The concept of the Japanese konbini (convenience store) isn’t foreign for us in Malaysia. I remembered seeing a 7-Eleven store in Kelana Jaya for the first time back in the early 80s wondering what it was, until one opened in TTDI (their cendol soft ice cream was yum) and it was opened 24 hours a day to boot.

The thing about the Japanese konbini is, well, convenience. There are many of them about, and there may well be one within five minutes’ walk from your hotel. One of the chains is the Family Mart, and I remembered stocking on Boss coffee, onigiri and meron pan[1] to bring back should I wish to snack in my hotel room.

I had read that the Family Mart konbini had opened a few branches in the Klang Valley, one of which is in the TTDI MRT station. However, I got to drop by a larger branch at Uptown Damansara Utama.

Like the ones I’ve visited in Japan, they had an oden dispenser at the counter, with this one serving the tom yam soup variety[2]. Like any konbini worth its salt, they sold pretty much anything (just like a 7E). The only difference is that there were no gravure magazi… never mind.

They had a selection of onigiris, all of which are made in Malaysia. You don’t have to worry about accidentally buying one with umeboshi[3] in it. Most importantly, they sell meron pan here.

As for drinks, whilst the coffee and tea range aren’t as mega-extensive as it is in Japan, you get to choose from the likes of a few Boss coffees, and milk teas, including the, err… Pungency[4]. They don’t seem to have the bog standard Royal Milk Tea by Kirin though. Another thing they don’t have here are the hot bottled drinks. I guess Malaysia is too warm for them to include this option. One thing, though – the Japanese brands are easily 4 times more expensive than the local Nescafés or Milos.

There were a few original Family Mart imported items, but they were a select few which included some dried snacks of the crisps variety. No mugi-cha[5] or any of the like. On the way out, I found this choc confectionery by Bourbon which was advertised to the music of the missus’ band’s latest single. Tastes just like any choc biscuit if you ask me.

I do hope they open one in TTDI proper. Only for the BOSS/Kirin bottled drinks and the meron pan.

[1]Melon bread. There isn’t an actual melon in the bun, though.
[2]Oh well, they have to cater to the south east Asian palate I guess.
[3]Japanese pickled salt plum.
[4]Teh susu kawwww.
[5]Barley tea. They sell ’em in tea bag form.