How much do I adore my little Munch? She is easy-going, always up for a little shopping, and is an open-minded eater, so it's just great fun taking her out exploring with me. We met up with my sister and nephew at the Pacific East Mall-
they've never been, and I was crossing my fingers that traffic both on the freeway and in the mall would be light since it was Veterans' Day. Since we arrived before them (and we were ready for a snack), we popped into the Hong Kong Snack House for a green pandan coconut egg puff (just like the one we had last time-I've had them on the brain ever since). They also make plain, chocolate, and strawberry egg puffs, but Munch's favorite color IS green, and so she always chooses green food. (Yes, when I first made it for her, Munch turned her nose up at my buttery bread-crumb topped REAL mac & cheese casserole- too fancy, she said, before happily gobbling up her broccoli instead)
This is Munch trying to chew and smile at the same time.
Once cousin A. showed up, we started wandering around. First stop was a shop filled with dried and preserved fruit. We also popped into a shop overflowing with Hello Kitty knick-knacks. I'd occasionally forget myself, and pick up an interesting item (wondering what it was) to read the label, then realize the mish-mash of Chinese or Japanese characters were not helping me a bit. It took my sister and I quite a bit of discussion and studying to determine that this one cute miniature car was indeed, a pencil sharpener. (We still can't figure where the shavings come out!) The kids zeroed in on these adorable lollipops, so they each got to pick one out.
Next stop was Ten Ren, where we picked up some bubble teas- I ordered a black milk tea, Munch got the strawberry at the recommendation of the grandfatherly man at the counter (it was more sweet than I was expecting, but still good- with bits of crushed strawberries), and cousin A. had the honeydew. He'd never had bubble tea before-
and in the end the large tapioca pearls disturbed him so much, we poured them out.
Next stop was the take-out dim sum counter inside the 99 Ranch market. I know, there ARE restaurants in this shopping center, but this is a real quick and easy option when I'm running around with a toddler. Munch polished off an order and a half of har gow in no time. She immediately finished off the remainder after her nap later that afternoon. I managed to sneak a shrimp dumpling from her, and also ordered some chive dumplings, and a sticky rice dumpling stuffed with pork.
Before heading home, we made two more stops- first to the Sheng Kee bakery where I picked up some delicious black sesame cookies that I've been enjoying every day with some lychee-flavored black tea (another purchase from 99 Ranch).
and as I waited in line to purchase them, I was thrilled to see a man ahead of me with a basket full of egg custard tarts. I had searched for them on our previous visit with no luck- turns out, they were on the counter (I never would have noticed them otherwise!) and I grabbed the last few. Next to them were also Portuguese-style custard tarts, so I got one for comparison- it's the more caramelized one on the right-
I can't remember when I was in San Francisco last, so I'm glad to have a closer source for these. The egg custard tarts were tasty, but the crust was definitely not as flaky as you'd find in other Chinese bakeries or dim sum restaurants. I did enjoy the Portuguese-style tart, mostly because the creamier, more vanilla-flavored custard filling was a lot like creme brulee.
Last stop was the Candy Box, where a really nice woman kept the samples coming. She seemed to have some favorites and was eager to share them. Munch loved her, especially as she gave us another heaping handful of samples as we headed out the door. We purchased these grape and lychee flavored chews-
and these adorable chocolate biscuits (they're tiny-about the size of my thumb to my knuckle)