Our taster at Hffousa Taco is 5 year-old Blake, accompanied by dad Ryan. Ryan is a risk management consultant from north-east China, w ho met his wife Molin in Canada. Blake was born in Toronto, Ryan says, though Blake himself begs to differ.
“I was born in a cellphone!” He announces gleefully. “I’m going into the world inside the cellphone!”
Blake amuses himself by taking pictures with his dad’s iPhone, while Ryan tells me more about the family. They returned to Molin’s native Beijing four years ago, and since had a daughter, Olivia (age 1.5). Molin is a homemaker, and Blake attends La Maison Montessori de Pékin (LMMP). I ask him what his favorite food is, and he gives me a huge grin, but can’t decide on an answer.
“Too many choices!” He says at last.
Hffousa Taco has been providing upmarket Mexican food to the shoppers of Indigo Mall since 2014. Theirs is a healthier take on the cuisine rather than the often greasy, calorie-packed version available in Beijing. Blake is sampling their new Children’s Set (RMB 38) with a fresh Orange and Apple Juice (RMB 28), while Ryan goes for the Shrimp Tacos (RMB 88) and Chicken Burrito (RMB 38).
“Big chips,” a wide-eyed Blake says in awe when the food arrives.
“Yes, that’s what tacos are,” Ryan explains.
Blake tucks straight into his smiley-face fries, and it’s hard to say which smile is bigger.
“Mmmm,” is his verdict, and Dad clarifies, “Hao chi!”
To Ryan’s surprise, Blake goes for his broccoli next.
“How about some pasta?” Ryan suggests, when the broccoli has been gobbled up, but Blake announces,“Chips time!”
Ryan is impressed with the freshness and flavors of the tacos.
“It’s so hard to find good Mexican food in Beijing,” he says. “How about some pasta now, Blake?”
“Fruit time!” Blake responds. He is fascinated by the flower-shaped dragon fruit.
The chicken burrito is as filling as it is tasty, and Ryan persuades me to try some of his shrimp taco. It’s as good as he says: firm, juicy seafood, with fresh salad, zingy lime, and a chili pepper kick, all in a crisp shell.
The rest of his plate cleared, it’s finally pasta time for Blake. Once that’s gone he reaches for a taco.
“I’m going to eat a big chip now,” he says, but Dad intervenes.
“That might be too spicy for you.”
He gives him a shrimp, and then empties out a taco shell for him, which Blake munches with tremendous satisfaction.
“Blake never eats this well at home,” Ryan says. They both loved the food at Hffousa Taco, and are already planning on returning next weekend, this time bringing Mom.
Family-friendly Notes: The restaurant supplies baby chairs. Indigo Mall has clean, modern bathrooms, and a park with playgrounds for children.
Open every day, 10am-10pm. 2/F, Indigo Mall, 18 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8451 5678) 朝阳区酒仙桥路18号颐堤港商场二层.
This article originally appeared on page 19-20 of the October 2016 Issue of beijingkids magazine. Click here for your free online copy. To find out how you can obtain a hard copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS: UNI YU