The Pak Ya Popia Power empire, The Mall, near PWTC

It was by sheer chance that I found this!

Who would have thought… tucked in a little “run-down” food court (if this place can even qualify as a food court!) a roaring multi -million business exist (ok, fine, maybe a bit of an exaggeration here ;p) BUT DEFINITELY thousands of ringgit daily at the very least, I kid you not!

Me: “Pak Ya, tiap -tiap hari berapa ratus popia Pak Ya jual?” (Pak Ya, how many hundreds of these popia (spring rolls) do you sell daily?)

Pak Ya: ” Ohh…TIDAK..tak sampai beratus- ratus… beberapa ribu saja… (Ohh.. NO..not hundreds… only a few thousands…)

Me: *gulps*


The popia (spring roll), fried to a crackly crisp with its ample filling of yam bean and bean sprouts is best eaten doused with the THICK sweet spicy sauce plus a sprinkling of crunchy nuts.

And the skin deserves a special mention, as it tasted very fresh.


Simply cos it is handmade right here too!


Using their hands, these popia ladies grabs a blob of the batter (1st pic), gives it a yo-yo swing in the air (2nd pic) (the batter is surprisingly elastic and it bounces right back to her hand, and this step supposedly gives the skin a more elastically chewy texture, which is noticeable if you eat the popia basah version) before she swirls a thin layer on the flat griddle. Over a slow fire, each film of batter is given approximately 2 mins before it is peeled off the pan.


Once “cooked“, the skin is stacked up and transferred to the production line outside.
Here it is separated layer by layer (these skins stuck together due to it being piled up while it was still hot) before each is rolled up with the required fillings.

Below: The yam bean being machine – shredded.
The humongous amount of bean sprouts used in a day, basket after basket of these are stacked on top of the other.


The rolled up spring rolls are then fried in batches in another kitchen (which is essentially another stall in the same row)


Fresh off the wok, tanks of these crispy babies are lined up at the side of Pak Ya’s stall, in a row, ready for pick up by other proprietors in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.
Pak Ya himself can be sighted at the TTDI bazaar, (remember my previous post?) where a snaking queue is ever-present from the moment his stall is set up.

Pak Yah

012 237 0302

Operating hours
For Puasa month: 5pm onwards. Fried popia from lunch onwards but the basah (wet version) ones are only after 5pm.

Normal days: 9am to 8pm, Mon to Sun. Both versions available from morning.

Lot 401 & 404
Medan Hang Tuah Food Court
4th Floor, The Mall
Jalan Putra
50350 KL

Walk into the food court and his stalls would be on your right. You might have to go closer to each stall to find out which ones exactly, as they do not carry any signboards that says Pak Ya popia or anything remotely of that sort.
But one certainly can’t possibly miss the group of popia ladies all hard at work & cheerfully rolling the spring rolls!

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. Sean

    wah, looks pretty tasty! must remember to hop over here the next time i'm covering something at pwtc. haven't explored the mall in years. can't even remember if their indoor amusement park is still there! 😀

  2. Sin Tai Lim

    selamat berpuasa, for the non Muslims we also enjoy the variety of foods avaialble in bazaars. Happy makan…

  3. J2Kfm

    The Mall?!!! hahaha … never thought there's anything worth mentioning in that way-past its prime place.

  4. 550ml jar of faith

    This is seriously an awesome find!! And who'd have thought the humble popiah can invoke the entrepreneurial spirit? Now, where's my business plan to market my homemade moonshine?? 😛

  5. ai wei

    i din know the mall has this food court?! this popiah looks special 🙂

  6. cariso

    If it's steamed one, then I eat. 🙂

  7. Buzzingbee

    wah few thousands a day!! such huge business!
    I prefer the fried ones 🙂

  8. thenomadGourmand

    Sean: seriously? It was ok la..can eat. I think mayb the wet ones are better. Not avail at the time when i was there..antr trip then.

    STL: haaha..the ramadan mth is prob the best reason for me to further pig-out!

    J2kfm: Tht's wht I tot too!!

    550ml: I'll be yr 1st customer ok??

    ai wei: me too! what a find right? Goes to show tht u'll nvr knw wht u gonna unearth at the mst ungodly places 😉

    cariso: Hehe..I normally avoid fried ones too..but that day the basah ones aint avail yet

    buzzingbee: I know! Thousands! sigh..makes me feel like i'm working for peanuts!

  9. backStreetGluttons

    Interestingly, many "Chinese/Thai/European" dishes have been refreshed/improved by dare 2 b different Malay entreupreneurs to become their own nich, such as this (ckt/tomyam/burger/steak being other egs) . Great find , now if only u could bring some (100) to us !

  10. "Joe" who is constantly craving

    not to mention all cash..

  11. thule a.k.a leo

    The Mall… I used to call it Yaohan when the departmental store still operated in this complex… my parents always brought me & sis+bro here when we were small… and stayed in Pan Pacific Hotel (now Seri Pacific)! Like Sean… all I remember about this mall is the amusement park where I loved to ride the bumper car…
    that was more than 20 years ago!

  12. vialentino

    POPIAH…yummy ler…..delicious ler….u 24hrs makan one is it?

  13. thenomadGourmand

    bsg: Err..maybe not 100 but 20 to share share can ah? we organise a meet! ;p

    joe: I know..sigh. Hate my job.

    thule: aiyoo.. u all very old la..Unka also saying all the same things!

    vialentino: 24hrs?? where got?? Maybe 18 laa..cos i sleep 6 hours mahh ;p

  14. worldwindows

    Mall is so old that I thought they have taken out the time capsule embedded by the previous PM.

  15. Nic (KHKL)

    omg, nostalgic! ya know, i used to hang out at the mall's food court when i was really kecik. it was one of the best food courts back then. i should revisit la! 🙂

  16. botakai

    ajak to one of ur food trips next time !!! xD
    seems fun !! and reading ur blog late nite is so hungry

  17. FoOd PaRaDiSe

    wow… looks tempting leh… drool liao. ^-^

  18. CUMI & CIKI

    waaaa.. so amazing the skin.. wots more, healthy too yar.. i love popiah after a run! hmmmm, i think il makan that 2nite ..;)

  19. thule a.k.a leo

    Lol.. and u r young *hint hint*

  20. burpandslurp

    Good food, good food, they are everywhere in Malaysia! As you eat these lovely foods, remember I am jealous over here! 😉

  21. Allie

    I like this type of popiah, but I can't find any in Penang 🙁

  22. Huai Bin

    Whoa @ the stack of homemade popiah skins. They must be doing brisk business. Will check them out, thanks! 🙂

  23. Lyrical Lemongrass

    Great find! I've never explored that area before. Quite amazing how they prepare the popiah skin…by hand somemore! wah.

  24. vialentino

    18hrs makan…wahliow….must see u in real person next time…can still so slim!

  25. thenomadGourmand

    ww: Whatcha know, Unka said it looks exactly like he rmbr'ed it a decade ago!

    nic: Yups, Unka said it was THE shopping plc to be wayyyy backkkk then! LOL, judging frm the comments this post generated, I should organise a "Back to the Yaohan times" for u oldies!! ;p

    botakai: can can..i wil organise one soon k!

    food paradise: I love popia too! But i usually prefers the chinese ones!

    c&c: me too! had the best ones in Pg to be honest… hhmmm, u got any to recom in KL??

    thule:ahem…of kors.. ;p !!

    burpandslurp: Hey u, i'm jealous of the cheeses, froyos and fresh berries u get there!!

    allie: come? u mean u like Malay popia better?

    huai bin: Oh yes! Darn brisk alrite! "beribu – ribu saja" RMBR THAT!

    LL: yes yes, u got to go to try catch the action on camera!

    vialentino: Hehe.. unka going house- reno stuff-hunting in Puchong this weekend.. u free for makan??

  26. foodbin

    yearning to eat it, now.

  27. sc

    hahaha that's how the real popiah skin should be made! looks yummy 🙂

  28. Steven Goh

    wah u say like that, don't scare the income tax will go dig them ah? later they sell us at the higher price after kena tax how ah?

  29. ~Christine~Leng

    beribu-ribu?? @_@ whoa…
    must be real good 🙂
    The Mall… made me miss my younger days so much! ;P

  30. Life for Beginners

    I dunno about you but I always think anything handmade is just so much better. Don't you agree? 🙂

  31. thenomadGourmand

    foodbin: i got yearning for popia always! hehe..but haven't found a really gd one in KL yet..

    sc: Go try it!

    steven: Heehe..they are malays (ahem)

    christine: Ohh..u were tht old? ;p

    lfb: must the sweat and whtever excretion frm the hands!

  32. Life for Beginners

    Ewww! … but should be true oso lah. LOL

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