There’s something quite special about Japan.
Be it the Sakura flowers, freshly-caught sea produce or even their high-tech lavatories; Japan has everything that the rest of the world has, only better versions of them.
Chief among which is convenience stores, called konbini in Japanese, that pepper their streets and offer a host of necessities, grocery items, finger foods and even full meals for sale.
The big three convenience store chains in Japan are no doubt Seven-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart.
And word has it that Family Mart has landed in Johor Bahru’s popular City Square Mall and is welcoming famished visitors with open arms and welcoming cash registers.
FamilyMart @ JB City Square Mall
Newly-opened just last month, this Family Mart is the closest to Singapore as it is just across the Causeway, barring any traffic hold up at the checkpoints of course.
The interior decor and layout mirror their Japanese counterpart like for like down to the colour scheme and ever-present Oden counter just next to the cashier.
We pick out 5 of our favourite food items available at this FamilyMart that we’ll say “yes, I choose you” to in a heartbeat.
What did you think?
Yes, Oden of course.
The soupy goodness perhaps not unlike Lok Lok can be found at all FamilyMart.
Food items are skewered and/or left to simmer in a tray or container of broth.
According to 8 Days, one is required to select a ‘Starter Bowl’ of Oden when you order, which contains broth and one basic ingredient.
The ‘Starter Bowl’ options are Ajitsuke Tamago Set (RM3, or S$1), Fish Cake Set (RM3, or $1) and Udon Set (RM5, or S$1.70).
Fish cakes, corn, onsen eggs, daikon (Japanese radish) and lobster balls are some of their additional offering.
Tom Yam Soup
Similar to, but not quite the same as Oden, a Tom Yam Soup version of the Oden is available in JB to appeal to our South-East Asian palette.
Essentially with the same ingredients as the Oden, its heat and spice will no doubt cause anyone to break out in a heap of perspiration.
Shiok and worth it though.
And given that we’ll often head down to a FamilyMart instead of a 7-Eleven when we’re in Thailand , JB could well be the closest Bangkok we’ve had now.
FamiChiki fried chicken
Synonymous with FamilyMart is the FamiChiki fried chicken which is only freshly-fried upon order.
It is so popular in Japan that there’s a mascot of itself in Japan.
Here’s an advertisement featuring the mascot in Japan.
This, we’ll have no doubt is a sure-winner at JB’s FamilyMart.
Assortment of Bakes and Bread
Let’s not forget to the bakes and bread sections that is likely to put any specialty bakery to shame.
The options are seriously plentiful and range from Hot-cakes to Matcha toast and even Melon-Pan and Hanjuku Cheese soufflé cheesecakes.
They range from RM3 – RM8 (S$1 – S$2.66) for most items.
Finishing the list is the Famima Cafe which sells you basic staple of coffee, frappe and soft-serve.
The Hojicha Latte and Matcha Softserve are going for only RM2.90 which is basically the cost of one McDonald’s softserve in Singapore.
Their iced lattes go for RM6.90 and that’s just slightly more than S$2.
A price point which I’m sure is palatable for most familiar with S$7 Starbucks drink.
That said, this FamilyMart isn’t open 24 hours and they operate from 10 AM-10 PM.
Here’s the address:
Johor Bahru City Square Mall
106, 108, Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Level 2, Lot J2-18
And if you need directions on how reach the mall, here you go: Just follow the crowd after you’re in JB customs lah.