When I started this blog, I felt myself torn in two directions: I could write about the popular restaurants that the culinary community is raving about, or I could write about the hidden gems that I discover on my own and can’t believe the culinary community isn’t already raving about. Between school, work, and perfectionism, I don’t have time to write about one category as much as I would like, never mind both.
As a well-established icon on the city’s culinary scene, Mei Mei falls squarely in the first category. I don’t know how much my food blog post will add to the discussion, but Mei Mei is one of my all-time favorite food spots in Boston and belongs on my blog.
Mei Mei began as a food truck and now has a brick-and-mortar restaurant as well, serving up creative Chinese-American cuisine. The food truck schedule is available on here their website. (Always check the Twitter for updates before planning your day around a visit, because Life Happens more with food trucks than restaurants.) The restaurant is in the Audobon Circle neighborhood near Boston University, roughly in between the BU Central and St. Mary’s train stops, about a 20-minute walk from the Northeastern campus.
I first tried Mei Mei’s food at a pop-up dinner in 2012, in which they teamed up with the now-closed Staff Meal food truck and the Gallows restaurant to serve lucky people yummy food. Then I began visiting the food truck, slowly at first because I lived outside the city, and then with increasing voracity as I moved into the city and my schedule allowed. And then I found out that the people at the restaurant have some impressive plating skills which makes me happy in ways that only a food dork feels happy, so I tend to hit up the restaurant more often now.
Mei Mei (which means “little sister” in Chinese and is pronounced “May May”) is a good name for the business run by a sibling trio: Andy the big brother, Margaret “Mei” the little sister, and Irene the littlest sister. They are enthusiastic about local, sustainable and ethical sourcing for their food—if you’re curious, Mei Mei’s website features a map of frequently-used local food producers—and the restaurant was designed with sustainability in mind.
Mei Mei’s signature dish is the Double Awesome. While the menu changes just about every day, the Double Awesome is always available—truck and restaurant, lunch and dinner.
The Double Awesome has been raved about by the Boston food community, and I promise it really is everything it’s cracked up to be. For newbies, I highly recommend it as your first bite at Mei Mei. The runny yolks will get a little messy so spread out your napkins before diving in.
Mei Mei’s second-most-famous item is the Magical Kale Salad, so named by Bianca Garcia of Confessions of a Chocoholic, one of my favorite Boston food blogs. I tend to opt for carbs and meat and more carbs over vegetables and rarely order salads, but this one is truly is magical. The umami of the egg yolk and the fresh summery flavor of the kale and then a little crunch from breadcrumbs and a sharp tang from feta makes Magical Kale Salad my all-time favorite way to consume green stuff.
If you’re curious about the recipe for Magical Kale Salad, there is a 4-minute video with the recipe on WGBH’s “Neighborhood Kitchens” series.
Mei Mei is serious about sourcing their food locally, so during the winter months when kale isn’t available for the Magical Kale Salad, they rotate in the charred cabbage salad! It isn’t quite as colorful as the kale salad but I promise it is just as magical in its own special way.
The following is a relatively small sampling of Mei Mei items that I have been especially dazzled by over the last couple years. In addition to classic comfort items like dumplings and corn-on-the-cob, Mei Mei often offers some more adventurous options, like beef heart tartare.
You’ll be tempted to fill up on the savory dishes (DUMPLINGGGSSS), but Mei Mei can hold their own when it comes to dessert too.
But if I had to pick one favorite Mei Mei dessert, it would be the fried steamed buns. Mei Mei tends to switch up the accompaniments for the fried steamed buns, but I’ve had a number of other combos, and they are invariably fantastic. I’m always left wishing I had room for just one or two or ten more bites.
I have brought over a dozen friends and coworkers to Mei Mei and they all “get it.” The food is creative in that “why isn’t this already a thing?!” kind of genius. (Seriously, why aren’t scallion pancake sandwiches are common as regular sandwiches?) If I ever moved away from the Boston area, I think Mei Mei is the eatery that I would miss most.
Also, did I mention that Mei Mei only hires the nicest people? Interacting with their staff makes me want to give hugs and adopt stray cats and put quarters in expired parking meters.
I’ve had this food blog for a couple years now, so you are probably wondering why has it taken me so long to post about one of my all-time favorite restaurants. I kept writing and rewriting because I feel that Mei Mei deserved the effort. After all, they always serve up the best for me. And I’m sure they’ll serve it up for you too.
INFORMATION as of May 2015
Address & Phone
506 Park Drive
Boston, MA 02215