Travel down highway I 45, take the NASA Road 1 exit, go east to the first light, turn left into the parking lot of a series of strip centers, go all the way to the south end of the parking lot, and you will come upon Hans Mongolian Wok, a hidden culinary treasure located in the shadow of the Johnson Space Center.
Hans serves Mongolian barbeque. It is like no other Asia cuisine that you have ever tasted. Once you have, though, you will be addicted.
The first thing you do upon entering Hans is to order your meal, along with a drink, and then pay for it in advance. It is the only tedious task that you will be asked to perform at Hans.
Upon being seated, you can get a plate of Asian appetizers. These will include egg rolls, sweet and sour chicken nuggets, rice (white or fried), and other succulent delicacies.
Having whetted you appetite, you can hence go for the main course, which is served buffet style. You are given a large bowl. You will it with a variety of meats and vegetables. Meats include beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and shrimp. Vegetables include everything from lo mien noodles to broccoli, carrots, green peppers, onions, green onions, tofu, and many more besides.
Once having piled your bowl to the brim, you come upon the sauces. There are two base sauces, one sweet, and the other spicy. Add these to wine, ginger sauce, soy sauce, garlic sauce, and so on. There is also a jar of mashed garlic that you can add to your meal.
There is a bulletin board that gives suggestions about how to mix and match the sauces, but this is only a guideline. Feel free to be creative,
Next, you hand your bowl over to the cook. The cook pours the contents on a huge circular griddle said to be in the shape of a Mongol shield. Right in front of you, the cook with stir and turn the contents of your dinner to make sure it is properly cooked, while you revel in the smell and the hissing sound it makes. Then, with one swish of his long stirring sticks, he pours your dinner into another bowl and presents it to you, piping hot.
For lunch, you get one trip to the buffet line. For dinner, you get as many trips as you can gather to eat. By mixing and matching different combinations of meats, vegetables, and sauces, every trip to the buffet line is a different meal. That’s one reason I love going to Hans for its unique take on barbeque, and in the midst of East Texas, the Mecca of barbeque too.