Pot-stickers (鍋貼) at Mai Xiang Yuan

Pot-stickers (鍋貼)at the Mai Xiang Yuan Restaurant in Montreal

The Mai Xiang Yuan Restaurant on the fringe of Montreal’s Chinatown. It is a tiny little ‘hole-in-the-wall’ sort of place specializing in dumplings of all different sorts. Since it is not a Dim Sum restaurant, which typically serves appetizer sized plates, a serving of dumplings at Mai Xian Yuan is quite hefty. In consequence, I was unable to sample more of the menu as a single plate of their Lamb and Onion filled Jiaozi dumplings, fried Pot-sticker (鍋貼) style, was more than satisfying and very filling.

Aside from a few salads, Mai Xiang Yuan specializes in dumplings only (fried, boiled and in soup). It is a tiny place that seats 36 in a space not much bigger than the living room in a modest home. It is obviously popular, though, for when I arrived at about 12:30 or so on a Wednesday, it was packed full, which made it a little cramped, but not unpleasantly so.

There was only one young woman waiting tables but she did so very efficiently and was very friendly. Each table was provided with dried chili peppers in oil, red vinegar and soy along with a small bowl to mix these condiments to taste as a dipping sauce for the dumplings. A free pot of tea comes with the meal. Each type of dumpling available is served in platters of fifteen unless one orders soup dumplings, in which case only 10 are provided.

As for the dumplings, these were Lamb and Onion filled 餃子 which were fried Pot-sticker style, and were just over $10 for 15. They were toasty golden on one side whilst the remainder was steamed and soft. This particular item exceptionally nicely cooked and very juicy inside. There was a little greasiness to them, perhaps, but not definitely enough to mar the overall quality, or my enjoyment.

My only real complaint is that it was difficult to tell that I was eating lamb. I could easily have been fooled into thinking it was beef or pork had I been told as much, and so I missed the nice, strong lamb flavor I was expecting. Also, the onions were of the regular western variety and I think a more traditional pairing with scallion would have worked better. Still, these were very nice on the whole, especially with a little chili oil and vinegar, and I managed to put away 12 of these 鍋貼 all by myself.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!