Cover Photos: Qra

What gives Qra an edge vis–à-vis its competitors?This article was first published on February 10 and updated on June 4, 2021

Qra, which first opened in the upper-class residential neighbourhood of Bukit Tunku on January 13, 2021, reignites the excitement of visiting supermarkets abroad—a thrill that is felt all the more given the current travel limitations. Redolent of Whole Foods in the US and Planet Organic in the UK, Qra identifies as a modern neighbourhood grocer that is geared towards supplying Malaysians with better services and the freshest food. Read on to find out why you should visit or, if you have already been, to see if you can relate to our enthusiasm.

TATLER TIP: The supermarket chain opens its second branch at The Five @ KPD in Damansara Heights on Friday, June 4, 2021.

1. A sense of community

From poultry purely fed with pineapples to Chitose strawberries and white sweet corn cultivated in Cameron Highlands, a wealth of local produce awaits you at Qra, whose mission is to form close collaborations with farmers and makers. 

Pick up some freshly baked bread from Provisions, Asian vegetable varieties from Cultiveat and, if you fancy a pet project, one of Eats, Shoots & Roots' home garden kits, which were designed to empower everyone to grow their own food in their backyards or on their balconies.

See also: Why Fine Dining Chefs Are Ordering Their Produce From Weeds & More

2. A safe haven for customers with food allergies

Snack shopping isn't so much a joy as a chore when one reacts badly to dairy, nuts, wheat, seafood, et cetera. Although the topic is often swept under the carpet in Malaysia, which still sees low levels of food allergy awareness, Qra is getting the conversation going by being more conscious in its food curation.

Spotted on Qra's shelves: Banza, an award-winning brand specialising in gluten-free chickpea pasta; From The Ground Up's cauliflower pretzels; Humble Vegan's chocolate bars; and even RightRice made from vegetables—because even Asians face rice allergies. If this is what inclusivity looks like, we're all for it.

ICYMI: Will Oat Become The King of Plant-Based Milks?

3. Plant-based options aplenty

Another reason why Qra has become a fast favourite among many households is the supermarket's sheer variety of plant-based products.

For a quick protein fix, stock up on meat-free jerky flavoured with teriyaki, mesquite lime, Thai peanut or Texas BBQ. If it's a home-cooked feast you're after, explore Qra's frozen foods aisle, where you'll find products by local champion Rawsome sharing the same shelves as popular international brands like OmniMeat and Beyond Meat. One of our exciting finds on a recent visit was Rawsome's meat-free renditions of local dishes such as Rendang and Pan Mee; these heat-and-eat meals have on-the-go individuals in mind.

See also: A Comparison Of Sushi Ryu's Beyond Meat Katsu Sando And Beef Katsu Sando

4. Sustainability

Before visiting Qra, pack up a few jars and containers, which will come in handy in the bulk foods section; no matter if you've forgotten, as there are also paper bags onsite. All manner of dry goods—nuts, beans, seeds, grains, and even colourful noodles—are priced by weight.

But what gets first-time customers in a tizzy is Qra's grind-your-own peanut butter station. Benefits to grinding your own nut butter include knowing that your jar doesn't contain any mysterious preservatives or additives.

Bio-degradable paper cutlery and servingware by brands such as Purec and Ecodisposable are just a few aisles away, near the booze and non-halal goods.

Related: 5 Places To Shop Sans Plastic Packaging

5. Convenient grab-and-go coffee, pastries and meals

Qra's coffee corner is literally the first thing you'll see when you enter the supermarket. Get a cup to go after having completed your errands or, if you need a cup right there and then, place it in your supermarket trolley's coffee cup holster—how's that for convenience?

If coffee isn't your cup of tea, know that the café also offers matcha and houjicha beverages in partnership with Niko Neko Matcha. We were sold on the availability of oat milk as an option and the freshly baked goods looked mighty tempting behind their glass casings.

Prefer a savoury bite to sweet treats? Peruse the ready foods section next to the checkout counters to pick up a sandwich, wrap, salad and/or bowl of soup.

6. Family-friendly space

A heartwarming sight, kids are often spotted proudly pushing their own 'fun-sized' supermarket trolleys at Qra—a clever way to keep them occupied and to make them feel involved in household chores.

Also keeping tantrums in check are Qra's self-checkout counters, which admittedly take some time to get used to, but definitely minimise time spent waiting in queues. You'll begin to wonder why they're not more prevalent in the Klang Valley.

Visit Qra At:

Bukit Tunku: Lot E1, E2 & F2, Taman Tunku, Kuala Lumpur

The Five @ KPD: Kompleks Pejabat Damansara, Jalan Dungun, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur (next to the Semantan MRT Station)

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