Your childhood mall will always hold a special place in your heart. The Burnsville Center is mine. The Maplewood Mall is Jake’s.
Our childhood malls feel kind of dead now. Not in the modern “haha I’m dead,” way, but in the empty storefronts except for a Victoria’s secret and GNC sort of way.
When I read about Victoria’s Secret closing stores, I’m just like “MAYBE DON’T PUT TWO IN EACH MALL?”
The thing about the Maplewood Mall is that it has a really interesting food court. Sure, there’s a Charlie’s Grilled Subs and Subway, but there are also shops offering cabeza tacos (at least Maya Cuisine was on this day), boba teas, tricolor dessert and papaya salad, pho, Gyros, Mexican-Korean fusion dishes, and burgers with Hmong peppers.
On this visit, we ordered the latter two.
Shekima Seoul Food
Shekima offers Korean-Mexican fusion dishes, plus some Korean dishes as well.
You’ll find Korean inspired chimichangas, tacos, and quesadillas on the menu, Korean fried chicken (chicken strips and popcorn chicken included), and sides like kimchi, refried beans, and candied sweet potatoes.
Jake and I shared a Kimchi Quesadilla ($6.49), Bulgogi Tacos ($7.99), side of kimchi ($2.19) and Korean Cinnamon Punch ($2.49).
These dishes are cooked to order so expect a short wait. The kimchi quesadilla made for a simple but satisfying sweet and tangy dish. The kimchi was really quite good. With the lime-scented rice, the tacos were like little burritos accented with bulgogi meat. The salsa and radish made the dish taste light and fresh.
I’ve never heard of Korean cinnamon punch – after a quick Google I see it’s a traditional drink called Sujeonggwa. We thought it tasted similar to cinnamon red hots, but not quite as sweet. I would order it again. In the other chiller, a rice punch circulated. The employee had offered to let us try them both but we knew we’d like the cinnamon one.
A sign at the front advertised a trio of Korean dishes for $15 – Mandu, Tteokkbokki (rice cake in a spicy gochujang sauce), and Kimbap.
Jake’s brother ordered this trio. He liked the mandu the best. We tried bites of the rice cake and kimbap. The rice cake is dense and very chewy, similar to mochi. Jake really likes this dish, while I enjoy it in small doses. Kimbap is like a Korean sushi roll. Shekima’s includes seasoned beef, pickled radish, omelette, carrot, and surimi. A soy dipping sauce was provided upon request.
What caught my eye at Blueprint was the menu near the register offering specialty burgers, some of which prepared with Hmong peppers. I believe you can add the peppers to any of their sandwiches. I ordered a Hmong Pepper Burger + fries (around $10) to share.
Blueprint also makes their food fresh to order. After a short wait I picked up my burger. A toasted brioche bun sandwiched a beef patty, bacon, shredded lettuce, really fresh, very red tomato slices, pepper jack, pickles, onion, house special sauce, and Hmong peppers.
The hot pepper relish is tucked beneath the toppings. You can see a photo of the sauce that they posted on their Facebook page.
All together this made for my new favorite burger. You can tell it’s prepared with care. And the hot peppers made it delightfully spicy.
If you are here, wander around the Barnes & Noble and visit the Hot Topic or Spencer’s for old time’s sake. A miniature, singing train and kids on motorized animals zoom around the first level. The Maplewood Mall might be relatively quiet, but is home to a food court with a variety of dishes I haven’t seen at other malls in the Twin Cities. You might as well grab something to eat.
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