Mei Ming – Taiwanese Street Eats In A Coffeeshop! How Rare!
We seem to have an affinity with Taiwanese cuisine. No doubt, its street food never ceases to amaze with its variety and appeal. After I returned from a recent trip to Taiwan, I’ve been craving for some of Taiwan’s greatest eats, such as 卤肉饭（braised pork rice). To our surprise, a hawker serving up classic Taiwanese fare sprung up near our office.
Mei Ming Taiwan Delicacy was born out of the owner’s passion and love for all things Taiwan. “I used to be in construction, but I left to learn culinary from a master in Tainan, Taiwan for a year,” Zen shared. Right now, there are only 5 items available on the menu. The 卤肉饭 lu rou fan is a must try, but I was drawn to the 刈包 especially since we ate quite a bit of it back in Taiwan. Let’s see how it fares, shall we?
If you’ve read our article on the origins of guabao 刈包, you’ll discover that it’s actually another name for kong bak bao 扣肉包. Like its Taiwanese counterpart, a slab of braised pork is sandwiched between a steamed bun ($3). One thing that we noticed was that crushed peanuts aren’t included, unlike the traditional Taiwanese guabao. The soft pork belly was adequately flavourful and I thoroughly enjoyed the excellent fat to meat ratio that it possessed. The saltiness of the preserved vegetables further brought out the braise flavour of the pork. I thought that the individual elements of the guabao could have been melded with an added splash of braising liquid, to really bring them all together.
Now, the star of Mei Ming, lu rou fan ($3.80)! What I love most about the rice is their use of 珍珠米 pearl rice. The sticky and plump grains absorbed the braising sauce nicely, adding depth to every mouthful of rice. The rice was strongly perfumed with the characteristic aroma of five spice as well. Chunks of braised minced pork sat atop the little hill of rice. However, the meat was slightly bland. There’s a reason for this, so read on!
The Lor Kway Chap ($3) also has room for improvement. While the amount of ingredients was sufficient, the usual innards were absent. Fortunately, they replaced the entrails with braised pork belly which is totally alright. Only the soft and moist pork belly stood out. Overall, the braising sauce leaned towards the bland side.
The broad rice sheets are steeped in a broth that could also use some work. Zen shared that the braising sauce, which he prepares 2 months in advance, can be overpowering especially for the elderly patrons. Thus, he dilutes the sauce before serving the dish. We tried the concentrated braised gravy, and man was it yummy! The braise was fragrant and full-bodied just the way lu should be. Don’t be afraid to ask for a concentrated version if you like.
The 大腸包小腸 is an unusual find in coffee shops. “My mentor specializes in selling 大腸包小腸 across Taiwan, so I learnt that and brought it back to share with the heartlanders in Singapore”. However, I thought that the 大腸包小腸 ($6.60) was slightly underwhelming for its price point. The overall mouthfeel of the dish didn’t seem right. Unlike the ones in Taiwan, the elements within the 大腸包小腸 appear to be detached from each other. Kudos to Zen for putting together a medley of greens, including salted vegetables, sliced cucumbers and coriander, which gave the dish appropriate tang. However, the sausage used isn’t the fat and juicy kind that you get in Taiwan. Taking the place of a succulent sausage is a thin and slightly dry cylindrical piece of meat, which might explain the discontinuity between the sticky rice sausage, greens and the pork sausage itself.
There are hits and misses, but Zen is one passionate chef who is very accepting of feedback. We believe that his food will be a huge hit, once they’ve been perfected!
Mei Ming Taiwan Delicacy
Address: 159 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, Singapore 5601593
Phone: 9728 7035
Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm daily. Closed on Thursdays.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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