by Bovey Rao ’19
In 2011, Boston changed its food policy regulations to allow for food trucks vendors. While many other large cities made the change previously, the food truck movement remained relatively muted, as it was seen as a financial risk. However, Boston made an active effort to reinforce this movement by designating several special parking locations and scheduled trucks at each primed position. Thus, Boston’s food truck revolution shot off with notable restaurants on wheels like Roxy’s, Bon Me, and Chicken and Rice Guys (which come to Harvard Plaza). In 2012, Mei Mei joined the race.
Mei Mei specializes in Asian Fusion cuisine and incorporates international flavors into its classic Asian cuisine. “Mei Mei” translates to little sister, which is a reminder of the family that runs the truck. Started by an older brother with his two younger sisters, Mei Mei brought forth their traditional Asian techniques combined with exotic global flavors. Almost immediately, the food truck shot out to incredible popularity and was named Boston’s best food on wheels. In 2013, they opened a brick and mortar location near Fenway Park and have continued their trend for elegance with top honors from Eater Boston and Boston Magazine.
Mei Mei’s restaurant in Fenway is a short walk from the T stop and conveniently located near Boston University. My friend and I arrived exactly between lunch and dinner, which proved to be a significant shift at the restaurant. Transforming from casual lunch counter to a more sophisticated sit-down establishment, Mei Mei demonstrates incredible versatility in its restaurant model. After placing our orders at the counter, we sat in the empty restaurant and waited comfortably for our food.
As the aroma began to waft from the open kitchen, I snuck in a glance and watched the final trays being assembled. When our names were called, we rushed to the counter and grabbed our lunch trays, reminiscent of our high school years.
With the famous Double Awesome, a braised beef porridge, and a steamed bun with compound butter, I stared at my tray contently. My friend’s pierogi dumplings and rib tips accompanied his Double Awesome, as we snapped our pictures before digging in.
Mei Mei’s Double Awesome is regarded as one of the best “sandwiches” in Boston, with a scallion pancake caressing two beautifully fried eggs with pesto and cheddar. Utilizing the Asian scallion pancake as a “wrap” for non-Asian ingredients like pesto and cheddar is a testament to Mei Mei’s Asian Fusion brand. As I bit into the soft, but crisp pancake, the egg burst open, releasing its rich yolk to mix with the earthy pesto and creamy cheddar. While somewhat difficult to eat, the Double Awesome is exactly as promised; it is indeed awesome. The untraditional pesto, mixed with chives and other Asian herbs, provided the necessary green to balance the liquid egg yolk and melted cheddar. It is difficult to describe the savory mess that this becomes as the egg yolk drips from the wrap, but I promise you it is worth it. If you ever have the chance to visit Mei Mei, the Double Awesome is a must!
The rest of the meal proceeded without a hitch, as we vacuumed up our portions. The braised beef porridge with cabbage and tortilla strips seemed bizarre at first, but it was perfectly nostalgic. While the porridge was a little grainier than I was used to, the warm, flavorful broth reminded me of home. However, this was more than a normal porridge. With the salty beef broth, crisp tortilla strips, and acidic cabbage, the dish was perfectly balanced both in flavor and texture. It may have seemed a little peculiar at first, but the dish was the ideal combination of nostalgic flavors from home with exotic accompaniments.
While I enjoyed my meal, I had a quick sample of my friend’s portions. Pierogis are essentially Eastern European style dumplings with potato fillings, and I was surprised to see them on the menu. Surprisingly, they were exemplary with a smooth, but spicy potato filling in the fried skin. With the traditional Asian dumpling shape and an untraditional filling, they again filled me with a weird sense of nostalgia. Finally, we had the rib tips. Unfortunately, the rib tips, with an amazing sauce, were tough and unpalatable. The little meat that could be salvaged was delicious to say the least, but overall, this was the disappointment of the night. Satisfied with our meal, we left the cozy little shop into the crisp Boston evening.
Mei Mei is considered one of Boston’s best restaurants, and it is obvious why. For Asian Americans, it is the perfect place to be hit with nostalgia, while simultaneously exploring other cuisines. For everyone else, it delivers dishes that are both familiar and foreign at approachable prices. It serves as the perfect canvas for people to try cuisines that they are not accustomed to. I look forward to my next visit to Mei Mei and what other nostalgic noshes I will experience.
Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Location: 506 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02215
Reservation: 857-250-4959 for Reservation
Stand out dishes: Double Awesome, Pierogi Potstickers
Overall Rating: 5/5
By Dana Ferrante ’17
Unknown to most students, Friday and Sunday are arguably the best days to get food in the Science Center Plaza. Absurdity? Not in the slightest. Go to Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck and you’ll find out why.
Featured on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race a few years back, this food truck brings originality and herbs to some classic greasy food staples. Even better, it’s not nearly as overpriced as many food trucks seem to be nowadays, making it a great option for your stomach and wallet.
The basic menu includes, of course, an assortment of grilled cheese varieties. You can start off basic with the classic grilled cheese with 5 different types of cheese to pick from (fontina, cheddar, muenster, swiss and pimento), or go wild with the Green Muenster ( muenster cheese, guacamole, and bacon) or the Allston (goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions, and arugula ). To make things even more indulgent, you can add bacon to any sandwich for just a dollar. Unlike the typical half-butter, half-bread ratio of most grilled cheese sandwiches, Roxy’s instead puts mayonnaise on the bread to get a crispy, grilled texture.
But Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese is much, much more than grilled cheese. It’s four types of decked-out burgers grilled to order, three different types of dipping sauce, and best of all, truffle fries. I repeat: truffle fries.
In line for the world’s most addicting food, these fries are consistently crispy, perfectly seasoned with rosemary and salt, and bathed in the distinct (some even say pungent) flavor of truffle oil. Truffles, a type of mushroom, are a very expensive staple ingredient of haute cuisine, and are typically found on menus with the words “quail” and “foie gras”. Essentially, Roxy’s truffle fries are pretty much the fanciest greasy food you will ever hold in your hand. And forget about ketchup, there’s enough flavor to get you through a week’s worth of dining hall food.
Thanks to DAPA, the Roxy’s food truck was parked outside of Pforzheimer and Currier House this past Saturday from 10pm-2am, serving up fries, shandy, and all sorts of melted-cheese dreams. I guess the Quad isn’t that bad after all.
by Caroline Gentile ’17
Until September 24th, another food truck will join the usual fleet of the Bon Me and Whole Foods trucks. Pasta Flyer offers 100% gluten-free, perfectly al-dente pasta, in the shape of screws, tubes, or elbows, with 3 varieties of sauces (pesto, alfredo, and marinara) and 3 protein options (smokey bacon, truffled poached eggs, and Nonna’s meatballs).
Usually I’m pretty skeptical of anything gluten-free, but this pasta tastes exactly like the real thing. I ordered pasta with marinara sauce and Nonna’s meatballs, and was very impressed. Not only was the quality of my meal outstanding, but their service is by far the quickest of any of the food trucks in the Science Center Plaza.
Unfortunately, pasta flyer is only here for a limited time, but be sure to stop by between 11:30 am and 7pm between now and September 24th! And if you’re interested in how one even makes delicious gluten-free pasta, attend the mastermind behind Pasta Flyer, Chef Mark Ladner’s lecture, “Al-Dente: When Plastic Meets Elastic” on Monday, September 22nd at 7pm in Science Center Hall C.