Mall Food Court Turo-Turo: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Categories: Local Eats
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Dave Lieberman
I don't know why it never occurred to me that Filipino turo-turo ("point-point") food is a perfect fit for a mall food court. You almost never see Filipino food in malls, even though you see takes on Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian.

Laguna Hills Mall's creepy upstairs food court (it's the only thing upstairs, and it's just plain dark and weird) has a lot of shuttered posts, but of the five places open, one had a long line: Pinoy Pam's Best, a Filipino steam-tray restaurant that could have been any of our local places (Manila Groove, Kapit Bahay, etc.).

I'd already eaten lunch, so I can't tell you whether the food was any good, but it certainly looked and smelled appetizing: a couple of types of pancit (stir-fried noodles that put lo mein to shame), fish in coconut milk, afritada, lechon kawali, chicken adobo, bitter melon, and a station for fried goods -- whole fish, lumpia Shanghai and turon (fried banana egg rolls). They were serving ube shakes made to order, as well. I asked some folks who were eating the food what they thought; they said it wasn't mom's cooking, but nothing is.

There are thousands of Filipino-Americans in Orange County; why are there not more Filipino food in malls to give the Japanese and Hawaiian steam-tray restaurants a run for their money?


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