Mimimi For First Timers

February 04, 2019

Whether you are an adventurous foodie or not, trying out something new can be intimidating. Don’t worry - you are not alone. That is why we are here.

Discover Saint John teamed up with Chef Jesse Vergen to highlight some of the amazing restaurants in our city. ‘For First Timers’ is a video series where we show you what to expect from the moment you walk in the door to what you should order and everything in between.

We also want to share the incredible people behind the restaurant doors and their culture. You may have heard the rumour that Saint John is quickly earning a reputation for fantastic dining and it’s because of the talented folks that choose to call Saint John home.

Without further ado, let’s talk food.

Let’s visit Mimimi (725-1 Millidge Ave, Saint John, NB) which is open 7 days a week, 11:30 am until 9:00 pm. Mimimi is a new restaurant serving authentic Chinese and Asian cuisine. The exterior is unassuming and but Chef Ning designed a warm and inviting interior to make it a space where you can relax.


Mimimi Exterior

Let’s clear things up right away: This is not your typical, westernized, fast food Chinese restaurant. There are no chicken balls,  but yes, it is really freaking delicious. If you have never had true chinese food, do not fear. One bite in and your eyes will widen as you wonder where this food has been all of your life.


Inaudible Approval

When Chef Ning and his wife Sirui were discussing opening a restaurant, they considered bigger cities like Vancouver or Toronto, but Saint John has been their home for the past 12 years. They soon realized there was no need to leave the city they have grown to love. With their in-depth menu, the owners want to share their history and culture with Saint Johners.


I Really Like Saint John

Here are the food dishes featured in the video.

1. One of their signature dishes is Guo Bao Rou. (Watch the video to hear Ning pronounce it.) This dish was created in 1907 but its origins will bring you back thousands of years. For anyone with gluten sensitivities, get ready for the best news of the day. It is made with potato starch so it is gluten-free.


Guo Bao Rou


2. The second signature dish Chef Ning shared with Jesse is Ma Po Dou Fu. It is a vegan dish made with Tofu but it packs so much flavour that this is for everyone to enjoy. This is actually the dish that Chinese chefs need to prepare in order to pass their exam. It is a chinese classic and can also be made with beef. Grab a bowl of rice, get a healthy serving of this spicy, oh-so-tasty dish and savour every bite.


Ma Po Dou Fu

3. Finally, the classic and always delicious: Dumplings. These are perfect to start with. It goes without saying but the fact that you can get expertly made Dumplings in Saint John is very exciting. As Jesse put it simply: Wow! Chef Ning changes their fillings periodically so it’s always a good idea to order a plate. You can learn more about their menu and read stories about their dishes on their website.


Dumpling Life

All of that food is completed with a side of rice and if you choose, some traditional Chinese Beer.  Let your server know if you have any dietary restrictions as they are incredibly accommodating and have plenty of options. Oh - and dessert. Always say yes to dessert.

If you only remember one thing from this post, remember this: When the food comes to your table - do not wait to eat it. They prepare their food fresh so the dishes will arrive at different times. Enjoy the food as it arrives, while it is still hot.


The portions are large because they are not designed to be individual meals. Another key aspect to enjoying Asian cuisine is sharing. This is evident by the communal tables and bar seating within Mimimi. Eating is meant to be a social experience which is why they encourage you to come with a group of friends or sit with strangers and make new friends. Crazy concept, eh?! Perhaps the best seats are those at the bar so you can watch the cooking in action with their open kitchen. When you arrive, they will seat you but if it’s not busy - you can sit wherever you’d like. If it’s not apparent yet, they are sincerely great people serving up great food.

So, yes - it is probably different and new from what you are accustomed to. But it is absolutely worth it to gather a group of friends and head to Mimimi to find out what you have been missing out on.



725-1 Millidge Ave, Saint John, NB





Land acknowledgement

The Saint John Region is situated on the traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’Kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati Nations. This territory is covered by Peace and Friendship Treaties signed with the British Crown in the 1700s. The treaties recognized the significant and meaningful role of the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’Kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati in this province and the country with the intent to establish a relationship of trust and friendship.

Envision Saint John: The Regional Growth Agency pays respect to the elders, past and present, and descendants of this land, and is committed to moving forward in the spirit of truth, collaboration, and reconciliation.