Let’s go to the mall

Saturday, February 16th, 2008 | All Things, Eats

On SYB’s actual birthday, we headed into Flushing for a Spicy & Tasty lunch. Only this time, unlike the last a couple of weeks ago, I managed to snap a few photos of the food. We love this place almost as much as Bruni does.

Sesame Cold Noodle. The first time I tasted a version of this dish was in the late-1980s, at my classmate DLW’s apartment on the Upper West Side. A few bites of those slippery noodles bathed in sauce that tasted like sweet, spicy peanut butter — which it probably was — and I was smitten. His mom, who had placed the order from their neighborhood Szechuan (now: Sichuan) joint was surprised by my unfamiliarity with this take-out staple. I tried to explain that it just wasn’t the type of Chinese food that came out of my Cantonese parents’ kitchen.

Spicy & Tasty’s version tastes nothing like Skippy┬«Creamy, but is just as addictive.

Sesame Noodles

Our (mostly) meatless menu: Eggplant with Garlic Sauce and Mapo Tofu. ‘Til next time, Lamb with Chili Pepper…

Spicy & Tasty spread

And for dessert, we strolled around the corner to the Flushing Mall. Stepping inside this place is like a portal into another culture, with its maze of shops hawking gaudy fashions, cell phone accessories, Asian home furnishings, glittering jewelry, dry goods, CDs, DVDs and Daewoo and Haier electronics. But we were here for the popular food court on the lower level.

The set-up is reminiscent of the type of eateries found in Asia, worlds away from American suburbia where “food court” conjures images of Mrs. Fields, Cinnabon and Orange Julius (yes, it still exists! — just no longer in New York.) And this afternoon, as part of the ongoing New Year’s celebrations, there was even a concert, featuring erhu and pipa.

Flushing Mall

The bounty of regional specialties is served from stands that line the walls, fast food style: hand-pulled noodles, dumplings, congee, crepes, shabu shabu… We located the drinks and desserts stand and considered our options. Most of the food court’s posted menus don’t bother with English translations; this one did, but it provided precious little guidance.

Flushing Mall stand

I placed an order for “Red Bean Ice,” expecting a small dish along the lines of what is served at Otafuku. A minute later, I was summoned to the counter and handed this styrofoam bowl heaped with a mini-mountain of fluffy white ice shards, red beans, multi-colored flecks of agar-agar jelly and a scoop of red bean ice cream. Gadzooks, the whole concoction could have fed three or four, easily.

Red Bean Ice

On a hot day — which, this being February, it most definitely was not — this super-sweet, frozen treat probably hits the spot.┬á One can also customize the ices from a fixins bar spread of day-glo colored toppings: candied fruits, tapioca pearls, various beans, condensed milk, syrups and jellies.

At the mall, having fun is what it’s all aboot!

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There are 2 Comments ... Let’s go to the mall

Qsoz
February 28, 2008

I’m gonna rock your body till Canada Day!

vipnyc
February 29, 2008

Best. Episode. Ever.
And one that has paid off ample dividends as well.

Go for it ...