Mission Chinese Food Review: Mapo Tofu from Mission Chinese Food

Mission Chinese Food Review: Mapo Tofu from Mission Chinese Food

There’s a dish out there right now that makes you feel like you’re pushing a lawnmower on a hot July day. It makes you struggle and sweat. You start to question your resolve. In fact, this dish would actually ignite Guy Fieri’s hair on fire. Danny Bowien brought Mission Chinese Food to the Lower East Side this year and his Mapo Tofu is too legit to quit. It’s priced aggressively at $12.5, although 75 cents of each entree goes to the Food Bank NY, which is a very worthy cause. So really the dis is $11.75, which puts it right at the cusp of what mapo tofu costs in New York City.

There are no lunch specials at Mission Chinese Food, even though they are open for lunch. The Mapo Tofu dish could easily feed two though. Eating it made me feel like eating sichuan food for the very first time again. It carries serious heat and the mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorns are present for realz. The menu says they use pork shoulder, which probably is why the dish is nice and porky. There were bites when I thought it was beef, which is normal because I have no taste buds so I couldn’t tell you exactly what the meat was. It was very finely ground though. My non-discerning palate aside, this is probably my favorite mapo tofu dish in the city.

One thing I gotta say though is, rice is $1.50. Often when you order entrees in a Chinese restaurant, it comes with one bowl of rice. If you want more, OK, there’s a charge. The rice comes with bits of barley in it, which makes it different. It’s not soft all the way through. I actually like that rice requires payment. See, in a restaurant where rice is free, it just gets priced into the dish. Nothing comes for free. It’s just that some restaurants price it in, and Mission Chinese Food has you order it separately.

I know that might strike some Asians as ludicrous. But I think that’s really how we should approach rice. I mean, if you think every Chinese restaurant throws away uneaten bowls of rice that went out to the customer… you’re fucking wrong. That’s just not how it works. Sure, at the upscale joints like Chinatown Brasserie or Red Farm, they prolly don’t recycle rice. In Chinatown? If you could peer behind the curtains, I’m sure many of them recycle rice for fried rice, even if the bowl went out to the customer. I’m sure the shadier places might even recycle half eaten rice, but the bowls that look untouched probably always gets turned into fried rice. Just saying. So I like when rice is paid for and the restaurant can look at the rice like a thing that’s not for reuse.

I don’t want to stray too far from the food in this post, since I think Mission Chinese Food is doing something awesome with their Mapo Tofu and you should get down there to the LES and try their other fares.

One last note about Food Bank NY. Right now they’re giving anyone the chance to make a difference. It works like this. You go to their Facebook page for 1 Like Equals 5 Meals, and ‘like’ them. With that single click, something powerful happens: FedEx will donate FIVE meals to hungry New Yorkers. If you want to join the 3,600+ other individuals who have helped reduce hunger in New York with two minutes of their time and one click, you should go over to facebook now and ‘like’ Food Bank of New York. There’s less than two weeks to help, and you can probably spare two minutes to do something good today. Get to it now.

Mission Chinese Food171 E Broadway.New York, NY 10002212-432-0300

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