Spicy Legend is a small stand inside Pacific Mall that serves up authentic Yanbian-style street food. Find the stall in the corner of the older of the mall's two food courts.
Yanbian itself is a fascinating area little-known to many. Formally called the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Korean Prefecture, it's a region in China with a dense Korean population due its proximity to the North Korean border. Its cuisine is an interesting fusion of elements from both countries' culinary cultures.
The Sun family, who hail from the region and have operated this food court stall since 2015, explain to me that the food they serve is very much representative of dishes popular in their hometown. That means authentic grilled Yanbian-style skewers, along with a dry hot pot dish (which they call the Ma La Pot).
The Ma La Pot is a fun adventure in its own right. You basically mix as much meat and vegetables as you want, and the whole dish is then weighed before being stir-fried. The vegetables and meat are prepared fresh daily, with the meat costing $11.99/lb and the veggies $9.99/lb.
I timidly ask for it to be "less spicy", which proves to be an astute move. The generous helpings of Szechuan peppercorns give this dish its strong kick. t's served with the type of white rice normally found at Korean restaurants, which is stickier than those found at Chinese ones.
The unexpected highlight of the authentic Yanbian skewers is the fried rice cake ($1.50 each). It's slightly crisp on the outside and wonderfully chewy on the inside, coated with a generous helping of spicy powder.
The pork steak and lamb skewer ($2 each) are also worth ordering. The latter has a great, slightly gamey flavour that hits all the right notes, while the former is unbelievably tender and well-marinated. As usual, the liberal dusting of spicy powder makes the skewers zing.
The chicken wings ($2 each) are extremely tender and are one of the few items that are not coated in spicy seasonings. They're slightly sweet and very juicy - some of the best grilled wings I've had in a long time.