I have been going to Super 88 at least two times per week for a while now, having promised my daughter I would get her coconut pearl tea on Mondays and Fridays. Hence, I have had an opportunity to try some of the offerings, both from the takeout area of the store and from various restaurants in the food court. Here are some of my observations.
1 Brighton Ave. (corner of Malvern; near intersection with Comm. Ave.) Free parking--but sometimes crowded (e.g. on weekends). Food court open 11-midnight. Note: most of the restaurants were open on Thanksgiving.
Super 88's takeout food counter.
Stir-fried veggies (in a pie pan take-out container), and a similar mixture in the fried bean curd rolls were both okay. I didn't find them as wonderful as others have reported.
The egg tarts are just terrific!!!! The custard is not overly sweet, and the contrast with the flaky crust is just superb.
Custard buns nothing to write home about. They were sort-of slimy in an unappealing way. Japonaise's are much better.
The pork buns were, on first taste, very good, with a relatively large amount of pork--but the second time, they had lots of unappealing pieces of pork fat in them. If you get one of those, it sort-of turns you off....
Beef buns are filled with sort-of fatty ground beef with little or no seasoning.
Beef Curry (packed in containers) is EXTREMELY fatty.... Also, the list of ingredients is so obviously lacking that I fear for anyone who has some sort of allergy who eats something from the takeout area.
Now on to the Food Court!
Ajisen Noodle (617-789-5559).
Curry noodles with bbq'd pork were not great and were very messy to eat.
Curried rice is decent when you are in the mood for something that is curry-flavored. The rice was studded with egg and bits of carrot and scallion. The overall effect was dry though.
Lollicup Tea Zone (617-782-BOBA).
Despite what I have heard, the lines are frequently nonexistent or very short. Of course, I deliberately avoid the worst times, though. Opening times were very unreliable as of late November/early December, but they may have straightened this out.
Coconut milk tea is very good according to my daughter, who is, by now, an expert on this flavor.
Passionfruit juice is generally excellent. (By the way, you can get passionfruit syrup in the store!)
Plum fruit juice was so sweet and syrupy that was ndrinkable.
Thai Tea was fine.
Note that we have had all of these WITH PEARLS. The pearls vary from being pretty soft to being a bit firmer. They have never been as chewy as I like them, but I am desperate.
Mambo Cafe (617-252-0380). Venezuelan. CLOSED MONDAYS.
Roast pork arepa--I agree with others' assessments that these are heavy and rather disappointing; boring.
The chicken and avocado arepa was nicer but desperately needs seasoning, which seems to be the case with a lot of the fare at Mambo.
The cachapas was interesting. Note that the corn sticks to your teeth though.
The tortilla espanola was, again, very underseasoned. It needs salt at the very least.
The dense-textured flan comes in huge slabs. It is very good.
Misono Grill (617-783-9188/9488). Korean.
(Beef) Bulgogi has good flavor. The meat is kind of shreddy but not ultrafatty. It's nice that it comes with a little salad, beansprouts, and kimchee. It is served over rice.
(Eel) Bulgogi--you get a very generous amount of eel for the price. Be sure to bring your stash of sansho.
Chap chae is an excellent version, with lots of slightly sweetened (?) egg strips. My daughter likes this a lot, as do I.
Gun Mandu were the best version of these (and related dumplings) I have tasted, although they are kind-of long and floppy and hence difficult to dunk in the dipping sauce. The addition of yam noodles to the filling makes it less dense--and better.
Stir-fried rice cakes and fish cakes was interesting. Be warned that the sauce is pretty hot.
The seafood pancake... Hmmmm, I forget, which probably means good but not memorable.
Oubon Cafe (617-254-9188). Thai and Laotian. NB: they use the canned sauce!
Mee Krob--noodles much too hard; almost seems like they start with the dried chow mein noodles, although I doubt that is the case. Anyway, they might be good otherwise.
Noodles in tom yum-type soup. This was okay. Just hot with no interesting nuances of flavor. I am still looking for the ultimate version of this.
Thai Tea-very good.
Sugar Bowl (617-254-8892); 7 days per week, 10:30-midnight.
Deep-fried quail... Hmmm. Quail are, well, small. I know that's obvious, but this means you don't want to eat them in front of the computer. It also means you want to bring your stash of moist towelettes, because you're gonna have to pick them up. To be perfectly honest, these would have been better if I didn't drag them back home with me. If they started out being crispy, they weren't half an hour after I got them. The dominant flavor was either 5-spice powder or star anise. Garnished with finely julienned carrot and daikon and various herbs, including Thai basil, all in a much-too-salty sauce. It seems to me that the presentation was different for nontakeout, but I am not inspired enough to try this again.
Lemongrass Chicken--I've had much better lemongrass preparations. This one was somewhat spicy but lacked any lemongrass flavor. Also with the ubiquitous veggie combination, minus the broccoli.
Noodles with pork and shrimp--decent. The herbs impart nice flavors, but the sauce could be more interesting.
Curried chicken with veggies--My daughter likes this, although it varies greatly in spiciness. I think Pho Pasteur's curries are better (more redolent of lemongrass), but they may have declined.
Stir-fried wide rice noodles--the noodles themselves were pretty much lacking in flavor, although the dish also included a lot of beef and [the usual] veggies.
Limeade with Jasmine Tea--very good to terrific, but served with a ton of ice. Gotta try this combo at home. It's obviously super-easy to make.
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