I’ve mentioned we moved. We now live right on the border of Au and Untergiesing. So we’re a little further south on the Isar than before. When we lived at our old place on Zeppelinstrasse, I must have passed by the unremarkable Mai Garten Chinese Imbiss on Ohlmüllerstrasse at least a thousand times.
It NEVER occurred to me to eat there. I’m kind of iffy on Chinese food (not a fan of gooey sauces on overcooked meat and/or vegetables) and that place looked especially bad. The dated, faded stock photo on the window, the cheap sign, it always seemed closed; everything about it said: ‘Don’t eat here’.
My (limited) experience of Chinese food in Munich had so far been dissatisfying. I refer to what a Taiwanese former colleague who also lived in Munich once said to me: “Never eat Chinese food in a city with no Chinatown.” Words to live by.
However! When in the span of a week Mai Garten was mentioned to me twice – in positive terms – once from a friend whose taste I admire and once from this Instagram post, referencing a review of the joint in the Süddeutsche Zeitung no less, I had to investigate.
So on a rainy summer evening, we ordered: M18 Schweinebauch fleisch zweimal gebraten (twice fried pork belly), M14 Mapu Tofu mit Gehackte Hühnerbrustfilest (tofu with chopped chicken breast), M4 Kartoffelstreiien mit Chili süß-sauer scharf (sweet-sour and spicy julienned potatoes with chilies) along with Sutiertere Pok Choi (suateed bok choi) which isn’t on the numbered menu.
It was good, but it didn’t blow my mind. The only time that has happened with Chinese food was when I had Dim Sum at Maxim’s Palace in Hong Kong, so my bar is kind of high. Plus what I said earlier about my relationship with Chinese food.
But I will go back, happily!
My two favorites were the bok choi and the potatoes. The bok choi was fresh and perfectly cooked and the potatoes were really tasty and interesting. The pork belly was good too, fresh and tangy and didn’t taste like someone just dumped 5 spice powder all over it and threw it in a wok.
My least favorite dish was proably the Mapu Tofu with chicken. I liked the flavor, but the sauce was gooey. But this is my issue, so you might like it.
The place was hopping when I picked up our food. Lots of asian people (always a good sign). The young man that took my order switched to perfect English when he detected my accent.
It seems like a multi-generation family operation. It also seems like they’re running a little gold mine. They’ve probably (smartly) focused on just making good food, not worrying about extras like hip decor, and have just kept on keeping on.
Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke!