At Silverbell and St. Mary’s Road is a strip center with a Safeway. This is where you will find Mei Mei Chinese Restaurant. I have now dined there 3 times, once alone and twice with dining companions.
The one time I dined alone, I ordered their lunch special for $7. Lots of choices but mine was sweet & sour pork, plus Egg Drop Soup. I was disappointed. Not very interesting, but definitely filling. Based on this one experience I could only give Mei Mei a 3-Saguaro rating: just average. This lunch special was not as good as Panda Express at Silverbell & Speedway.
When taking my order, my waitress asked if I would like steamed rice. I told her I would prefer “fried rice, please.”
“OK”, she confirmed. “Flied Lice,” and walked quickly back to the kitchen. Whatever. I enjoyed my flied lice. I didn’t ask where they came from.
The most important 2-bits of information I got out of this lunch was how to pronounce “Mei Mei”. Given its spelling, it could be “My My” or “Me Me”. So I asked my waitress, who, with a knowing smile, explained that it is pronounced “May May”.
OK, so I asked what “May May” means in English. “Beautiful” she replied. “Yes, beautiful”.
So, now I want to know who came up with that nonsensical spelling. Why the mystery? Couldn’t it just as well be spelled “May May” so everyone would know?
On another occasion, I dined at Mei Mei with 3 friends and had a much better experience. We ordered a variety of main dishes and shared. Beef Chow Mein ($9); Kung Pao Chicken ($9); Almond Chicken ($9); Mongolian Beef ($9). Plus several egg rolls and a couple of other items. Everyone enjoyed this meal. We had enough left over for a full 5th meal, so we boxed it up and brought it home to Ms. Karen who said she really liked it. All agreed, this was a 4-Saguaro experience: Very Good!
My third experience was with Ms. Karen, my wife and webmistress. She’s been working real hard on my next project, a self-guided Tucson History Tour. So I wanted to thank her by taking her out for Sunday lunch. She chose Mei Mei.
She ordered #13 from the Lunch Specials: Curry Chicken. According to the menu, it comes with a small cup of Egg Flower soup. Ms. Karen inquired as to the difference between Egg Flower soup and Egg Drop soup. Our waitress replied, with a slightly sheepish grin, “Same”.
I ordered something I had not already had: Seafood Combination – shrimp, scallop, crab with mixed veggies, mostly broccoli and some mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. I despise the taste and smell of broccoli, but Karen said it was fresh. There were two shrimp, something that resembled scallops, and the substitute for crab, or was it lobster. As local seafood goes, we both prefer Mariscos Chihuahua.
Including tea, this meal for 2 plus tip came to $30. But our take-home amounted to another meal. Even with the smaller lunch special, ’tis not likely anyone leaves Mei Mei hungry.
A couple of observations. This restaurant is not fancy. Whomever did the interior décor was either a minimalist or working on a very tight budget. But who goes to Chinese Restaurants for the ambience anyway. Nevertheless, it is very clean. The service is very good. And some of the staff can speak a little English.
However, when staff communicates with each other, it’s all Chinese. Whether Mandarin or Cantonese I can’t tell. I only know two words of Chinese: “Mei Mei”.
I did ask if they are all from the same family. Our waitress said, “Sisters”. Nice folks. Hard working for sure.
Be aware, Mei Mei has no website, but you can find a partial menu on Yelp reviews, which are generally positive. The actual menu is very extensive. And you can take home a “take-out” menu when you dine here.
I did notice they offer beer (Heineken) & wine. The wine (white) looked to be a rather cheap label and there was one bottle. We have noticed that beer and wine are not often thought of in the same breath as Chinese Food in any case. One does not go to a Chinese restaurant for the alcohol.
I give our overall experience of three Mei Mei meals three and a half saguaros. Better than just AVERAGE, but not quite up to VERY GOOD.