Dessert

Asia Times Square is Making Food Courts Cool Again

An ube and matcha swirl at Meccha Matcha
An ube and matcha swirl at Meccha Matcha Lauren Drewes Daniels
Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie has been around for decades, but in the past year, they've recruited some new tenants making the food court quite the culinary destination.

Before we break that down, this weekend (May 22 - 23) they are hosting the first Nesian Fest “to honor the influence and culture of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.” The event runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Check out the Facebook page for specifics on the event.

First for a few logistics for those visiting Asian Times Square (ATS) the first time: The food court is in the center of the large complex. Look for the “The Pearl” sign, and walk along the alley to the left. The food court is just a bit down that walkway on the right.

This food court isn’t huge, only a half dozen spots, but it could be a full day of culinary adventure. Just behind the food court is a restaurant, The Pearl, which is a treasure in itself and might be the soul of the entire place. That's a different article, one which I can't wait to dive into soon.


Today we’re focusing on the food court at ATS. Here's what we found on a recent visit.

Meccha Matcha

The menu at Meccha Matcha has a bevy of coffee, tea, frozen yogurt and ice creams all dedicated to matcha. They have three matcha ice creams with different levels of strength and caffeine. It’s best to sample each before deciding on one. We tried the matcha and ube yogurt twist (photo at top) and it was rich and smooth. Each flavor was prevalent and subtly sweet. There's also have a Meccha Matcha location on Coit Road in Plano.


Beard Papa

click to enlarge A six-pack of Beard Papa puff-choux pastries - AMY VIRDEN
A six-pack of Beard Papa puff-choux pastries
Amy Virden
Beard Papa opened in ATS during the pandemic, but venturing in the large center at the time seemed risky. I was excited to finally get to try their pastries, but they closed early the night we went. (A friend snapped photos on another visit.) Beard Papa got started at a small bakery in Osaka, Japan, in 1999. The owner, Yuji Hirota, had a fluffy beard so he became known as “Beard Papa” to all of his regulars. The pastries are similar to pie crust pockets stuffed with flavored puff-choux in vanilla, green tea or chocolate. Toppings can then be added. Beard Papa opens at noon every day; they close at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, at 7 p.m. on Friday and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Two Hands Seoul Fresh Corn Dogs

click to enlarge A menagerie of corn dog craziness from Two Hands Corn Dogs. - AMY VIRDEN
A menagerie of corn dog craziness from Two Hands Corn Dogs.
Amy Virden

It feels like these Korean-style hot dogs started here in Texas, took a sabbatical in Korea, then came back. There’s something new and nostalgic all in the same bite here. There are seven different styles of corn dogs from just the basic made with their signature seasoning with ranch sauce to a Flamin' Hot Cheetos-dusted dog. They also come covered in potato cubes or crispy rice puffs. You choose the inside: a hotdog, a cheese stick or half of each. The half and half with the original seasoning was fantastic.


Omakase To Go

The chef at Omakase To Go, Thi Tran, previously worked at Uchi in Dallas. He started doing large platters of sushi during the pandemic and opened this spot early this year. It was also closed on the night we visited, which was disappointing, but we’ll be back to visit here for sure.


Sakari Ramen

click to enlarge A bowl of tonkotsu ramen from Sakari Ramen - AMY VIRDEN
A bowl of tonkotsu ramen from Sakari Ramen
Amy Virden
Sure it feels weird to have a bowl of ramen on the table with Cheetos corn dogs, tater tots and puff pastry, but this bowl of tonkotsu was a delight.


CM Chicken

The second local Choong Man (CM) Chicken just opened inside the food court. This Korean-style fried chicken is known for its snow chicken, which is crispy fried chicken topped with thinly sliced onions and smothered in a sauce developed by the original owner. There's also tikkudak style of chicken, which is fried then baked in a charcoal grill tikku oven for extra crispiness. Sauce options include garlic soy, spicy garlic, red hot pepper and curry. A whole chicken is $24.99.

ATS is definitely a place you'll want to work into your rotation of foodie destinations to explore if you haven't already. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of culinary delights and interesting finds.

Asian Times Square, 2625 W. Pioneer Parkkway, Grand Prairie. Check each spot for times.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.