So if bubble tea has been 'The' thing for 2011, I'm willing to wager that popcorn is going be 'It' for 2012! Gone are the days when all we were exposed to was regular cinema popcorn; today gourmet popcorn stalls are 'popping' up (sorry I just had to =P) everywhere, leaving us spoilt for choice! The first and only time we've done a comparison post was when ChaTime and GongCha were all the rage. This time we're going to look at the 2 most popular popcorn players right now - Garrett Popcorn and Planet Popcorn!
|Pictures taken with Wendy's old dropped-aplenty iPhone 3GS so please bear with the quality|
Since Wendy works near Sunway Pyramid, she's pretty up-to-date on all the latest shops that open there. Truth be told Planet Popcorn has existed for awhile now, but it was during our recent popcorn craze that she decided to buy me a few packets to try.. =D
Whilst the Planet Popcorn in Sunway Pyramid occupies a centre stall upstairs near the Maxis Centre, the one in Times Square is on the Lower Ground floor near ChaTime and Nando's. Those are the only two shops so far in KL (according to their Facebook page), so it's not like as if it's gotten a big head start on Garrett even though it opened first.
The biggest difference between Planet and Garrett is the variety of flavours; while Garrett only has 3-4 choices which are quite conventional (coming up next), Planet Popcorn seems to make popcorn out of every flavour possible! Check out the picture of the menu and you'll know I'm not joking.. =D
|Cheese, Chocolate, Wasabi|
I wasn't there when Wendy bought the Planet Popcorn, so the flavours were all her choosing. For our "taste test", she chose Caramel (RM 8.90), Chocolate (RM 10.90), Cheese (RM 10.90) and Wasabi (RM 9.90)! Prices for Planet range from around RM8 - RM11, making it cheaper than Garrett by 40-50%.
Big Difference No. 2 between Planet and Garrett is that Planet Popcorn comes in a resealable bag to preserve its freshness. These bags should not be underestimated - we didn't finish the popcorn for more than 2 weeks, and even then it was still good to eat! Since each bag of popcorn is so big, it's really handy for us to keep it for that long since the both of us can't finish so much popcorn at one go.
This is the Caramel...
And this is the Wasabi.
Overall, I found the Caramel to be not very sweet, almost at the same level as cinema popcorn except with a slightly different flavour, less buttery.
The Chocolate and Wasabi definitely lived up to their names, especially the Wasabi! I usually shy away from wasabi, and I totally shied away from this after the first few kernels because of the familiar straight-to-the-nose feeling that comes with eating the green powder. For those looking for a totally new experience with popcorn, I highly recommend this. It's slightly sweet at first taste, and then the kick unassumingly creeps up on you and attacks your nose. Haha.
I didn't fancy the Cheese, but Wendy thought it was okay as a snack. It had a very artificial, Twisties-like flavour to it.
For those looking for a less dramatic adventure, just try the Chocolate. That turned out to be my favourite of the 4. =D
While Planet Popcorn thrives in diversity, Garrett brings us familiar flavours, yet delivers it in a form far from what we are used to!
The first time I laid eyes and hands on Garrett was way back in June 2010 when we visited Universal Studios Singapore. For me, it was love at first kernel! I honestly did not know popcorn could taste so much better. Back then Garrett hadn't opened in Malaysia yet, and I was so enthusiastic about this awesome product that I seriously considered looking to start a franchise. Unfortunately their website said that they didn't entertain franchise requests, so that put a swift end to that dream. =(
Fast forward 6 months later, and Garrett has now opened it's first branch in KLCC! From Day 1 it's been obvious my business instinct about Garrett didn't fail me - there have been queues the length of Chatime outside the shop since the place opened. Queues are obviously longer during lunch hours, so expect to wait about 10-15 minutes for your turn.
|Takes a bit longer than 60, but it's close. =P|
Garrett only offers 4 main flavours at different prices, instead of the wide range that Planet has.
This is the simple lightly buttered popcorn (RM9 for a small bag). You can also get a bag of plain popcorn for the same price.
And this is what Garrett stakes its name on - The Chicago Mix! A mixture of their CaramelCrisp and popcorn. The price is RM16 for a small bag, the same price for which you can also get a bag of plain CaramelCrisp or plain CheeseCorn if you don't like 'em mixed.
If you like nuts, Garrett also has a variation of their popular CaramelCrisp popcorn that comes with either macademias, roasted cashews or almonds.
A small bag of CaramelCrisp with nuts costs RM 19, and the small version of these nutty variations is a lot smaller than the usual "small" that they dish out for all the other normal popcorn flavours at Garrett.
Like I said earlier, while Planet Popcorn comes in resealable bags, Garrett Popcorn is dished out into simple paper bags and double-bagged in a brown bag to take-away. In Singapore the staff will staple the brown bag, but here it's just folded down. No way is it airtight, meaning there's no way this will keep fresh for more than a day.
Taste-wise, Garrett Popcorn is on a different level compared to everyone else. I am personally a big fan of Garrett so I'll try hard not to be bias, but honestly it's a simple fact that the kernels are simply bigger than cinema popcorn or even Planet Popcorn!
The caramel is also very, very sweet, significantly sweeter than regular popcorn. This is one of those love-it-hate-it things, where those like me will love it for the sweetness, while I've also heard many say it's too sweet for their liking. Well there's never right or wrong in personal preference, but it's something worth taking note of. =)
Truth be told, I do find the CaramelCrisp on its own to be a bit overwhelming, especially after a few large handfuls. That's why I think The Chicago Mix is really the best idea Garrett has come up with, because the savoury taste of cheddar cheese popcorn balances perfectly with the sweetness of caramel! Plus, the textures are like day and night - the CaramelCrisp is (like its name says) crispy and the CheeseCorn is soft and nearly melts in your mouth.
Pop one of each in your mouth and you'll taste the same kind of yin and yang that comes with eating hot brownies with cold ice-cream. Definitely a perfect match! =D
Planet Popcorn is a pretty good contender in our local popcorn scene at the moment, for those who prefer milder flavours. However, for those who like all things extreme and sinful, Garrett will be your only go-to place for some popperific, top-quality popcorn! Now... if only we could have it more often, no thanks to its hefty price!
Planet Popcorn (near Maxis Centre) | Site
F1.100D, 1st Floor
Sunway PyramidNo. 3 Jalan PJS11/15, Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya
Garrett Popcorn | SiteLot C151, Concourse Floor,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
50088 Kuala Lumpur