Why do Malaysians call these stores ‘kedai berhantu’?

Malaysians are talented in making up trendy phrases and urban slang. Makcik bawang (literally means ‘onion aunties’) for instance, refers to women who like to gossip.

Why the onions? The gossiping usually happens while they are in the kitchen chopping onions, hence the name ‘makcik bawang’.

Another common lingo among Malaysian netizens is ‘kedai berhantu’ or ‘haunted store’. Despite what it sounds like, there is no supernatural activity going on at the so-called haunted store.

Let say you go into a store wanting to buy a chopping board. A couple hours later you come out with not only a chopping board but also a laundry basket, a notebook, a tablecloth, a screwdriver and a pet collar (although you don’t own a pet)… then that store is referred to as kedai berhantu.

Basically, a kedai berhantu is a shop that will make you lose your self-control and any self-discipline you may have had in managing your finances as you suddenly indulg in some retail therapy that you didn’t really need. While we cannot attest to the quality of items bought in these ‘kedai berhantu’, we can confirm the variety of items offered there.

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So here are the famous ‘kedai berhantu’ that can be found throughout Malaysia:

1.Mr DIY

The first branch of Mr DIY was first opened in July 2005 and now it has claimed to be the largest home improvement retailer in Malaysia.

While the name said ‘DIY’, most of the items offered are ready made with 16,600 types of products.

Unless you want to do some repair works DIY, then this is the place to be. You can get everything you need to fix your plumbing, electrical appliances and sew your clothes here.

You can also get your car accessories, toys and furnishing items at Mr DIY.

If you are organising a kid’s party, this is also the place to be. You can get everything from party decoration, party favour to presents for kids here.

Mr DIY’s most underrated category is in fact its stationary section. If you are into bullet journals or book decorating, there are so many kinds of affordable stickers, sticky notes and notebooks to choose from.

2. The ‘kedai berhantu’ from Japan, Daiso

This 100-yen shops franchise was founded in Japan way back in 1977.

Now, it has more than 2,800 stores in Japan and 700 stores outside of Japan such as in Malaysia, Australia and Oman.

With more than 100,000 products to offer, these items are actually made in Japan, China and South Korea.

Since the Japanese are renowned for their creativity and innovativeness, you can expect out-of-the-ordinary items from Daiso.

They have products that you never thought you might need but they are undeniably useful.

For example, have you ever thought you might need a cover for your table or standing fan? After using this fan cover, you might not need to disassemble your fan every time you clean it.

How about special powder to get rid of stray cats from your compound? We cannot guarantee it would work but it is worth giving it a try.

If you are into mini block puzzle or 3D puzzle, it is definitely worth to buy one from Daiso because of its affordable price.

Trying to make cute bento for yourself or your children? Daiso is a starter place for you to buy the essentials to make cute bento.

In Malaysia, all products are priced RM5.90.

3.ECO Shop

In West Malaysia, every item costs RM2.10 while it is priced RM2.30 in East Malaysia. Nonetheless, every item from ECO Shop is still worth the money.

Besides the usual kitchenware, gardening tools and household items, ECO Shop offers a great variety of food and drinks.

You can splurge on junk food and soft drinks here. Other supply such as spices, instant food can be found here too.

Let say if you are craving for a 3-in-1 Milo drink but you don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy the whole packet, you can buy a few sticks of it for RM2.30 or less.

Or you want to make a pancake at home and you don’t want to make a large batch, you can find a small packet of instant pancake at ECO Shop.

Overall, it is a perfect place for someone who lives alone or has a small family.


If you are strongly convinced that your home does not have enough containers or hangers, Ninso is the place to be.

How about more baskets or water bottles at your home?

Like other ‘kedai berhantu’ on this list, Ninso is a store where you think one more item wouldn’t hurt your pocket.

And in the end, you walk out telling yourself that you might not need it today but you will need it one day.

You can also find products from famous brands such as 100Plus, Pantene, Colgate and Julie’s.

5. The ‘kedai berhantu’ for interior design enthusiasts, Kaison

If you are into interior design, Kaison might be considered as ‘kedai berhantu’ for you.

There are many decorative items such as plastic plants and flowers as well as wall decoration at Kaison.

Their rugs, throw pillows, fancy decorative lights are perfect for those who want to touch up their homes.

For those who are looking into wedding planning or event management business, Kaison is a great place to get your items to decorate your events.

Besides that, other items that worth buying from Kaison are fluffy toys, tote bags, toiletries bag and notebooks.

It is the place to be if you ever need to buy a housewarming gift or present for a friend who just started a new job.

Do you have other Malaysian stores that you consider ‘kedai berhantu’? Let us know in the comment box. If you are visiting Malaysia for the first time, make sure to visit one of these ‘kedai berhantu’. Do not be surprised how many random things you can get in a trip.

Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science.

She is currently obsessed with silent vlogs during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to her obsession, she started her Youtube channel of slient vlogs.

Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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