I lost (and found) my groceries at Ben’s Independent Grocer!

Missing Groceries

I’ve been shopping at Ben’s Independent Grocer (BIG) in Publika for a few years. It carries a lot of imported fruits, vegetables and dry goods like candy which appeals to me. I remember a lot of my wacky cooking adventures are based on products bought here, like Gordon Ramsay’s duck breast with Madeira jus, tomatillo apple cranberry chutney and parsnip purée, How to Make Stuffed Artichokes and Buttered King Grouper with White Wine Reduction in Bouchees Poissons. I also got our turkey from them two years running – for both our 2013 Christmas dinner and 2014 Christmas dinner.

No, this is not a sponsored post or an “invited review”. I’ve never met the people from BIG – I’m just a customer, like everyone else. I just wanted to highlight a rather interesting experience that happened over the weekend.

BIG Lost Found Maxim

It’s very easy for people (including myself) to slam a brand/store/restaurant when something goes wrong. However, I don’t think enough thanks go to them when something goes right – it’s like the toast falling buttered side down theory, it seems like we’re less inclined to remember the good but never fail to recall the bad.

Maxim Egg Rolls

Anyway, I was at BIG in Publika to check out their Chinese New Year stuff and bought some items made by Maxim (the famous Hong Kong bakery). I love their stuff and the Mahjong pineapple tarts I got last year was a huge hit. I got a metal tin of Mei-Xin Egg Rolls (Classic) and Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille to try out with my better half.

I thought if they were good, I can buy more to bring back to Sibu and stock up over here. The point is that, we wanted to try them first.

CNY Goodies

However, I noticed that the Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille was *missing* when I got home 3 hours later. I think the cashier might have packed it in two different bags and I only brought one back.

I called the number on the receipt and spoke to a guy who identified himself as Fikri, and he said my Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille is there and I could pick it up anytime. I’ve done this before at other hypermarkets (having atrocious short term memory) but never had any success getting it back before – either someone else took it, or worse, apparently the cashier did (at a memorable instance in a local hypermarket chain which I won’t name).

It goes to show how good BIG is and the clientèle they attract that none of these things happened.

BIG Receipt

My missing Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille (RM 49.90) was logged in their log book and they were waiting for me to call. I was unable to pick it up the next day so I sent a photo of the receipt to my better half for her to get it on my behalf.

She didn’t need it at all – the lady at the counter just picked up another Mei-Xin Almond Mille-feuille from the large display they have there and she signed off the log book and I got it back at night.

BIG at Publika is my favorite place to shop, not just coz of good incidents like these but due to the overall customer experience. It’s the reason why I only shop at Coles when I was studying in Australia – they have a great policy where if the cashier scanned a wrong item, the entire bill will be free (not advertised anymore) and you can open a drink in there for a long shop and just scan the empty can at the end.

BIG used to have the same policy about drinking in their store too, but there are signs prohibiting that now. I think the trust system doesn’t work very well when it’s open to everyone so that’s understandable in Malaysia.

Found Groceries

Still, it’s a great place to get groceries and small positive experiences like this makes it all the better. :)

Jaya One

jaya one start

Jaya One is synonymous for great food outlets. It’s what people do when they’re heading down – eat, drink and be merry. I’m not very familiar with the other side of Jaya One (the part where Cold Storage is) until Imm Ai brought us on a tour of the lesser known section of the place.

sri kulai me

I went there with no expectations whatsoever but I was mighty pleased coz I managed to get a lot of stuff done!

jaya one seafood

First off, there is a money changer at the place. I grabbed the Korean Won from my old place and wanted to head to CIMB to change it to RM coz I was running short of cash. However, a massive traffic jam gave me a premonition I would probably have to do it another day (and miss cooking since my credit card is maxed out) so I just drove straight to Jaya One.

jaya one currency

Well, guess what? They have a licensed money changer there! Hot damn!

This was TOTALLY UNPLANNED. It’s real one, not cheat one, and I even have the receipts to prove it. Heh! I got a little less than RM 1,000 for my Korean Won which was enough for me to shop for groceries for my Turkey stew with quail eggs, Portobello mushrooms and apples.

jaya one me

This, my friends, is killing two birds with one stone.

a slice of heaven

Anyway, we were made to feel like VIPs thanks to Imm Ai, Lorraine and Vivian who arranged the entire thing. Iza was there as well.

a slice of heaven offerings

A Slice of Heaven gave us cupcakes and was very hospitable to us.

sri kulai offerings

The shop opposite it – Sri Kulai, specializes in microwavable Malaysian halal food and we had a complete tasting of their menu.

sri kulai

My only regret is stuffing myself before I went there. I was surprised that microwave food tastes so good. It’s very convenient for people like me who works an average of 12 hours a day.

sri kulai microwave

It’s not like you can cook every single day (that is my hobby, I do it weekends) so this affords a level of convenience for reasonably tasty food.

sri kulai izza

I particularly enjoyed the sambal prawns and the chicken rice.

montage

Heading up, there are cosmetic outlets, pewter jewelers, florists, gift shops, tech stores and more!

stress

Daily Books gave me a tome called Less Stress. I needed that. T_T

a chic store

There is also a boutique called A Chic Store which kindly furnished me with a new piece of garment to wear. I have a notoriously limited wardrobe so that was nice.

a chic store us

=D

carpet

However, the best schwag of the day goes to Crown Furniture and Carpets.

Check out the carpet they gave us! It’s damn awesome okay. It’s as long as I am tall (which makes it around 171 cm or so) and it’s just perfect for my studio.

crown carpet me

It’s currently nesting at the lounge of my studio apartment.

cold storage

The anchor tenant is Cold Storage. As previously mentioned I wanted to go there anyway since I had to get supplies for my stew project. I like Cold Storage coz of the variety of stuff you can get there. Deli meat, fresh and frozen seafood, pasta, it’s heaven for someone who loves cooking. That’s why I prefer Cold Storage and other import specialty hypermarkets.

cold storage montage

I am not ashamed to admit that I’m one of the people who DON’T buy Malaysia. I’ll buy Malaysian goods when it’s up to international standards coz once you’ve seen the best, you won’t go back. :)

jaya one contest

Oh, and they have this Christmas contest until 13th December where you can stand a chance to win a RM 1,000 gift voucher if you spend RM 50 and above on a single receipt. I can only do two submissions though coz I ran up a RM 156.20 bill on food and a RM 135.00 slip for non-halal food and alcohol. I should have separated it. T_T

jaya one specialty

Nevertheless, it was a good outing. I got my foreign currency changed, visited a lot of specialty stores and managed to get my grocery shopping done.

jaya one cart

Jaya One – it’s not just for food. You’ll be surprised at the variety of enterprises operating there. You get free parking too if you go to Cold Storage to get your weekly stipend of groceries.

jaya one end

I <3 coz it’s convenient and I managed to get all my stuff done in a single day at a single place.

The Spring

the spring

The Spring is one of the newest shopping centers in Kuching. The mall was still under construction when I left Kuching about two years ago and it’s almost fully occupied now. The Spring reminds me of Chadstone Mall in Melbourne, Australia with its sprawling two (three including the basement) story layout.

spring interior

tHe Spring – that’s the official capitalization policy of the enterprise – is billed as a lifestyle mall offering retail experiences. The term “retail experience” seem to be replacing the more common vernacular of “shopping” in marketing lingo. I was aflutter with delirious exuberance in anticipation of the sojourn to this new retail experience establishment!

quiksilver

Sarcasm aside, I really did want to see what it’s like coz I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Irene picked us up from the airport and sent us to our hotel to check in before driving us to tHe Spring. It’s located at Jalan Simpang Tiga and it just opened on 10th of January 2008.

spring coins

Irene told us that people have been throwing coins into this water feature in The Spring, perhaps mistaking it for some kind of wishing well (wishing umbrella?). The management of The Spring actually had to sand blast a sign into the glass perimeter on all floors reminding visitors not to throw coins into the water feature. :)

spring gawai

The Spring had a feature for the upcoming Gawai (Harvest Festival) celebrations with a replica longhouse complete with traditional Iban musical instruments on display and not-so-traditional piped music from hidden speakers on loop for ambiance.

quiksilver girl

Quiksilver is represented at The Spring, as well as their female line Roxy. I went in and found a tag (I seriously don’t know what this thing is actually called) that I purchased back in 2003 and lost somewhere during a particularly excessive drinking session. It’s supposed to be worn around the neck for name tags/smart cards and such but I use it for aesthetic purposes.

quiksilver tag

There is a hook on the tag that can be attached (to a name tag/smart card) but the hook can also be attached to the belt loop on a pair of jeans. I just like the way it looks hanging down from the belt loop on a pair of jeans. It’s a bit garish, I know, but I like it. :)

spring irene

Irene sends her regards.

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