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Restaurants & Bars 4

International Mall, Westmont last Sunday

Cathy2 | Sep 11, 200312:59 AM

Last Sunday was a glorious day to meet with our Chowhound buddies … yep 3 out of the last 4 days had included one Chowhound related event or another. I had been to International Mall several years before during a weekday, which I found to be a rather dead place. Pick a table, any table, it is yours! Point to the menu and most items were not available. I felt like I was back in Moscow, USSR … little on the menu was available. However, from posts here it appeared this place really comes alive on weekends.

When I pulled into the parking lot Sunday, I had to wait for a car to exit to obtain a parking place. Walking into the door, the line to one stand featuring dumplings was at least 20 people deep. Clearly it was going to be a challenge to seat our group of 15+ because all the tables were occupied. We did find a series of booths available, though Leek and the Condiment Queen had to balance a wobbly table on cafeteria trays, which surprised a roving busboy.

Since I was not involved in the ordering, I will sketch out what we selected and hope somebody more knowledgeable will complete or correct my gaffes.

- While standing in line, Erik spied an interesting dish someone was unloading from their cafeteria tray. He wasn’t comfortable inquiring, so I stepped in to make inquiries. It was an oyster pancake from the last booth. This dish was bean sprouts and oysters cooked in egg with oyster sauce on top - Chinese variant of a Spanish tortilla. Erik then moved on to order this dish. I advised a friend later of this dish, who advised her husband who grew up in Hong Kong used to regularly eat this pancake.

- Erik also spied an interesting sandwich, which was also ordered. It was a somewhat flat, crusty bread with roast beef and cilantro. My friend was also familiar with this dish, the beef is simmered in five-spice stock, chilled, sliced and served on bread with the cilantro. Sometimes people will add Hoisin sauce, this was not present in our sandwich and she doesn’t use it either.

- VI did the principal ordering, among the dishes was “Crisp Fish Fillet (hot)” for $6.75. This was not a fish fillet but a whole fish in a sauce, which was rich and complex though not very hot.

- Tofu sheets stuffed with vegetable was a rare cold dish.

- Two different types of boiled dumplings, which were clearly handmade. One came in a hot sauce and the other came by itself.

- Mike G brought late to the meal two Vietnamese pancakes stuffed with shrimp and bean sprouts. Some people were beginning to groan there might be too much food, but somehow we tucked neatly into these pancakes because it wasn’t around too long.

- There was a spicy noodle soup ordered. Leek commented it had kick. I avoided it thereafter knowing she has a greater heat tolerance than myself.

- There was a combination condiment container, which had preserved egg, cold seaweed and the surprise pork ear (I just popped it not considering what it was … only after reading David Hammond’s post did I realize what it was: great!). Maybe there were other things in there but the lighting wasn’t too good.

- We also had the Chinese twisted cruller to dip in warm soy milk. VI’s chowhounditas were quite excited at the prospect of eating this treat. There was so much to choose from, VI kept reminding people to eat these crullers while they were still warm and delicious. (just reading the take-out menu post-facto, I learned their weekend breakfast offerings include beef as well as pork flapjacks, salted or sweet rice ball and the ever popular soy bean jello)

- Chinese chive boxes – a bun with a hollow inside stuffed with Chinese chives.

As always, it was an education meeting up with our Chowhound friends.

Best regards.

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