A rare find: authentic Chinese cuisine in suburban New Brunswick

Posted on May 05, 2021 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments

Who loves Chinese food? Me me me! Growing up in Atlantic Canada, I’m accustomed to a style of Chinese food that can best be described as inauthentic. That doesn’t mean bad, but I’ve come to learn that “Canadian Chinese” cuisine—like sweet and sour chicken balls and almond chicken Guy Ding—did not originate in China. I also have a feeling that deep-fried egg rolls filled with pureed meat and vegetables, smothered in plum sauce, is not a staple in Beijing.

Mimimi—Mi, Chinese character 米, is the pronunciation of rice in Mandarin—opened a few years ago in Millidgeville, a Saint John subdivision near the hospital and UNB Saint John. It markets itself as a “real” Chinese restaurant, with traditional dishes including dim sum which, unlike most dim sum, is available all the time and not just on weekends or once a week. They also serve ramen, likely popular with the local students, many of whom are international.

Although located in a strip mall in suburbia, you forget the setting when you enter the door. The warm, wood decor and tasteful but not over-present or cluttered Asian art take you to a different place. The kitchen is totally open to view, in the middle of the restaurant, so you can watch the team prepare your meal, which I find quite appealing. It’s a large restaurant, including big communal tables that were no doubt under-utilised during the 2020 pandemic.

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