Pepper Lunch, for Dinner

20 07 2012

This week we had our first seasonably hot day, and it was a killer. Not because the temperature was so high (upper 80s), but because very little around here is air conditioned. When the playground got too hot for playing early in the day, we took shelter in our unairconditioned hotel room. Fans couldn’t help enough, and by the time dinner rolled around, we were desperate for a cool place to sit for a while.

On base, the food court and other fast food places do have A/C, but we were completely disinterested in Taco Bell or Pizza Hut. We wanted something more exciting, something more authentic. But, critically, it had to be airconditioned, which ruled out most local options. So where did we head? To the mall!

Aeon Shimoda Mall is about 20 minutes from us, an easy drive through the country. We piled into the car, blasted cool air, and were on our way. Apparently, the mall is not the place to go on a Wednesday night; we had the place almost too ourselves. We found our way to the food court and were immediately taken with the sizzling hot plates some people were eating from. These came from Pepper Lunch, so I immediately lined up.

Now, I can’t really tell you what I ordered, but I can tell you how I ordered it. The line at Pepper Lunch ends at a vending machine. You put in your money and then press the button corresponding to the items you want to buy. English descriptions were mysterious and/or absent, so I glanced at the (tiny) pictures on the buttons and just chose a few. The machine dispensed food tickets, which I then handed to the woman behind the counter, who bowed and gave me a pager.

Moments later, the pager went off. Food at Pepper Lunch is presented uncooked on a sizzling hot plate (think fajita plate), so service is very fast. As it turned out, we had ordered a dish with thinly sliced beef as well as one featuring ham and cheese. Both were topped with corn and green onion, and both were fantastic! Presentation was lovely, especially for a mall food stand. The hot plates came with little paper shields around them to protect you from grease spatter while cooking.

Once the meat was cooked, we walked back over to the stand to add our sauce. We both chose “spicy,” which was flavorful and not eye-wateringly hot. The overall effect was a nice black pepper bite on very fresh meat and veggies. While I couldn’t tell you exactly what to order, I don’t think you can go too wrong here.




One response

14 08 2012

I wasn’t sure where this was going at the vending machine and pager but glad you got fresh human food from a human 🙂

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