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Travel

GTA Tripping: Pacific Mall

Posted by Christopher Reynolds / June 27, 2009

Pacific MallTamagotchi. Dim Sum. Rain. Bukkake. Cowabunga. Hello Kitty. Ninja. Illegal DVD. These are all lend-words that we've recently taken into the English language from Asian languages (maybe). It is my contention that these sparkling morsels alone serve as proof that Asia is awesome, and that they are operating on a higher plane than us over there. Or, at least a more futuristic, delicious and/or cute plane, anyway.

Pacific Mall is North America's "largest indoor Asian mall," and so I went there excited, hoping for a yummy, blinking, futuristic time. Unfortunately, what my GTA Tripping partner and I found this week was more Chinese Water Torture than Pikachu; a horror story of tight mall security and bad noodles.

pacific mallI guess I should admit off the bat that the main reason my cohort and I had such a bad time is that we arrived hungry. We had heard that the food available at Pacific Mall would be excellent, "better than in Hong Kong," said one of my Japanese associates recently. Maybe we just chose the wrong places, but my friend's pho looked like a puddle of milky sadness and my food court dim sum was the very definition of "food court dim sum," a no-brainer avoid-o-rama (like "discount sushi") that I foolishly thought would rock. Instead, I paid $13 in a food court to sit there like an idiot, choking back tears and whispering to myself, "doi." It was the same profound humiliation I imagine is felt by men who fall in love with strippers, or the women who fell in love with John F. Kennedy.

I really cannot overstate the pain that accompanies riding public transit into the triple-digit minutes, disembarking and then failing fantastically and repeatedly to satiate a crippling hunger. This trip could have been Natalie Portman and Megan Fox giving us a tour of the Starship Enterprise and we still would have complained.

There were some sunny spots, sure, but let's just continue the train of misery here for a moment. At Pacific Mall we saw maybe twenty security guards, each one heavily decked-out in futuristic and violent security gear, but each with a snazzy haircut and a shy demeanor. I talked to no less than four of them, but I didn't want to. Each one came with the gentle gospel that photography was prohibited in the mall, a gospel that I interpreted differently. But I acquiesced, of course: it is their mall and their policy to make (that and they had dangerous stuff on those bat utility belts). But who has a no-photo policy in a mall? And what's with all the security, anyway?

The answer, I learned only and dangerously after the fact, is that Pacific Mall has played host to a number of famous criminal scandals.

In the past few years there have been several high-profile raids of the mall complexes here, the main target being counterfeit/bootleg merchandise, of which most of that stuff was DVDs. In February of this year alone the RCMP seized 49,000 DVDs along with all the gear (and people) used to make them. Two weeks later a hit man killed his mark in a cell phone shop. A short time later the local police and the RCMP teamed up to form a Voltron unit permanently patrolling the malls in the area. I guess my photo-ban makes sense after all - the pictures might end up as Exhibit B.

So we tried to find some of these famous illegal DVDs. I was very seriously in the market for a shaky Camcorder recording of the new Woody Allen movie, but alas, most of the DVDs looked Chinese and legit. As for the murder, we successfully managed to side-step that.

Other than DVDs and murder, the mall had a just a few more items to be had, but had those things in the thousands and thousands. Cell phones, cell phone charms, Gundams and bubble tea were pretty much the main products for sale in the sprawling complex. Bubble tea I'll have none of, ever. It's true that a cup of bubble tea looks pretty tasty, all colourful like a potable lava lamp, but I wonder if those enjoying them know that the little tapioca "bubbles" (and gelatin of all kinds, including J-E-L-L-O) are made from ground up bits of cow cartilage. Don't they know!? Someone has to tell them that bubble tea is ground-up cow cartilage! Correction: the bubbles in bubble tea are usually made from tapioca, derived from a root called Cassava.

Pacific MallThe Gundams, on the other hand, were glorious and totally amazing. If you don't know, Gundams are these sweet techno-violent Japanese robots (well, characters/toys) that are a little like Transformers, but are patently more badass. In Japan, there have been postage stamps issued featuring the things, and this month, as part of the the 30th anniversary of the Gundam metaseries, Bandai produced a 1:1 full-size Gundam statue. The toy versions are highly collectible. Placed on a dresser or a desk, they make men happy and girlfriends sad. If you feel like horrifying your special lady with your juvenile need for awesome stuff, Pacific Mall has these things in spades.

Pacific Mall ArcadeWe also found a reasonably comprehensive arcade with Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, and the newest side-view-button-mash-kill-each-other thing. There was also a private karaoke box (or suicide booth, as my friend called it). I wanted to snap a photo, but as soon as I took out my camera I was taken out by a security guard who would have been menacing if he hadn't been so dang cute.

Pacific Mall

Discussion

101 Comments

stan / June 27, 2009 at 10:02 am
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You definitely chose the wrong place to eat. The Dim Sum restaurant on the second floor is one of the best in the city, although it's usually extremely busy. Also, if you go *outside* the mall, there's the Mongolian Grill which is great, as well.
B / June 27, 2009 at 10:12 am
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chistopher reynolds.. you are a lame.

You are trying to hard to be funny and I wouldnt doubt that you are probably an asiaphile, looking to score points with other sarcastic a-holes who get off exposing others.

Why post a whole article if you have nothing good to say?

consider taking this article down..


asianchic / June 27, 2009 at 10:15 am
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The food is probably better at Market Village (next door), although the snacks (candies) are better at Pacific Mall. It sounds like you went on a bad day where they were just raided. On a regular day, there is a plethera of bootlegged DVDs. You were just unlucky. If you want bustling, go back on a weekend in a couple of weeks. Or better yet, go during Chinese New Year...if you can wait that long.
Jerrold replying to a comment from B / June 27, 2009 at 10:40 am
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Exposing others? Everyone and their dog (and grandma) already knows about ripped DVDs at PM. No point pretending we're stupid.

Instead of dropping insults, feel free to let us know what you think is great about the mall.
Michael / June 27, 2009 at 10:42 am
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As far as I'm concerned, the only place to eat in the Pacific Mall is Sun's Kitchen -- they make their own noodles there (and they do it right in front of you, in a pretty impressive display of dough-pulling) which are ridiculously delicious. Definitely the best noodles I've had in the city, hands down.
Bubble Tea. / June 27, 2009 at 10:48 am
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Umm, FYI tapioca is actually made from cassava extracts.
legourmet.tv / June 27, 2009 at 10:52 am
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Tapioca is actually a plant product made from the root of the manioc (known by several other common names, cassava among them). Gelatine is made from animal products...
Pretty basic distinction, not sure which is used in Bubble Tea; but if you can't get that right, the rest of the post is not credible.
Darlene / June 27, 2009 at 11:04 am
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I thought it was funny.
Kenny / June 27, 2009 at 11:15 am
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I agree with "asianchic" in that Market Village is the better place to eat. Their food court is bigger and they have actual dine-in restaurants that get totally packed for dim sum and dinner.

Pacific Mall vendors have essentially packed in their bootleg DVD business, but not all. You have to go into the store and ask for them, the vendors hide the bootlegs in "storage" or put them in the back behind a curtain like a porn section.

I hardly go there anymore, it's the same stuff everywhere, and like most shoppers, I go there to walk and look around but rarely buy anything. If I do buy something, at least I know Pacific Mall is good for the following things: unlocked imported cell phones, video game mods, computer components, car mods, knockoff LV & Burberry, watches, and little Japanese knick-knacks.

Oh... and the parking/driving is HORRENDOUS!!! Try going there on a holiday!!! ARGH!!!
J.Rai / June 27, 2009 at 11:25 am
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Actually most (if not all commercial) malls have no-photo policies, some are just probably enforced on different levels. It's private property and commercial space so it's not uncommon. I imagine in the time of camera phones and mini-digi-cams it's harder to enforce but perhaps at Pacific Mall they are just more used to spotting it.

Either way, I didn't know much of anything about Pacific Mall so thanks for the tour! I'll check it out someday and get a taste of my old haunts in Vancouver and Richmond, BC.
TL / June 27, 2009 at 11:30 am
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douche
HK is a representation of HK, definitley not Asia
Who gets quality dim sum from the food court
Pho is terrible on that end
and plus most Pho made commercially is filled with msg
and is no comparison to the stuff made at home or from VN

I sometimes don't agree with some post on BlogTO but this was definitely a waste of time. Please take it down

I'm not defending Pacific Mall, I'm just calling idiots as i see them.
TL / June 27, 2009 at 11:31 am
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douche
HK is a representation of HK, definitley not Asia
Who gets quality dim sum from the food court
Pho is terrible on that end
and plus most Pho made commercially is filled with msg
and is no comparison to the stuff made at home or from VN

I sometimes don't agree with some post on BlogTO but this was definitely a waste of time. Please take it down

I'm not defending Pacific Mall, I'm just calling idiots as i see them.
Tom / June 27, 2009 at 11:37 am
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I actually rather liked the article. I've lived in the area for years but have never made the trek up to PM; don't need any bootleg DVDs. I didn't know they had good food there, though, so I may have to head up for that.

Thanks for the info. :)
jack / June 27, 2009 at 11:57 am
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Bukkake? omg.. do you know what that word means? you want someone cum all over your face like a facial?
a / June 27, 2009 at 11:59 am
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I usually like your GTA tripping articles, but I would have to agree that this one is poorly researched and written.
emoney / June 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm
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Funniest post yet. And very controversial. Kudos.
(Nice double post TL, idiot.)
kayoko / June 27, 2009 at 12:53 pm
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Oh no. Never eat meals at Pacific Mall. It's the street food and bubble tea that you fill up on.

I'm surprised that you didn't mention the clothing stores. There's also a lot of imported clothing stores selling stuff that you wouldn't find in regular malls.

I think you guys could have used a guide to the place. =)
beth / June 27, 2009 at 01:01 pm
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The simple fact that you thought tapioca was an animal product is enough to shed quite a shadow of doubt. On the accuracy of this article.

I love pacific mall and my many visits to it have all been good ones! It's one stop shopping for all your Asian needs, and an exotic little mini vaction right close to home!

I've had great shabu-shabu and authentic, elaborate cantonese there.

Yes, it's tricky to get to, and I guess you can't take pictures (the same is true of pretty much any suburban mall though).

I just don't get it. I have to think either you or the mall were having a bad day, because this article is not at all reflective of the Pacific Mall I know and love.
ddt / June 27, 2009 at 01:08 pm
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lol.bukkake
jameasmallon / June 27, 2009 at 01:19 pm
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Two things:
- why do Chinese-Canadians have to go mental when you criticise things like a shitty Asian mall, or the vulgarity of the Beijing Olympics? You may make fun of my family's British teeth and my mother's boiled dinners, as these are facts.
- Pacific Mall exists because our government sells landed status to people who start a 'business' of a certain expense. Do you think the world need three hundred stores selling the same cell phone accessories?
rick james / June 27, 2009 at 01:32 pm
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I'm rick james and chistopher reynolds is my bitch.
Corina / June 27, 2009 at 02:43 pm
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I (heart) Pacific Mall... I (heart) it to death.
ddt replying to a comment from Corina / June 27, 2009 at 03:08 pm
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In Nagasaki, they (heart) Bukkake
Cynthia / June 27, 2009 at 03:28 pm
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I really need to give my CBC card back, because I'm probably one of the only Chinese Canadians who HATES Pacific Mall. It's too crowded, kind of thuggish and did I say that it was too crowded? I like Market Village a little better.
Nathan / June 27, 2009 at 04:03 pm
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Do you *really* think that bukkake is a "sparkling morsel" that proves that "Asia is awesome"?
Do you actually believe that your supposed suffering "cannot be overstated"?
Did you somehow miss all of the (sometimes pretty sweet) clothing stores in the mall, and really only notice the cell phones?
Dude, gimme a break. You are trying WAY too hard to be cynical/hip/funny.

PS. 'Cowabunga' comes from the Howdy Doody show.
Neil / June 27, 2009 at 04:10 pm
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Wow, these comments are ridiculous.
The mall can be really shitty, the last time I was there it was incredibly boring. The author was there on a bad day and nothing interesting or tasty came his way. That's just the way it goes.
A small mistake (which he corrected) on the origin of tapioca leads to a bad case of internet mob mentality.
E / June 27, 2009 at 05:07 pm
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Terrible article. Well below the standards of what we're used to seeing on BlogTO. The only thing this article sheds any light on is the author's own failings: poor sarcasm, terrible research, and sad attempts at humour. Your namesake seems to make the drabbest scenes shine in movies -- if only you could do the same with your writing.
cmm / June 27, 2009 at 06:07 pm
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It sounds like you went on a very off day. I have never seen many security guards there, maybe 3 max. Also, you totally missed out on the hand made noodles and walnut cakes. Go again, even though a lot of the shops repeat itself, it's way better than trudging through boring Eaton Centre.
j-rock / June 27, 2009 at 06:11 pm
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"It is my contention that these sparkling morsels alone serve as proof that Asia is awesome, and that they are operating on a higher plane than us over there."


Ugh. There are few things sadder than westerners (usually men) who fetishize "Asian" culture. If you would ever bother to go "over there", you might find that everyone's just trying to go to work, raise their families and live their lives; same as here. The futuristic, techno-utopia you've idealized since reading your first manga doesn't exist. Grow up.
Ryan L. / June 27, 2009 at 06:19 pm
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I agree that this article is poorly written. Hell, gelatin more often comes from pigs than it does from cows.

And yes, most malls have a no camera taking policy. Maybe you don't notice it as much at other malls because of their lack of security. The fact that the mall has ample security I think should be a positive point, not a negative one.
Jerrold / June 27, 2009 at 07:04 pm
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Bukkake is a type of soup. Japanese.
jack replying to a comment from Jerrold / June 27, 2009 at 07:24 pm
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if you consider hot cum is soup, sure..
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukkake
merriemelodies / June 27, 2009 at 07:38 pm
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Grab a Cantonese girlfriend and revisit the mall. You will have a totally different experience. And then broaden your horizons and explore all that the Cantonese dialect will open up for you in Richmond Hill and Markham. And maybe you might even get to enjoy some bukkake ;-)
Peter / June 27, 2009 at 08:58 pm
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You don't have to love the mall to hate this article. The mall is far from perfect, but this article is pathetically ill-informed.

And yes, start taking photos inside ANY Toronto mall and see how long it takes for security to start pestering you ....
Elle Driver replying to a comment from jameasmallon / June 27, 2009 at 11:22 pm
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Hey, can I generalize too? How about: "Why do white guys who've bragged about visiting Japan go mental every time 'all-you-can-eat cheap sushi' is mentioned?"

(Wow, that was fun!)
Canchi / June 27, 2009 at 11:36 pm
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This is the last time I'll read anything written by this author.
Well, may be I should stop reading anything from blogTO??

pho, is not anything from Hong Kong or Japan, so please talk to your friendly Japanese associate exactly what he/she had last time.

I wonder what kind of Dim Sum you had, but just like any reasonable restaurant review, if the food is not good, it's not the whole mall's fault, right?

If you think taking such a long trip up north is a pain in the ass (or numbness), well, talk to the TTC Commissioner. or Mayor of Toronto.

you sure they are all different security guards? because when I go to Pacific Mall, walking in different "street" (that's what they call each "aisle" there), I always run into the same group of people going opposite direction. I guess you just know how to draw attention from security guards.

funny you think? if those security guards had futuristic and violent gear, you should report that to the Police and have them investigate, as there are law set out to regulate what kinds of gear the security guards can carry.
(while you are at the police station being such a good citizen, and telling them your concern about the murder in Pacific mall, be sure to tell them about your concern about the street crimes and gun fight we see so often in Toronto. you probably will be there for a few hours just listing everything we heard from the News already)

Pacific Mall has alot more to offer, for example, see those chairs in your last picture? they are automated shiatsu/massage chairs, I hope you will go do some research on that before you say something looks informative but totally wrong on the subject, because if you type "bubble tea" into search engine like google, bing(microsoft) or yahoo, you can see from website like wikipedia that can tell you what bubble tea is.

Gundam, for someone who knows what it is, it's almost hard to imagine why would anyone don't know anything about it.
(if someone tells me that they don't know what is "Snoopy", I wouldn't what to say. but if you say that, I wouldn't be surprised.)

suicide booth? really?!
Canchi / June 27, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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This is the last time I'll read anything written by this author.
Well, may be I should stop reading anything from blogTO??

pho, is not anything from Hong Kong or Japan, so please talk to your friendly Japanese associate exactly what he/she had last time.

I wonder what kind of Dim Sum you had, but just like any reasonable restaurant review, if the food is not good, it's not the whole mall's fault, right?

If you think taking such a long trip up north is a pain in the ass (or numbness), well, talk to the TTC Commissioner. or Mayor of Toronto.

you sure they are all different security guards? because when I go to Pacific Mall, walking in different "street" (that's what they call each "aisle" there), I always run into the same group of people going opposite direction. I guess you just know how to draw attention from security guards.

funny you think? if those security guards had futuristic and violent gear, you should report that to the Police and have them investigate, as there are law set out to regulate what kinds of gear the security guards can carry.
(while you are at the police station being such a good citizen, and telling them your concern about the murder in Pacific mall, be sure to tell them about your concern about the street crimes and gun fight we see so often in Toronto. you probably will be there for a few hours just listing everything we heard from the News already)

Pacific Mall has alot more to offer, for example, see those chairs in your last picture? they are automated shiatsu/massage chairs, I hope you will go do some research on that before you say something looks informative but totally wrong on the subject, because if you type "bubble tea" into search engine like google, bing(microsoft) or yahoo, you can see from website like wikipedia that can tell you what bubble tea is.

Gundam, for someone who knows what it is, it's almost hard to imagine why would anyone don't know anything about it.
(if someone tells me that they don't know what is "Snoopy", I wouldn't what to say. but if you say that, I wouldn't be surprised.)

suicide booth? really?!
ayl / June 28, 2009 at 12:54 am
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I didn't finish the article, but it seems like all the hype for P-mall wasn't worth your trip.

As a Chinese Canadian that's lived in the P-mall area for 17 years, I must say I also don't know what's so fabulous about the mall. I probably only visit it once or twice a year and I go straight to order my contacts and leave.

I remember growing up when Pacific did not exist and was a giaaaaant flower shop. And Market Village was a dirty super market that sold lots of chickens.

I guess for tourists it's a nice tourist trap - lots of small stores mostly with things from Asia that can't be found at a nearby Cadillac Fairview mall. There are cell phone models that are exclusive to Asia that can be purchased. Japanese make up, the snacks stores etc etc. Even with that, it's not enough to attract me to go...also parking is just a pain.

For the fake DVDs, you need to ask them because they are now in the back room.
ayl / June 28, 2009 at 01:09 am
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Cow cartilage...absolute gold. I always told my brother the pulled dried squid snack we had as children was duck eyelash. I've now read through the entire entry and comments and agree you should give it another try. Yes, it's a journey from downtown (subway to Finch, 53Express bus I assume?), but it's an experience nonetheless. The best snack store has to be the corner fishball store in the "A" row, where all the cell phone stores are. Bubble tea - they all make it relatively average, can't really screw it up unless the tapioca is stale. Ten Ren is my favourite.

I actually saw Forest Whitaker there when I was there.
Mei / June 28, 2009 at 03:40 am
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"the little tapioca "bubbles" (and gelatin of all kinds, including J-E-L-L-O) are made from ground up bits of cow cartilage. Don't they know!?"

I'd still eat it, even if it was true.
keven replying to a comment from jack / June 28, 2009 at 08:48 am
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From the wikipedia link you posted:

"Indeed, bukkake is used in Japan to describe a type of dish where the broth is poured on top of noodles, as in bukkake-udon and bukkake-soba."

Jerrold is right as per usual.
Zoe / June 28, 2009 at 09:52 am
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You, sir, are an idiot. Have a nice day.
Sam / June 28, 2009 at 10:09 am
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This is the most inaccuarate depiction of Pmall. You make it out to be some idiotic junk mall filled with violence and crappy food. Yes Pacific Mall has cons, but has a lot to offer people too and is worth at least a visit.

Next time spend more than an hour doing your research and stop wasting people's time reading about you whinning.
Sam / June 28, 2009 at 10:25 am
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It truly surprises me that this article was published. It is not funny/nor accurate/nor even factually correct.
There are so many journalist dying to have work out. Yet this gets published for hundreds of Torontonians to read and rely upon for entertaining/informative news? Wow...

This really taints how I see BlogTo credibility...
Joanne / June 28, 2009 at 11:01 am
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Pacific Mall can be unfriendly. Every time I visit shops and I browse 90% of the vendors glared at me whenever I look and touch the merchandise. A lot of the time the vendors try so hard to force me into buy their things and when I leave without it they get a bit pissy. When I actually do buy something they still get pissed at me because I don't talk to them in Cantonese! (I'm not even Chinese! I'm Filipino!!) Granted there are 10% of nice and honorable vendors there (we got our stereo system and it's been running smoothly for 3 years!), but the other rude ones really turn me and my husband off!

As for the food, my favourite spot is the Korean cafe upstairs where they serve delicious udon. Hopefully they're still in business because they are good.
jack replying to a comment from keven / June 28, 2009 at 11:19 am
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sure, why don't you go up to a Japanese woman and ask her to give you a bukkake!
Donald Trump / June 28, 2009 at 11:28 am
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Christopher Reynolds, your fired!
James / June 28, 2009 at 11:28 am
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I'm tired of the standard Pacific Mall/pirate DVD association. It isn't even an accurate statement any more. Seriously, who buys pirate DVDs anymore?

The Pacific Mall is the absolute best place to buy housewares, cell phone batteries, jewelry, fine china, (small size) clothing, interesting nick-nacs, and your Asian groceries at the same time. There are a variety of restaurants from cheap snacks to high end. My personal favourite is the hot pot place at the west end of the parking lot. As for the service, I've found it excellent service especially in the Market Village section. You must have been acting like jerks.

Yes, parking is insane (on the weekends only) but taking public transit to get to anywhere in the suburbs is pretty stupid too. It would be more interesting to report about how the mall isn't even Asian owned or how the rent is among the highest in Toronto.





amy / June 28, 2009 at 11:51 am
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Sorry, but this is a waste of space. It's not a review, it's a whine.

I've been to Pacific Mall and there's always something delightful to see, if you're not a whiner who waited too long for lunch and is taking it out on a MALL, for god's sake.

Not impressed. Save this kind of crap for your personal blog.
Pacific-mall-goer / June 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm
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Pacific mall is easier to enjoy if you know what it's like. In my experience, the first trip there isn't much fun. The shops open and close whenever they like, and the food can seem terrible if you don't know the right place to eat. Now that you know how it works, though, maybe ask a friend or two that've been to pacific mall (if you have any) which places are good to eat at. Someone mentioned the mongolian grill just outside the mall in the parking lot. I HIGHLY recommend that place. My family and I make trips to the mall on birthdays just to eat at that grill (and yes, we take the loooooong subway ride there).

Give it another shot, I say. It's a fun day trip if you know what you're doing.
Jerrold / June 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm
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<b>EDITOR'S NOTE</b>:

I think it's important to make clear that Chris's blog post represents the viewpoint of the individual. All entries on blogTO are just that. There is no editorial "we" here, and we don't silence opinion.

GTA Tripping is a column that highlights Chris's own experiences at various spots around the city. These are not reviews. And it's expected that his personal opinions and biases come through in all of his pieces. I think he's done a perfectly fine job of summarizing his own experience at the mall. Whether of not they're representative of or correspond to all readers' experiences is why we have comments on all of our posts, and it's good to see you all voicing your opinions and I hope that you will continue to do so. That said, I see no reason to remove this blog post.
Alan replying to a comment from jameasmallon / June 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm
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Do you think you are generalizing just a tad?
Randy / June 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm
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Well I understand from experience that the food in the food court can be crap at Pacific mall.
Even the "noodle place" with the guy making the noodles right infront of you was shit.

However i did here the Dim Sum place on the top floor was great.

For bootlegs you have to check out the surrounding malls.
Alan replying to a comment from amy / June 28, 2009 at 01:00 pm
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I agree this post is a whine (and fails at being funny), but I see a lot of whining in the comments too. It is my opinion that editorial integrity is lacking. At the same time, where do you draw the line with your writers? What line has been crossed? The post is not offensive, but simply doesn't offer a whole lot.
PC / June 28, 2009 at 02:19 pm
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A thick line should be put thru the whole article and not just the bit about the bubble tea. I know talent is hard to find but this guy is not qualified to write classified ads.
PC / June 28, 2009 at 02:22 pm
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This pictures are sh$@ too. Maybe you should of bought a better camera at the mall. lol.
b29 replying to a comment from j-rock / June 28, 2009 at 03:10 pm
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geez man, what's with the hostility?
obviously japan or whatever "over there" is full of normal people who work and live like we do. i don't think anyone has illusions about whether or not normal people exist in asia.
i just didn't realize having an interest in other cultures was such a deplorable thing!!

also, sure bukkake is a word for a type of soup, but let's be realistic here. almost no one who is not japanese is going to associate it with soup. maybe people like jerrold, who (apparently) knows his j-trivia, but yeah, that word means something else as far as most people are concerned.
Michael / June 28, 2009 at 03:35 pm
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You're a idiot beyond words Chris. Get this guy off BlogTO...Ruining the integrity of the site!
Eric / June 28, 2009 at 04:41 pm
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I guess advice for next time, go with someone who has been there before.

But I have to say, I'm REALLY surprised that you had no idea about the bootleg DVD busts. The news stories were pretty high profile.
airyloft / June 28, 2009 at 04:47 pm
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This article belongs in your personal blog and not on this site.
Elle Driver / June 28, 2009 at 05:28 pm
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Yes, the post was not well-researched. The writer had huge expectations, was left disappointed, and it effected his objectivity. He dwelled too much on the negative aspects of the mall - problems which are common in almost EVERY major mall (crime, annoying mall-cops, sub-par food court meals.) But I know Reynolds is capable of writing entertaining pieces (his search for "Exotic Meats" around T.O. was a GREAT read.) And although this article was weak, the demands for it to be taken down are a little excessive.

I'm ambivalent about the mall itself (I prefer the sights and aromatic smells of old Chinatown) but I have to give the mall a few props:

1) If you pay by cash, some of the stores won't charge tax. You just have to ask nicely. You can also bargain with stores to give you a deal. (But it helps if you can speak the language, or bring someone who can.)

2) There's a fantastic store on the top level that sells beautiful but inexpensive imported Japanese cook and dish ware. I love the stuff at Sanko, but the selection at the Utsuwa-No-Yakata is unbeatable. (And for you picky purists out there: yes, it's a Japanese owned store.)
Peter replying to a comment from Jerrold / June 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm
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That's fine, Jerrold, but there should be a difference between an amateur post on one's own personal blog and a piece of professional writing (I assume you paid Chris) on a more service-oriented blog like this one.

A piece like this needs to be more than just representative of the writer's experience; it should also show some signs of being well-informed and researched.

By all means, do not remove the post. But why not edit it? Why not ensure it gets bubble tea right the first time around? Why not challenge the suggested notion that Pacific Mall is unique in discouraging indoor photography? (Who has a no-photo policy in a mall? Everyone!)

For that matter, why didn't anyone tell poor Chris about any of the more decent spots to eat? It's like he was set up to end up impaled on his own ignorance.

And it's making him punchy. He has sent two insulting e-mails my way (I'll have to stop using my real address here, if it's not safe to) over my relatively benign comments.
Nick / June 28, 2009 at 11:01 pm
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What a horrible article. Starting from the line 1 of this article, it was clear that the author/reporter had preconceived ideas of the whole experience. Firstly, if you're going to write an article about a Chinese mall, don't be so narrow-minded. Secondly, do some research before you head up there.

Having food court dim sum is probably not a good idea. Having pho in a Chinese mall is an even worse one. And making snide remarks about arcades and karaoke, all of which are popular in Asian culture, shows the author's lack of respect for the culture and narrow-mindedness.
Nick replying to a comment from Jerrold / June 28, 2009 at 11:23 pm
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Chris should try the spicy fish balls. Dee-lish.
Jonathan / June 29, 2009 at 12:51 am
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Haha - that pic from the store that just sells those $2-$6 balls with toys - I've probably spent like...$500 there over the last few years. I actually still have a garbage can full of unopened ones ...

Um...long live PM?!

jonathan@blogTO
SomethingBetterToDo / June 29, 2009 at 09:16 am
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Good lord are people ever sensitive.
Gloria / June 29, 2009 at 09:54 am
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I'm not sure most people familiar with Chinese cuisine would be terribly worried about cow cartilage (if it was even there). Offal is a common dish or ingredient in tons of Asian dishes.

I thought some of the "humourous" asides were off-key -- strippers = heartbreakers; JFK reference = dated?; women = not permitted to have nerdy interests (or is it that the nerdy ones don't have boyfriends to be annoyed by?) -- but hey, it must float someone's boat.

I don't own a car, and I still in a million years would not try to get from downtown to any suburb on the TTC, unless it's sitting on a subway stop. Nothing is ever worth that. Offer to buy a friend lunch and pay for the gas if you really want to go.

Did you try anything stirfried? I find Chinese food courts can be awesome for that, fresh and with that wok flavour -- definitely not pho or dim sum (!!). If you ever go again, get a noodle stirfry.
Born&RaisedInTO / June 29, 2009 at 12:58 pm
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I've never been to Pacific Mall - never had any interest. But now I do! The contraversy surrounding Chris's visit and the 67 comments (lol) has intrigued me. Because of that, I think Chris's post did its job :)
Wading In / June 29, 2009 at 05:31 pm
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Pacific Mall is great for certain things, but it does help a lot to have a guide the first time. There are times where I don't find anything of interest but it's a must-go place for certain things.

-If you're on the smaller side (think East Asian body types) it's a great place to find clothes and shoes for good prices. The food isn't the greatest in town, but there are places with good food and a few hidden jems.

-As somebody else said, it's great to find household goods, especially things like rice cookers and hot water dispensers (high quality Japanese brands like Zojirishu are legitimately available for very competitive prices).

-Electronics are a highlight too. Accessories for ipod, gameing systems (you could get the DSi from Japan months before it came out here) and cellphones are aplenty.

-Candies from Japan and Hong Kong (ever had green tea and red bean kit kat?) plus dried fruit and crackers available in bulk. Walnut cakes or ice cream waffle bars made while you wait. Oh and some of those bubble tea shops also have fresh fruit smoothies and ices if you want to avoid the filling tapioca.

-the very latest eyeglass frames by all the top companies around the world again at competitive prices

-The bootleg DVD places either had a list you need to ask for or only open early or late in the day to avoid cops. Those stores are great if you want to watch whole seasons of TV shows and only have Rogers or Blockbusters outrageously expensive per disc (rather than per season boxset) rental costs.* You can also get good quality conterfeit designer bags at stores in P-mall if you ask.

-Stuffed toys, pillows and various other things for Japanese cartoons (get a giant Totoro like my friend!)

-There are also some fully legitimate stores with some hard to find stuff. You can get brand name sports shoes and gear (mostly soccer equiptment though); brand name cameras ranging from Cheki (a polaroid type camera made by Fuji) to professional grade; an amazing selection of high quality knives (want a cleaver big enough to chop up that pesky dead body?); the aforementioned Japanese ceramics, etc.


*Funny story, a friend and I were at P-mall and I came out of a DVD store to find her giving directions/advice for the mall. We talked about the bootleg DVDs. He thought the store he went to was Music World (they used Music World bags) and seemed puzzled when we said no, that's a legitimate retailer. He was genuinely surprised to hear that everything he bought was illegitimate and the stores weren't exactly legal. I couldn't believe he came to P-mall not knowing about the bootleg trade, then bought them for 7 for $20 and didn't think there was anything fishy going on!
Wading In / June 29, 2009 at 05:32 pm
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Woah, not sure why all the hard returns vanished from my post once I published it. Sorry for that.
guy smiley / June 29, 2009 at 05:42 pm
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to Michael:
"You're a idiot beyond words Chris. Get this guy off BlogTO...Ruining the integrity of the site!"
-----

Yeah..'integrity'.

Dude, blogTO it's joke (albeit an exquistly rendered one). Just savour the pretty pictures (this blog excepted) and skim past any words. Otherwise, you're just gonna get your panties in a knot from all the lightweight content, misinformation, and non-reviews.
Canchi / June 29, 2009 at 07:57 pm
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Hey there... let me respond to your post bit-by-bit, since you seem so angry.

| This is the last time I'll read anything written by this |author.
| Well, may be I should stop reading anything from blogTO??

OK.

| pho, is not anything from Hong Kong or Japan...

I didn't say that pho was from HK or Japan. At all.

| I wonder what kind of Dim Sum you had...

I admitted that it was our fault for choosing bad places... I made fun of us, not the mall.

| If you think taking such a long trip up north...

Uhhh... why are you treating this article as a Britannica entry? It was obviously just kidding around, a first-person travel story, not "serious."

| Pacific Mall has alot more to offer, for example...

Sorry I offended you so much. It's JUST a story of my experience there, NOT a wikipedia entry.

| Gundam, for someone who knows what it is...

| suicide booth? really?!

Yeah! He said that it looked like a suicide booth, which is obviously a joke and obviously funny. Or, wait, you don't get it?

Thanks for the comments, but, seriously, you missed the point. It's just kidding.

Have a good weekend!

Chris

To Chris: don't find it funny at all, and would prefer you to reply to my comment publicly. I don't expect anything on this site to be like the encyclopedia where they double check their material, or wikipedia where they have someone to edit what's wrong in their entries.
But I didn't know that I can't even expect something to be right on this site, sorry that I had such a high expectation from blogTO post.
didn't know that's too much to ask.
mydens / June 29, 2009 at 08:34 pm
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We forgive you Chris, dont cry.
Peter / June 30, 2009 at 07:41 pm
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Well, I guess I'm glad I'm not the only one he inappropriately e-mailed ....
Beth / June 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm
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On the upper level there is a really great noodle place that is owned by a couple. He makes the noodles by hand right before your eyes by stretching the dough out and then twirling it and slamming it on the table. It is really neat to watch and the noodles taste fantastic!
Sealdah / July 1, 2009 at 05:37 pm
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I thought that this was very well written, I'm a little biased though. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and now I know not to go to this mall. Thanks for the honest review.
Annalynne / July 1, 2009 at 05:45 pm
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You know this guy has feelings, right? Get a grip. So you didn't like his article, why not rip him to shreds? Get a grip.

SAM replying to a comment from Canchi / July 5, 2009 at 09:58 am
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Wow.
Firstly, if I wanted to have a laugh, id visit a comedy blog...not a Toronto-based journalist blog (where people flock to for informative facts on events, news and Toronto excentricities.

Secondly, I think we should all go back maybe 6 years to when this mall used to be intollerate to non-asian customers. But now has grown into one of the most tollerate and multi-cultural malls in Toronto. I think its people who dont give something different a chance and overgeneralize their limited experiences to the whole, who create the others intollerance.
Its people who are ignorant, intollerate and just plain impatient to new experiences be it cultural or just visiting a new place.
Im not saying the author is culturally insensitive, he DID make the efforts to visit one of the largest chinese mall in Canada, and he DOES write blogs about foreign culture.
I just think that he should have dug into his more insightful and culturally aware side for this particular article, rather than his shallow and uneducated side, which fuels intollerance on both ends.
Overall, I give him credit for writing about a mall which is a symbol for Canada's multi-culturalism and Toronto culture, however he should have been more aware of the impact of writing about such a topic would offend and stir up people of all cultures, even if it is just a mall.


BeMyBiatch replying to a comment from jameasmallon / July 6, 2009 at 01:23 pm
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Gee, if it was this shitty why is it so packed day after day? There must be something good about it? Stupid commentary following a stupid article.
kim Nguyen / June 6, 2010 at 12:27 am
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Pmall, is a hit and miss, you would have to know where to go eat to get good food .

My guideline is never have Pho at pmall. All shops are typically chinese, why go get a Vietnamese bowl of Pho when you get there?

Try the hong kong style fast food, or holly wood cafe shop on the outer edge of pmall.
jlavao / July 7, 2010 at 05:15 am
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John / January 18, 2011 at 03:35 pm
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I work security in the mall, and your a fucking moron...a radio is not high tech and futuristic. Im going to trespass you from the mall because your stupidity offends me.
LOL / January 18, 2011 at 04:15 pm
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@John - yeah, you def. work security at a mall, it's obvious from your statements here. How do you trespass someone from a place? It's "you're" not "your". A radio can be high-tech, depends on the radio and your defintion of high-tech. You've also proven the writer's point, that mall security is ridiculous, idiotic and comprised of a bunch of power tripping, wanna-be douchebags. I guess by saying "trespass you out of the mall" you mean you'd throw him out because his "stupidity offends you", so then what would you do with yourself? You come off as someone that is functionally retarded and i imagine the writer presented himself much better than you, so would you throw yourself out? Are you going to punch yourself and give yourself a talking to? Will you quit your job, citing reasons that are related to utter stupidity and ego problems? I would if I were you, you should be working in a dark hole away from the public. Rent-a-cop.
John / January 27, 2011 at 07:29 pm
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@LOL you sound as if your banging this writer, so defensive. And if you actually picked up a book, you would know the Ontario Trespass to Private Property Act. I just found this article like everybody else here mind numbing to read. Go get yourself steralized, and do society a favor you bat shit moron.
LOL / January 27, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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hahaha,amazing! keep it coming, you make yourself look more ridiculous with every word!
LOL / January 27, 2011 at 08:16 pm
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A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand).

you can't trespass someone else, you can only trespass. The TPA doesn't apply to booting people out because you're so incompetent that you think they're "stupid". You should probably read the law again. Where did you get your security guard training?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verb
John / February 2, 2011 at 07:43 pm
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from your momma!
mydens replying to a comment from Born&RaisedInTO / February 24, 2011 at 08:22 pm
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That's great logic. You are an idiot.
Fantomex replying to a comment from jameasmallon / July 19, 2011 at 04:31 am
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Oh boy, I detect a resentful racist moron opening their mouth to talk bullshit here...
ihatethismall / October 9, 2011 at 06:00 pm
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This article is spot on. I'm surprised the author didn't comment on the horrendous driving skills of people visiting that mall. On any given day you'll find nearly every section of the Highway Traffic Act violated. Every other store sells the same dvds, clothes or cellphones. There are a total of 2 washrooms for the entire mall. The food court looks like a tornado hit it at any given hour, and is not an appetizing place to eat. The amount of traffic this place generates makes steeles ace feel like the DVP at rush hour every day. This mall sucks!
ihatethismall / October 9, 2011 at 06:15 pm
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@john - and those comments about you are correct John. You clearly know nothing about the law or the rules of grammar and syntax for that matter.II'm sure the $45 you paid for your security licence really makes you feel like you're making a difference. You cannot trespass someone, only remove someone for trespassing.
Glo replying to a comment from B / March 11, 2012 at 08:27 pm
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:)Remember freedom of speech?? We should welcome any opinion whether good, bad or mediocre. I always consider other people's opinions but at the same time unless I have not experienced it myself..then I will never know if what is being said is true or not.
Glo replying to a comment from jameasmallon / March 11, 2012 at 08:42 pm
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Ok I agree with what u say about the gov't BUT like in most malls, stores, flea markets (regardless of ethnic majority) same shit different day...they all sell the same things. Few places are unique. I wish we had more cultural malls from every continent that we could ALL experience....one dedicated to West African culture, European culture, Middle Eastern, South American, etc...let us celebrate all the continents :) That is nice about the GTA....so many different people. Of course it may not be everyone's cup of tea but for those that have issues with that,I am sure there are places that would be appropriate for your taste.
Glo replying to a comment from LOL / March 11, 2012 at 09:02 pm
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LMFFFFFFFFFFAO!
Glo replying to a comment from LOL / March 11, 2012 at 09:03 pm
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Thanks all...very entertaining...hope u enjoyed my comments as I did urs...No hard feelings...freedom of speech right??! :D
Quark replying to a comment from Glo / May 16, 2012 at 06:33 pm
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Um, excuse me, but exactly where would these malls be built, and where would the capital/investors come from to build such other malls than Asian ones? The reason there are malls like Pacific Mall is because of the demand for one, and the support for one from the Chinese community. There would have to be a ton of support for 'more cultural malls from every continent that we could ALL experience....one dedicated to West African culture, European culture, Middle Eastern, South American, etc', and unless there is, or the capital to create such malls, it won't be happening at all.
Adam / September 5, 2012 at 03:58 am
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Teddy / December 9, 2012 at 12:36 am
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This is probably one of the most ridiculous posts to ever come out of blog-to. Yes it is 2012 as I type this, and the post is from 2009. Seriously? Futuristic security gears? Tell me what the difference is? Just because you had a bad time doesn't you can write an completely biased article like this. Yes they are known for illegal DVDs and stuff. But there are pros and cons to everything. Go Blame the TTC for your bad start of your day.

I've personally never had problems taking pictures in the mall.

Here is my advice, next time bring a friend that has been there a few times to bring you around. You are clearly blind and what you wrote is absolutely stupid and a waste of time for any reader.

By the way, dim sum at Pacific Mall is good, and what made you think food court would have any decent food. Oh yea, I forgot you were probably too cheap to walk into the restaurant upstairs to have a proper sit down dim sum meal with servers serving you. The restaurant has been around for many years and it is still quite busy every night.

Last post from you I will read again.


Jimgim / June 17, 2013 at 08:21 pm
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I'll be visiting Toronto this Fall . Is the Pacific Mall a good place to purchase Xiangqi ( Chinese chess ) sets ? I have a few of the cheaper sets priced around the $5.00 range . Looking to buy a nicer wood set. Thanks ..cheers !
Aura / July 7, 2013 at 02:13 am
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Okay, one thing I have to say is that, this post is definitely a whine. I've been to Pacific Mall plenty of times. Sure it can be boring sometimes, not my favorite mall; mainly because I'm not much of a shopper. Anyway, illegal dvds is hidden in the back most likely. Also I've heard a few fights there and only one homicide. Which is tragic, but you can't blame the mall for being bad. The mall is simply a place for us to shop and have fun, hang out with friends. If ones to be blame are the people. For people caused the fights, they caused homicides. Anyway, back to topic, when it comes to bubble tea. They are good as long as you know where to buy them. For many use powder in there bubble tea. I would recommend you to go to Fruits Jungle for bubble tea; mainly because, they don't use powder at all. They use real fruits. If you were to order a green tea bubble tea or something that is not fruit related, they will use ice cream instead. No powder at all. It is all natural. If you don't want the tapioca, just tell them no tapioca or simply ask for jello in replacement for the tapioca. Aside from bubble tea, Fruits jungle also sell snacks such as curry fish balls or satay beef balls along many others. You can find it at the food court on the second floor close to Beard Papa.

Also for food, there are many kinds. I never really eat there much, but I would recommend the Japanese stall in the foodcourt. There are also many other food and dim sum. Again depends on which stall you order it from. Personally I would go for the one at the very first stall of the food court that you will first see once you got off the escalator. They have some good dim sum there. There is also congee and such but I would suggest you go to Market village for that at a specific restaurant inside.

Also when it comes to snack, you should try the egg waffles. Those are the best. All I am saying is that, there are many good food or snacks, you just have to know which one to go for. If its egg waffles, I always go for the one that sell at this snack/candy shop on the second floor.

Pacific mall does not just sell cellphones and electronics, they sell clothes as well if you look around. There are also some stores that sell anime merchandise to those who are an otaku.

Then there are the houseware products and many other asian products that you seem to have missed. If you go there again next time, be sure to look at everything carefully. For aside from food, drinks and electronics, there is also some stores that sell herbs for medicines, the chinese version. There is also a clinic and pharmacy if you fail to have noticed.

It pretty much almost have everything, including jewellery and watches.

Pacific mall may not be perfect, no mall is perfect, but it is one of a kind.
jessica / December 19, 2013 at 09:54 pm
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honestly, you came to pacific mall in some of its worst years. i went there as a child (pre-2006) and it was one of my favourite places to go (after wonderland). back then there were like no security guards and i got a lot of video games for cheap. not legal but verrrry cheap. and bootleg dvds gallore. then the raid happened in 2006 i think and a lot of things changed, i didn't there from 2006-2010 because it was kind of dangourous then. its better now though since the security died down a bit

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