As I write this I’m enjoying my leftovers from Mei’s Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant on the east side of town, and the food is just as tasty as it was last evening.
I’m especially liking the Taiwanese sticky rice, which I ordered just to tick off Xi Jinping.
The dish was prepared in the traditional way with glutinous rice, mushrooms and dried shrimp plus fine bits of pork and a hefty blend of soy sauce for an umami kick.
I didn’t really need the gua bao that I also got as an appetizer bite but I was eager to try it. Also a traditional Taiwanese version, it featured braised pork belly decorated with pickled mustard greens, all in the familiar puffy taco-like steamed bun.
Under the banner of Noodle dishes were two similar offerings: Beef Noodle Soup and Spicy Beef Noodle (No Soup). No soup for me. The short strips of beef were laid out over the dry wheat noodles, flanked with julienned cucumber and carrots. The spiciness comes from an oil based sauce made with Sichuan peppercorns, which leave that telltale tingle on the tongue. Add sparingly – this stuff is like a Hellfire missile direct to your tastebuds (just to keep with our theme of international current events).
I also ordered the General Tso tofu bento box, not because I’m a particular fan of that familiar (and rather Americanized) dish but because I was intrigued that China’s equivalent of Colonel Sanders had gone vegetarian. The plant-based version didn’t much resemble the General Tso’s found in most American Chinese restaurants – less breading and not as much sugary sweet coating. But I liked it with the plain white rice. The bento box also includes steamed broccoli and carrots; egg drop soup with fresh kernels of corn thrown in; and an egg roll. The latter items was the sole thing from Mei’s I did not care for; it was soggy and had little filling.
And by the way, the portions are generous and the prices quite reasonable. That bento box was $12.95. Some places would charge that just for the egg drop soup these days.
Mei’s occupies a space in the Publix shopping center at the corner of University Boulevard and Dean Road. The decor has a modern flair, with a wall of horizontal tiles and pendant lights. There are plenty of tables and chairs to dine at but this is essentially a quick-serve operation – order and pay at the counter and pick up your food when it’s ready. All of the staff I had contact with were friendly and welcoming.