This has nothing to do with this post, but I want to say it anyway: I’ve been home for two weeks and Little Mom’s been making sure that everyday I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruits, mid day snacks, late night snacks, and more snacks. “Stock up for the rest of the year cuz you don’t eat at school. I know you,” she says. I get sleepy if I’m constantly full –> now I’m sleepy all day –> now I can’t blog. On the note of abundance, this post is about 4 kiosks in the food court of the Memorial Super H Mart, where my parents will most likely frequent for a quick tasty lunch after buying the kimchis and the myulchi bokkeum.
The food court makes a wavy strip at the right end of the store, starting with Tous les Jours at the door and ending with a kiosk selling kimbab (김밥) near the kimchi section far back, the tables sealed from the view of passing shoppers by a strategic row of potato sacks and artificial sunflowers. I didn’t stand long enough in front of each kiosk to read everything cuz I feel bad facing the cashier (and possibly the owner) for too long without ordering, but it appears that almost every menu more or less has the same common Korean dishes (like bibimbap (비빔밥) and galbi tang (갈비탕)). Being in a food court made us feel soup-inclined, kinda like how we opt for phở when we want a quick fill, I guess.
The non-spicy seafood noodle soup (#24, $8.11) from Sobahn Express (also signed as Bibijo(?!)) was ordered next to last but ready first. ‘Tis my first time seeing a stone bowl embedded in a wooden box. The box must have helped containing the heat longer cuz it was at least 20 minutes into eating and Little Mom was still blowing at every bite. It’s a good choice for her cuz she always likes it hot and the seasoning was just right to her taste.
My soondae guk (순대국) ($8.66) from Jumma was ordered last and ready second. It came topped with a hefty scoop of some brown powder that looks like ground pepper and tastes like tea. It has a bland bone stock that tastes like sul lung tang (설렁탕), to which I added a few teaspoons of salt and kimchi juice. There’s no dangmyeon (당면) in the soup like sul lung tang though; I just dumped the rice into the soup. With the pig intestine and liver (yum ) in thin slices and the soondae (순대) in chunks, it became sorta like a bowl of Vietnamese cháo lòng (innard porridge), a street nosh for the late night drunks and the market ahjummas.
Bi had to wait for his food for so long I thought they forgot him. But the wait was totally worth it, his samsoon jajangmyeon (삼순 자장면) ($12.99) from Daddy & Daughter was the best of the three. The black soybean sauce (jajang (자장)) is sweet and thick but not fatty. Now I know why they make it look so good in dramas: it really is good. Better than chowmein and pad thai. (Once upon a time I idiotically ordered my very first jajangmyeon at a Chinese restaurant whose name I won’t say, it was so boring I had to stop after 3 bites.
It goes to say that if you can’t make an ethnic dish as good as or better than the people of that ethnicity, then don’t tarnish its name by making it. Considering that jajangmyeon originates from China, it goes to say that if you can’t make your own ethnic dish as good as or better than the people of another ethnicity, then you might as well stop making it.)
I like places like Toreore: upfront and simple about what they dish out. There are 8-10 choices of fried chicken and you need to decide if you want 7 ($8.65) or 14 pieces, but we always stick to the non-spicy kind and that leaves us one option: garlic soy sauce chicken. It ain’t no OB Chicken Town but sure is better than KFC. Mom liked the sweetness, Bi liked the juiciness, I liked that they liked it.
These Korean fried chickens have cute pictures, too.
The place is crowded with the continuous flow of families and carts pre- and post-shopping but the people are quiet. The tables are not squeaky clean but a quick tissue wiping would do. Foods are served on blue plastic trays and the kimchi isn’t top notch, but you’re not paying 18 bucks a meal. The Super H Mart food court is the best among the food courts I’ve been to in terms of both taste and atmosphere. As Little Mom says, we feel at home because the shoppers here share a similar culture, yet we can also talk comfortably because the neighboring tables don’t share our language.
Address: Super H Mart food court
1302 Blalock Road
Houston, TX 77055