining enthusiasts - which is exactly what we experienced, munching our way through Malaysian rice platters and Hawaiian poke bowls to Japanese soft-serves and much more.
Here's a small sampling of the delicious surprises at Paradigm Mall JB, many of which can only currently be found in Johor.
Outfitted with murals of chickens and birds, it's easy to figure out what Gokako's speciality is. Fusing Malaysian and Western cuisine, this new restaurant creates unconventional concoctions like the Gokako Mini Burger, a sampling platter of three beautiful, tiny burgers, with three kinds of sauces - original, sambal and gula Melaka. Borrowing inspiration from the Italians, the Zicaza is a pizza with a local twist, sweet and flaky with coconut and gula Melaka. Do also try the chicken or quail dishes, like the Nasi Lemak Burung Puyuh.
The mall's second-floor bridge houses Nyonya Leaf's premiere outlet, looking like it came straight from Penang's past. Nasi Lemak Pandan Rendang Chicken and Cucur Udang are a few of the many Peranakan dishes here. Take a break and indulge in some kuih-muih, or sip fine white coffee brought in from Ipoh.
Yokosuka Curry House
This modest kiosk that serves Japanese-inspired dishes that are big on flavour. Check out the mighty Hammer of Thor Curry Rice, with its massive crispy deep-fried chicken protruding right out of a mountain of rice, bathed in Yokosuka's own blend of curry. There are also beef, duck, fish and seafood options for various curry rice or noodle dishes.
Japanese desserts include the delightfully jelly-like Mizu Shingen Mochi, a moderately sweet Japanese raindrop cake that's very fun to poke and prod.
Kuu by Tea Garden
Kuu by Tea Garden is the place to go for your fix of Chinese Malaysian cuisine. Over a dozen meals are available, such as the thick Lou Shu Fan and a Hainanese Chicken that's light and delicately balanced. Sip some signature Kuu Coffee on the side, the brand's own coffee brew that's layered with cheese, or slurp on the Cendol beverage.
Health & Fitness Poke Bowl
This grab-and-go healthy-eating kiosk brings a unique twist to Hawaiian poke bowls. Unlike most poke bowl places in Malaysia, Health & Fitness offers an extensive variety of proteins: salmon, chicken, beef, prawn, turkey breast or organic tofu. Mix your choice together from a pool of nine bases and 26 sides.
Signature preset bowls include the Teriyaki Surf & Turf (chicken, prawn, cucumber, purple cabbage, pineapple, whole grain rice and sweet teriyaki). Hearty portions and a customisable menu makes this the perfect choice for gym enthusiasts.
Batu Sembilan corners the quick, affordable and convenient market, with its array of signature rice and noodle dishes that include the likes of Kampung Fried Rice, Nasi Lemak, and Thin Noodles. There's also toast, hard-boiled eggs, rojak, otak-otak, and waffles, complemented by Malaysian drinks like the Three Layer Coffee, Three Layer Tea, Neslo, Milo Dinosaur and more. It's a simple place, for simple times with your favourite people.
Arashi Shabu Shabu
Johor favourite Arashi Shabu Shabu fashions a delicious hodgepodge of hotpot specialities. Take your pick of pork, chicken, salmon, barramundi, meat and toss it all in, or have some cooked dishes like bibimbap and teppanyaki. A place to gather with friends and family.
Japanese cuisine chain Kinsahi opens its fifth Johor Bahru outlet in Paradigm Mall; it has made a splash in the past with its playful Sashimi Ramen, which could pair well with an evening beer. Besides the ramen, plenty of your Japanese favourites can be found here, like Japanese Curry Rice, Karaage Chicken, Spicy Teriyaki Gyudon and more.
Customers here are seated in a beautifully sleek black space, situated next to the open kitchen of this ramen joint. Some of the tonkotsu ramen are inspired directly by the cookbook of Hakata prefecture in Fukuoka, with a pork bone broth that's boiled for more than 10 hours. You can also find char-grilled meat, rice bowls, gyoza and more.
Stone Angel might be heaven-sent for carnivores, promising pleasurable proteins served on a patented stone grill. Main courses include rib-eye steaks, chicken, and smoked duck. Or go for a smaller but still complete meal of pasta and rice dishes.
AWA Mee Bar
AWA Mee Bar's first-ever outlet take its cues from dipping ramen, with the noodles and the soup (which has been double-boiled for four hours) served separately. Choose between spicy or non-spicy noodles, take your selection of toppings (pork, vegetables, seafood), and dip away!
What was originally a humble stall has now found a home as a full-fledged restaurant in Paradigm Mall. Super Laksa specialises in authentic Penang laksa, but Curry Chicken Rice and Nasi Lemak, as well as Nuggets and Fries if you're just peckish, can also be found here.
Bao Zhan is Johor Bahru's largest steamed bun and dim sum store, so it makes sense it shows up in the city's largest mall. Enjoy the flagship Char Siu Bun, Siu Mai, Glutinous Rice right at the store, or buy the prepackaged buns and have them at home.
D'Shanghai is popular for Soup Dumplings, Crispy Deep-Fried Durian, Steamed Rice Rolls and Chee Cheong Fun, as well as an impressive array of dim sum that kept the restaurant fairly busy even when we visited at 4pm on a working weekday.
Isaac Toast & Coffee
Isaac Toast & Coffee is one of South Korea's most popular toast chains, with over 700 outlets in Korea alone. The one in Paradigm Mall carries six types of sandwiches, with no pork or lard. Turkey Ham Cheese Special, Chicken Bacon Cheese Special, Pizza (turkey ham), Potato Double Cheese, Hot Chicken MVP (chicken patty) and Shrimp MVP all prove thick and filling. They also serve a range of the Korean Ade, a sweetened fruit drink.
Mori Japanese Bakery
A bakery that's brimming with freshly baked buns, comprising about 20 varieties, such as bestsellers Double Cheese and Raisin Nama Cheese. Top tip: You'll know when they have a promotion running, as their announcement broadcast can be heard on a loop from nearby.
Dolce Story is a thrill to not only taste, but to just be at, as you get to watch them work on preparing pan-fried ice cream, hearing the clacking of the utensils, then seeing the ice cream being pried into rolls. The signature flavour is the Soursop pan-fried ice cream, served as a parfait with a variety of toppings. If you're old-school, there's also hand-scooped ice cream to go around, with the latest flavour being the King of Fruits, D24 Durian Ice Cream.
Emack & Bolio's
American brand Emack & Bolio's debuts in Malaysia with its cones overflowing, offering no fewer than 31 flavours. We especially like the ice cream cones, with openings that have been filled with various cereals that add a lot more flavour and crunch to what's typically just an ice cream holder. The brands used in these cereal cones include Fruity Pebbles, Froot Loops and Coco Pops.
Other desserts here include brownies and pretzels, plus a humongous Pizza Ice Cream that we're intrigued by, meant for parties of 12 people.
What makes churros fabulous? At Fabulous Churros, the answer lies in the abundance of flavours and topping possibilities. There are four interesting flavours of churros: original, jackfruit, pandan, purple sweet potato. Plus, four types of sauce: cheese, dark chocolate, salted caramel, durian. All made on the spot, they can be consumed with Hokkaido milk soft-serve for a pleasant warm/cold combination, without being overpoweringly sweet, for a lovely break-time indulgence.
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