Northern Meixi Fast Food (Crystal Mall)

Restaurant: Northern Meixi Fast Food
Cuisine: Shanghainese/Chinese
Last visited: May 30, 2011
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby South) – Inside Crystal Mall food court
Address: 4500 Kingsway
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 2
Ambiance: n/a (food court)
Overall: 2
Additional comments:

  • Shanghainese owned/operated
  • Located inside food court
  • Northern Shanghainese cuisine
  • Specializes in dumplings
  • Handmade dumplings
  • Very casual/quick
  • Chinese menu (some English)
  • Budget friendly/cheap eats
  • Cash only
  • Lunch/Dinner

**Recommendations: n/a, but if you’re craving Shanghainese or “Shanghainese Juicy Pork Dumplings” then visit the other Shanghainese stand located in the back of the food court called Xu’s Wonton House (previously Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine).

Crystal Mall is an Asian Mall located next to Metrotown and I rarely come here because the parking is horrendous (worse than Aberdeen Mall in Richmond). The food court itself is actually pretty good and if you’re looking for cheap eats and Asian food, it’s a solid bet that you’ll find something satisfying here. It’s busy to Chinese locals in the neighbourhood and you may have to fight for a parking space as well as a seat for lunch, and that is certainly as big of a headache as it sounds. Luckily I was with Sherman who took one for the team and did the driving with almost no complaints!

I’ll just save you the gas and throw it out there early that Northern Meixi Fast Food probably isn’t worth your time unless you’re on foot and in the area anyways. But on that note I’d still suggest another food stand if it’s Shanghainese food you’re craving.

The ordering at Northern Meixi Fast Food was already quite difficult. There are some English translations, but most of it is in Chinese. Thank god there was some photos though! I managed to find out that the specialty here is their hand made dumplings (different than the XLB), so already knowing that I wasn’t expecting great XLB.  The food was hand made and made upon order, but it just wasn’t very impressive and I probably wouldn’t come back for anything I tried. At least it’s dirt cheap though so even the cost of a bad experience is easy to absorb.

I guess it wasn’t inedible, but it also wasn’t good or enjoyable. If I didn’t do a direct comparison of their food with Xu’s Wonton House, which is also located in the same food court, then it might not even be as poor as I am considering it. That was the whole reason for trying this stand though. It was a Shanghainese Juicy Pork Dumpling aka “xiao long bao” (XLB) show down and these are the only two stands in the food court offering them. It was no contest that Xu’s Wonton House XLB’s were better though, which I posted about here.

On the table:

Steamed Shanghainese Pork Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao/XLB) – 2/6

  • 6 pieces $4
  • It’s already hard to enjoy these dumplings when they’re served this way. Being that it’s food court style, I can overlook it.
  • It’s kind of difficult to pick them up without breaking the skins since they were sticking, but they were quite thick anyways so it made it easy. That’s not a good thing either.

  • There was barely any soup in them and the skins were doughy and very soft.
  • The little broth it had didn’t even really taste like pork broth, but it tasted a bit like mushroom soup.
  • The meat wasn’t very tender and overall there was no competition that Xu’s Wonton House had better XLB.

Steamed Pork and Vegetable Dumplings – 2/6

  • 10 pieces $4.75
  • This is supposed to be their specialty, but there are better versions of it even at other food courts. There’s a place that does a pan-fried version in Admiralty food court, which are pretty decent.
  • These are hand made and dirt cheap, but I likely still won’t order it again.

  • They were quite juicy and the pork was moist, but bland.
  • The skin was really thick and chewy and it overwhelmed the filling. It tends to be thicker since it’s Northern Shanghainese cuisine, but I still found it too much.
  • There was also some Napa Cabbage and diced onion in the mix which were kind of the only flavours I could taste.
  • I just wanted to eat the inside and leave the skins, which isn’t the proper way to enjoy them either.
  • Although it’s not the best, but it is better than this, I’d suggest Beijing Cuisine for these dumplings – see Boiled Pork Dumplings Stuffed with Leeks, Shrimp and Eggs.

Tossed Noodle in Pork Sauce – 2.5/6

  • $4.75
  • This is one of my favourite noodles, but it just wasn’t done that well here.
  • It’s a saucy dish topped with a savoury lean ground pork sauce and gravy and some raw cucumber.
  • It should have been spicy, but it wasn’t at all.
  • The cucumber should be cut julienne to retain flavour and texture, but this one was either old or grated because it was watery and soggy and lost its crunch.

It’s tossed all together before eating it.

  • The handmade noodles were soft, buttery, yet firm and they did have a bite, but I didn’t care for them too much.
  • The minced pork sauce was actually quite tasty and well seasoned and it had some diced sweetened potato in it which is unusual. It tasted like the Korean sweet potato appetizer so it had this savoury and sweet balance and good texture.
  • The sauce was predominately the savoury soy bean paste sauce and there was a significant amount of it to coat the noodles well.
  • Although it’s comparing apples to oranges, I prefer the Cantonese Chinese version of these noodles found at wonton houses – see Lo-Mein with Shredded Pork in Spicy Brown Sauce from Michigan Noodle Shop.

Pancake with Egg and Pork Floss1/6

  • $3.75
  • I usually really love this item, but it was very poorly executed and sloppy here.
  • I watched her make it on the spot too and it looked really good. I also think there was something lost in translation because this had no pork floss in it.
  • It’s a very thin crepe that was quite carb heavy and filling, but it was very soggy and wet and not enjoyable.
  • The crepe is made with a lightly mixed in egg and some green onions.
  • The pancake is usually crispy, but this one was closer to a soft and and pliable crepe. It was chewy and a bit bland.
  • There should be a slightly crispy and layered aspect to this pancake, but this one was served like a log and it was a very “careless” way of making it.

  • The inside was two deep fried savoury donuts (the ones you eat with congee) and some chopped onion and cilantro.
  • The worst thing is when these donuts are soggy and they were completely soft and soggy. Yes, it was bound to happen since the crepe is hot, but there are better ways to execute this crepe and it shouldn’t have been like this.
  • I could taste some of the egg and then there was some soy bean paste and a bit of sweet and spicy chili paste in it, but it just really didn’t work overall.
  • Please don’t veto this item if you see it available on future menus though because it does get much better.

 

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4 Comments

  • LotusRapper says:

    Hi Mijune – Northern Meixi doesn’t compare to Wang’s, Xu’s etc. in terms of “quality” foods. But IMHO I’ve always had a soft spot for them (couple) because they’re kinda cute (esp. when they get into a bit of a row sometimes) and also because the lady (never got her name) puts heart into what she does. I always get their green onion pancake (which she makes on the spot) with request for extra salt & gr. onions 😀

    Until recently, I worked in Metrotown area since long before Xtal Mall existed, and I sure miss being so close to the Xtal food court and being able to drop in impromptu for a lunch bite.

    Interesting fact: Northern Meixi’s couple used to run their stall where Wang’s/Xu’s is now. And for a little while, they re-located to Main St/22 Ave. and ran their operation where City Temple of Shanghai was, which later closed and replaced by Bob Likes Thai Food now.

  • Mijune says:

    @LotusRapper – Yes!! The lady is so nice!! That’s why I felt kind of bad for writing this post!! She does have heart, but I do think she is making a couple shortcuts.

    Thanks for the tips! Too bad City Temple closed.. I didn’t even get to try it!

  • Linda says:

    mmm lots of food court food for you lately mijune! 🙂

    mmm i really like the pork sauce noodles and by the looks of the picture, i thought it had tons of potential – not too oily and very meaty! and the comparison with the korean potato dish makes me very curious! im sad that it got such a low rating though – even though most of your comments on it were quite positive – maybe some hot sauce would boost up the score! 🙂

    wow those dumplings look really sad – the dough on the outside looks really thick and the souplessness of them makes them something i totally wouldn’t try! the pancake looks interesting but with the donuts being soggy city… boooo! i thought the donuts were an overcooked portion of the eggs! lol

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