Niu Ze Xui (牛車水) or NZX is a failed shopping mall in Ara Damansara. It started with a bang 3 to 4 years ago, but it fizzled out. As it was very near to where we live, my wife and I used to frequent the place. The problem with this mall was that it was not air-conditioned. It could be quite warm and stuffy there. Malaysians love air-con and perhaps that was one reason why this mall did not make it.
Today the mall is in a sorry state. The walkways are empty. The shops are empty. Some areas are starting to show signs of neglect and rot.
Surrounding the mall are many shops and offices. Many of them thrive in spite of the gloom inside. In fact it is often difficult to find a place to park. There is an basement parking. But it is shady and they charge RM2 per entry. People avoid it.
One of the shops that thrive is a dim sum restaurant - Yun Lai Huat. It really is not a great place. But dim sum is a popular food. And being the only one in Ara Damansara, it appeared to do a reasonably good business.
We have eaten there a number of times. And each time, it was a crowd.
Their tables spill to the five foot way and into the empty mall.
Their dim sum selection is not fantastic. The usual stuffs - nothing out of the ordinary. Prices are not that cheap - comparable to other more established dim sum restaurants.
I was quite pissed off once. I asked a waiter for refill of water for our tea. He very rudely and loudly told me to do it myself, pointing to a hot water boiler nearby. Later I told off the boss. He did not apologise and gave me the excuse on the shortage of workers, and that his workers would refill if they were free. I had to tell him that his man was standing idle when I requested for the refill.
The porridge was too thick and mushy.
They serve noodles as well. Perhaps the saving grace. The texture of the noodles was nicely al dente.
Yun Lai Huat is perhaps living proof that a successful restaurant need not necessarily have the best food and the best service. It perhaps has a lot to do in being at the right place selling the food that people want. That actually had been the reason that we had repeatedly gone back to the place in spite of the mediocre food quality and tea refill fiasco. We balked at the thought of driving all the way to Jin Xuan in Uptown PJ, and having to hunt for a parking space or to wait in queue for a table.