by Jacqueline Cain | December 9, 2015 6:33 pm
The locally-sourced, Asian-inspired flavors Mei Mei has spread around Boston with its food truck, brick-and-mortar, and shipping container restaurants will soon be available in your own kitchen. The Boston-based company launches its pantry line with a trio of sauces this weekend.
“There are Asian sauces out there, but there isn’t really anything we’d ever seen that focuses on sustainable ingredients. Since that’s really how we drive the menu and the cuisine at the restaurant, we figured this was a great way for people to have it in their home kitchen,” says Margaret Li, the middle sibling of the trio behind the brand.
The inaugural sauces are inspired by products that have graced Mei Mei’s menus through the years.
“We’ve done a cranberry hoisin and a rhubarb sweet and sour, but for this, we wanted to make sure we have a year-round supply of local ingredients,” Li says.
The new products include a cranberry sweet and sour sauce made with Fresh Meadows Cranberries from Carver; apple hoisin, featuring fruit from Cook’s Valley Farm in Wrentham; and smoked maple ginger, sweetened with Bobo’s Mountain Sugar of Vermont. They’re ideal for marinating, dipping, grilling, and seasoning a variety of meats and vegetables, Li said.
The sauces are produced at the Roxbury commissary Commonwealth Kitchen and they will be sold throughout the season at Commonwealth’s stall inside the pop-up Eat Boutique. This weekend, the Lis will be hawking them from Mei Mei Street Kitchen parked at the Allston market. Starting December 14, pick them up at all Mei Mei locations. Online ordering is coming soon, too.
This weekend will also provide an exclusive first taste, during a ticketed Chef Fusion event at Eat Boutique on Saturday. Alongside chef Brendan Pelley of Pelekasis—opening at Wink & Nod next month—Mei Mei’s will serve apple hoisin beef meatballs, and fish pâté with cranberry sweet and sour glaze. The complementing dishes from Pelley are pork souvlaki with apple tzatziki and pita bread; and chickpea, caper, and parsley salad. The ticket price includes local beer and cider.
After the holiday season, other Mei Mei-inspired pantry items—and maybe even frozen food—is “definitely” on the way.
“Although, they will be coming slowly,” Li says. “We’re figuring out what we have the capacity to do. One of the most requested sauces at the restaurant is our soy aioli, and ideally, we’ll offer not just sauces. Things we’ve been throwing out are cocktail bitters, cooking sauces, and spice blends.”
The team is sharpening its food science skills, a new arena for the fresh-focused Lis; they plan to perfect recipes without additives and preservatives before products hit the market.
Could the Boston area one day heat up Mei Mei dumplings from the comfort of their own kitchens? “Having frozen dumplings for sale is definitely something we’ve thought about since the beginning of the truck,” Li says. “It’s a possibility. Figuring out the wholesale arm is new to us, too, so it may take some time. But we have had people ask and it’s something we may do in the future.”
Chef Fusion: Mei Mei Street Kitchen & Pelekasis, $25, Saturday, December 12, 6-8 p.m., Eat Boutique, 267 Western Ave., Allston; Eventbrite.
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