I’m not a big fan of holidays. Especially the manufactured holidays, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Earth Day, or any of the others that arise not out of ancient pagan fertility rites but more modern constructions of the retail-industrial complex designed to make people go out and buy stupid presents – spend their hard-earned cash on superfluous consumer tripe rather than save it so it can be eventually lost in bad investments – like it should.
Now, I’m not complaining about my gifts, mind you. I may be stubborn, but I’m not stupid. Candy gave me a very nice pen – I’ll take some photographs in a few days. Still, I didn’t really want to celebrate – fight the lunch crowds – and said I’d eat some leftover beans instead.
But Lee was hungry so we went out to eat anyway. When asked where I wanted to go, I replied, “The food court at the mall.”
OK, I live in a Texas Suburb. Those of you a long way away probably are now thinking of big slabs of grilling beef and people wearing boots and ten-gallon hats. Those of you a little closer are thinking about typical American Mall fare – like what?… Cinabon, Steak Escape, Orange Julius (are these still around?) Dog on a Stick? – Jeez, I have no idea what a mall has in its food court anymore.
At any rate, that’s not what I’m talking about. This may be a boring Texas Big City Suburb, but the world is a much more diverse place than you think it is. My neighborhood mall is the Saigon Mall, a Vietnamese-Oriented complex constructed upon the carcass of an extinct Target, and its Food Court is a place of strange and wondrous sustenance.
Food Court Entrance to the Saigon Mall
My only disappointment is that the self-serve frozen yogurt place is gone. I’m going to have to find another place for my Durian ice cream fix now. Candy has a Cuisinart Ice-Cream maker… maybe I could make my…. no, better not. Durian preparation is probably something best left up to professionals.
We walked around a bit and examined the various purveyors of various cuisines – Lee was close to getting a pound of boiled crustaceans from the Crawfish Hut, Candy looked at a new stand that promised “Real Thai Cooking”, and I considered some Pho – but we eventually decided on sandwiches from Lee’s – an always reliable and delicious choice.
When ordering sandwiches, I tend to get the #1 combo – no matter what is in it. They have decided to put this at the top of their menu and they know better than I.
My Sandwich - #1 combo with Thai Iced Tea.
My sandwich was not as blurry as this picture suggests. The fresh cilantro and other herbs along with the crunchy fresh-made baguettes really set these apart from the usual boring sub fare. There was some sort of very hot pepper hiding inside somewhere, I needed another tea. You can see the Boba in my tea – it was very good, though I have no idea what was in it.
After we had our sandwiches, we went down to the Boba Tea/Smoothie place. We always love this spot. Lee and I love Boba but Candy says she “doesn’t want any of those little snot-balls” in her beverage, which I can’t really argue with. The place used to be called Teahouse, but it has a new logo – “I (heart) Boba” – though the menu seems pretty much the same. The menu consists of a list of pretty much every substance on earth – thrown into a blender with either tea, ice, or some sort of “cream” mixture. I felt like coconut, which was number 114, and the list went on from there for a long way. Then you can get Boba, or Gummy Bears, or anything else, really, dumped in for extra amusement. I felt like some “snot-balls” today, so I had Boba.
Candy and Lee at the Smoothie Place
Candy and Lee enjoying their smoothies.
Here’s the giant lunch menu outside one of the several restaurants in the Saigon Mall. I don’t want to sound like some ignorant American Redneck, but my honest reaction to this is, “What the hell is this stuff?” I see some shrimp arranged in a nice, attractive circle, but it surrounds some strange looking brownish sauce with white flecks – it looks like it might be too spicy, even for me. One dish is labeled “Salmon or Yellowtail” which is reassuring, but nothing in the picture next to it resembles fish in any way.
I hate the feeling when you order something at random and the waiter’s eyes get big and that concerned look crosses their face. They will shake their head from side to side, and say, “Oh, you don’t want to order that.” Sometimes I’ll stubbornly push ahead and insist, eagerly waiting until the plate of something arrives and is set down in front of me.
You know, those waiters are always right. I should listen more often.
Oh, I stumbled across this… Here’s something you should NEVER, EVER do in a mall food court.