Mai Xiang Yuan: 1084 Saint Laurent
Just came back from sampling the wares at a new dumpling emporium on the Main. This is very similar in format and menu to Qing Hua. We tried the pork & Chinese cabbage/ pork, shrimp & coriander/ lamb & coriander/ and beef with onion. There are 15 dumplings per order and they can be fried for $1.50 extra. With the opening special of less 10% dinner came to a very reasonable $35 plus tip. This is a very welcome addition to Chinatown.
I also would give this extremely positive feedback. I must admit I ate here with friends when it was late and I was exhausted and hungry and my friend said he knew a good dumpling place in chinatown (which was a 3 minute walk) as opposed to the concordia ghetto (which was several metro stops in the wrong direction). I did not believe him, having never really had good food in Chinatown, but everyone was hungry and tired so we went for the closest option.
It was amazing! We were there 10 minutes before closing and so it was dumplings and salads only. We had the jellyfish salad, a leek and dried shrimp dumpling, pork, shrimp and mushroon dumpling and a beef coriander dumpling. The leek steamed, the others fried. The vinegar, chili oil and soy sauce were on the tables (although the chili oil wasn't the best one I have had).
I am happy I didn't insist on dragging everyone across town, and even happier that I now know ONE good place to eat in Chinatown!
I'm a big fan of Mothers Dumplings in Toronto and we stumbled upon this place this past weekend. We ended up eating here twice - we ordered the Pork Shrimp & Mushroom dumplings (boiled) and the Beef & Onion( Fried). Were a bit disappointed that we couldn't get anything steamed, but we were very impressed with the quality of what we did get - especially the Pork/Shrimp/Mushroom ones. Fillings were generous and tasty. The fried Beef-Onion ones provided a little soupy explosion in the mouth (or elsewhere) upon puncture.
Price was a bit higher than expected (compared to my only other experience, Mothers), but we were very satisfied, over-all and would go back if ever in the area again.
Went there today, here's a quick review:
I had Lamb and leeks, beef and Onion, pork and chinese cabbage and another one that had egg, pork, and shrimp i believe.
While I prefer by far the wrapping of Maison Du nord, we can actually taste a kind of elasticity in it, meaning that its was handpulled, I think that the fillings inside the dumplings were tastier at Mai Xian Yuan.
But then again, when I was at Maison Du nord, I had the spicy hand pulled noodle with beef, ( Ngio rou ma lat lang mian) which has a heavy vinegar and chili oil component, which could have dulled my sense.
I just tried this place for the first time for lunch upon a recommendation. My dining partner and I had the shrimp leek and egg dumpligs fried and pork, mushroom and shrimp ones boiled. Everything was excellent. I have to say that IMO this place executes better than Qing Hua. The concept is pretty similar, but the dumplings here aren't crazy soupy like the ones at QH. I like the soupiness sometimes, but after awhile it becomes too much and everything starts to taste the same. It's also inherently messy.
The dumplings here were simpler and the ingredients just tasted fresher. You could actually taste every ingredient in each dumpling and distinguish them. The fried ones weren't greasy at all, just the right combination of frying/steam to cook them. I also like the atmosphere better. The location is nicer, its brighter and cleaner-looking than QH.
The prices are very reasonable as far as I'm concerned. It's no more expensive than QH. Lunch for 2 people was less than $25...can't go wrong with that.
Don't get me wrong, I love QH and they are kindof like pioneers of the soupy dumpling in Mtl. I'd definetely go back to both places, and to any dumpling enthusiasts who haven't tried this place yet, I really suggest it.
We went here today in part because of your review, also because Qing Hua was closed. It was very quiet as we were rather late for lunch (around 2:30?) but the place filled up after we were seated. We had the salads offered, rather excellent prices of $1/plate, first the marinated cucumber, then the peanuts and celery which we loved, followed by the Chinese cabbage salad with wasabi that was pretty spicy. Next we had pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings boiled (hands down favourite of my kids), pork, shrimp and coriander fried (pretty good), lamb and onion fried (favourite of the grown ups), pork, shrimp and coriander in soup (nice broth, big portion), vegetarian (which the vegetarian enjoyed). All in all, a good fresh dumpling feast. The dumpling chef worked methodically and without stress and yet the food didn't take very long to arrive at our table. They were quite soupy too which was nice.
We'll definitely be back. I love Qing Hua dumplings too but find this location more handy as we often have other things to do in Chinatown. I asked if they were planning to sell frozen dumplings and they said to come back for that around Chinese New Year in February. I'll be back before to try their hand-pulled noodles at dinner.
We visited Mai Xiang Yuan last night to satisfy a dumpling craving. First off, there's no point comparing this place to Qing Hua. The dumplings are not in the same style. They don't have any soup inside. They are much more like the jiaozi you get at Maison Du Nord or Lotus Bleu. More rustic with a thicker skin. That being said, they were quite good. We had the beef curry onion and pork and pickled cabbage along with a cold dish of peanuts and celery. Everything very tasty. Service was hurried but very friendly and attentive. One thing I didn't like was that the vinegar, soy sauce and chili oil isn't on the tables. They bring out little plates for you, which means you can't mix up your own sauce sauce without making a mess. I didn't really like their chili oil, either. It was made with oil that was too hot and not enough chili flakes so it was not very flavourful and tasted of burnt. Despite all that, I would go back because they make some yummy dumplings.
I went to Mai Xiang Yuan for lunch today and I was pleasantly surprised at how good the dumplings were. I'm a Qing Hua regular so I wasn't expecting much.
I had a plate of the fried beef and curry onion dumplings and the flavours were excellent. Also the included 'wasabi salad' was very tasty too. SnackHappy, you'll be happy to know that they now put the chili oil and soy sauce directly on the table. Happy mixing. :) I'm looking forward to going back soon.
Thanks for the update. I have gone back a few times since my first report, and have noticed that they now have chili oil and soy sauce at the tables and will bring you a bottle of black vinegar when asked.
I think they've dropped the idea of making hand-pulled noodles even though they are still on the menu. I've asked every time I've gone and they never have them.
I can't say I'm that crazy about the place, though. The dumplings are good, but the price is a bit high. I could go to Maison du Nord or Lotus Bleu and get a lot more for my money. Or I could spend the same money at Qing Hua and get much better dumplings.
After reading your positive feedback, I decided to try out Mai Xiang Yuan as well, being a huge fan of Qing Hua, I couldn't wait to try those dumplings.
The girlfriend and I ordered three dishes, beef curry/onion, chinese pickled cabbage/pork, and some handpulled noodles with pork.
However, I was told the handpulled noodles weren't available right now, because the restaurant had just opened, so we settled for a special soup dumpling (which is a soup where they add dumplings in it, not soup dumplings as in xiaolongbao)
as mentionned by eat2much, the dumplings can be pan-fried for an extra 1.50$ per order, but what surprised me is that I couldn't have them steamed. The server told me it took too much time to steam them, and so they only boil or pan fry their dumplings. (during lunch time, at least, not sure about dinner, the server seemed a bit unsure)
while the dumplings were good, I thought they weren't as good as Qing Hua. Some of the dumplings weren't pleated properly and so the "juice" easily leaked out before we even bit the dumpling.
as for the soup, it was something different for us, because we've never had dumplings in a soup before, so I can't really review the dish(I mean, I have nothing to compare it to). I thought it was quite tasty, the broth was good but it's really the dumplings that made the dish. Because the dumplings were in the soup, the dough was all squishy, giving the dumpling a different texture (a good one!)
There's 10 dumplings in the soup by the way.
In the end, we paid 25$ including tip and the 10% off, for those 3 dishes
I agree with eat2much, this is a great addition to Chinatown and I will definitely come back again.
ps. the waiters (both the woman and the man) speak both chinese and english (not perfectly, but still understandable!)
sorry for the typos and grammar mistakes, it is late, but I still wanted to give out my feedback