Magstore

Special thanks to Magstore for extending this food review invitation.

Magstore Mini Supermarket (香港松坂库) is a Hong Kong-based convenience store, specializing in instant noodles, snacks and other foodstuff. Magstore opened its first Malaysian outlet in Gurney Paragon Mall, allowing Penangites to purchase various imported products that are otherwise not easily available.
At Magstore, the variety of instant noodles is astonishing. Like in Hong Kong, by far the most popular brand is Demae Itcho (出前一丁), manufactured by Nissin Foods (日清食品). Just for packet noodles from alone, there are around 20 different types of flavors to choose from. Unlike many specialty shops, Magstore allows customers to buy individual packets, therefore allowing the convenience of trying multiple flavors before deciding on their favorite ones.
Most brands of instant noodles are imported from Japan and Hong Kong. However, there are also a substantial number of brands from Korea and Taiwan. Here, we have a lesser-known Japanese brand Marutai (マルタイ). Marutai specializes in miso ramen (味噌ラーメン) from Kyushu (九州). Each packet is sufficient for two persons.
For frequent travelers without access to stoves, there are also cup noodles that only require hot water. This type of noodles was pioneered by Nissin, which is still has the largest market share today.
For "fried noodles", there is also yakisoba from Myojo Foods (明星食品). The yakisoba recipes are inspired by nighttime stalls in Japan that are frequented by the working class. Interesting choices here are salted sauce (塩だれ) and spicy roe (辛い明太子).
Have you heard of sausages with stuffed scallop fillings (ほたて入りソーセージ)? This specialty from Hokkaido (北海道) is not easily available here, if not for Magstore's extensive supply network. The sausage itself is made from white fish (白身魚).
Due to the busy lifestyle of office workers, Japanese companies pioneered desserts-in-a-box products, including different kinds of syrups (糖水). At Magstore, there is a dedicated shelf for various flavors including familiar ones like red beans and black sesame. For more exotic ones, one may try green beans with kelp.
As for refreshments, there are also a number of bottled juices such as probiotic yogurt drink from Bikkle, and pear juice from Gaya Farm (가야농장).
One of the specialties here at Magstore is Yoobi Ice Cream (曜日アイスクリーム). Milk for ice cream is specially sourced from Hokkaido. The soft serve ice cream is actually the same for all flavors; each variant only differs by the toppings used.
There are 7 types of toppings to choose from, each named after every day of the week. In reality, all 7 types are available every day. 5 of the toppings represent the 5 basic tastes: bitter (苦), sour (酸), sweet (甜), salty (咸) and spicy (辣). The 2 remaining ones have composite flavors, one having the taste of "love" (恋) while the other is left to the imagination of the taster.
- Monday: Dark Chocolate / Mango Coated (黑朱古力/芒果淋酱, RM12.50)
- Tuesday: Organic Mixed Grains / Saemgoeul (黑豆谷物粉/柿子醋, RM11.50)
- Wednesday: Three Temperature Sugar / Pumpkin Seed (三温塘/南瓜籽, RM11.50)
- Thursday: Himala Salt (海盐之味, RM10.50)
- Friday: Wasabi Salt (芥末盐, RM12.50)
- Saturday: Sakura In Love (恋之樱花, RM11.50)
- Sunday: Thyme (百里香, RM11.50)
To keep ice cream frozen for as long as possible, Magstore uses dry ice at the bottom compartment of the serving cup. Just before serving, Earl Grey tea (伯爵茶) is mixed in so that dry ice sublimates immediately. The result is aromatic floral fragrance that permeates the immediate vicinity.
For the Wasabi Salt (芥末盐, RM12.50) variant, wasabi powder is lightly sprinkled on the surface of the soft serve ice cream. The powder is not as pungent as it appears. Its presence serves to provide cooling mint-like aftertaste after the sweetness of ice cream has settled.
As for the ice cream itself, it has a distinctive sweetness which is unlike regular soft serve ice cream. This type of sweetness stimulates the taste buds in a rather different way, resulting in a more subtle form of honey-like sensation.

Meanwhile, Organic Mixed Grains / Saemgoeul (黑豆谷物粉/柿子醋, RM11.50) features two toppings. Mixed grain powder is meant to provide aroma of rice husk, similar to genmaicha (玄米茶). Personally I love this scent, but I think there are people who simply do not like it.
This ice cream includes a syringe filled with persimmon vinegar (감식초). Depending on individual preference, some vinegar can be dripped over the ice cream to provide sour flavor. I am not sure how much a medical syringe costs, but I think a cheaper Pasteur pipette (dropper) can do the same job too. Anyway, I guess think the former has better aesthetic appeal.
Apart from ice cream, there are also 3 types of cooked snacks at Magstore. Collectively called "three treasures" (三宝), these snacks feature signature delicacies from Japan, Hong Kong and Korea.
The first one is Japanese Style Takoyaki (日式章鱼小丸子). This snack is made from flour batter and is cooked in a pan with round compartments. Chopped octopus, cabbage and scallions are added before the batter solidifies.
Throughout the cooking process, the balls are slowly rotated so that they attain spherical shape. The shape of takoyaki is unlike kaya balls sold at night markets, which have a flat base because the batter is not flipped over during cooking.
Once cooked, takoyaki is brushed with savory sauce and mayonnaise. The balls are then topped with smoked tuna flakes (鰹節). There are two types of flavors: original (RM9.90) and wasabi cheese (RM10.90). The latter is preferred as cheese helps to accentuate the taste of the savory fillings. Each order comes in 6 pieces.
Next, Hong Kong Style Egg Puffs (香港名物鸡蛋仔, RM8.90) is prepared using a specialized waffle iron. Flour batter is filled into the iron. When the batter solidifies, the waffle attains circular bulges that resemble bubbles.
Egg puffs are wildly popular Hong Kong because this street food is easy to prepare and to consume on the go. This snack is gradually gaining acceptance here especially after the opening of Triple Milk Hong Kong Frozen Yogurt Cafe (香港三重式) and Cool Island Bubble Waffle several months ago.
Magstore's egg puff feels doughy and is not as crispy as I hoped for. Ideally, the "bubbles" ought to be able to be plucked off easily. In addition, I feel that some kind of flavoring such as strawberry and chocolate can provide better appeal.
Last but not least is Korean Style Grilled Maruyaki (韩国釜山鲜烤鱿鱼), which is a delicacy from Busan. There are two types of flavors: original (RM12.90) and Japanese (RM16.90). The choice today is the latter one. Located on the southeastern coast of the Korean peninsula, Busan has close historical ties with Japan. This explains why this dish is similar to its Japanese counterpart.
To prepare this snack, squid is cut up such that the mantle (main body) forms a thin sheet. Mantle and tentacles are flattened further using a grooved steamroller. The pieces are cooked by pressing between two iron plates. Due to their thinness and groove marks on the surface, the squid can be cooked rather quickly.

Once cooked, the squid is seasoned with chili peppers and sesame seeds. I feel that this snack is quite spicy and may be overpowering for some people. Nevertheless, the squid is quite delectable due to nice blending of pungent spices.
Every Magstore outlet features a different theme. For this store at Gurney Paragon Mall, the theme is "Alice in Wonderland". This fairytale is featured prominently by teacup-shaped booths and a 3D rendition of a scene from the story. The latter serves as a photo opportunity.
Name: Magstore Mini Supermarket (香港松坂库)
Address: L5-16, Level L5, Gurney Paragon Mall, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-495-9313
Business hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/MagstoreMalaysia
Coordinates: 5.43526 N, 100.31081 E
Directions: Magstore is located at Level L5 of Gurney Paragon Mall, facing Jalan Kelawai. As for landmarks, the store is located next to Eld's 22 and Just Food. The mall has a multilevel parking garage.

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