Shanghai Express: Mojing's back & Super Día has the Goods

Miss Anna May Wong might have moved to el D.F. had she known...

"I'm an occidental woman in an oriental mood for love", Mae West once sang. I know how she felt, only it's the food I'm usually in the mood for. We need not worry, for the Chinese are coming. Their products are everywhere, from the tianguis to Palacio de Hierro. It is said that Mexican flags and Virgins de Guadalupe are all made in China now. There used to be a Chinese community here in Mexico, workers brought in the 19th century to build railroads. They later opened 'fast food' restaurants called cafés de chinos, serving nominally Chinese dishes like chop suey as well as eggs, coffee and sweet rolls, much like the typical American coffee shop of yore. A few remain. But the Chinese themselves either assimilated into the population, left, or were, sometime around the revolution, ungratefully kicked out. But as we all know, things have changed. Communism ain't what it used to be. They're coming back in droves, this time not as abused laborers but as savvy business-people. And if that means more Chinese restaurants for us, I say, more power to 'em.

Mojing, a Cantonese palace hidden inside a Chinese mini-mall, is amongst the few venues for 'real' Asian food in the city. It opened last year and was reported on in a popular lifestyle magazine that feigns 'hipness' (but in fact panders to the dumbest Malinchista instincts of middle class Mexicans). It was described as an anomaly, a 'wierd' Chinese restaurant where frogs are eaten whole. Sadly, 'authenticity' when referring to cuisine, is still not much appreciated here. Hence the plethora of lousy chop suey joints of the type that back in the US went out of style sometime around the demise of the Beatles. Of course, smelling "Chinese for Chinese" I went as fast as I could and wasn't disappointed. An expert chef from Hong Kong, Tan, prepares dishes for an almost exclusively Asian clientele, so no chow mein or sweet & sour is to be found. In fact, the waiters speak little Spanish (much less English). I had trouble getting them to understand that I wanted tea! Better to order it in Chinese: cha. And they stared in amazement when I ordered and proficiently handled chopsticks (palillos en español). The menu, however, is well translated into Spanish. There are so many interesting dishes to try, I couldn't possibly list them all here. Start with some dense steamed dumplings, served with the proper black vinegar, soy and hot oil dipping sauce. And/or some savory hongos en salsa picante. Soups are large - the "chica' is enough for six bowls. I like agri-picante con mariscos. Try the carne en salsa ligeramente picosa, fragrant beef with ginger and semi-crunchy green peppers and onions. Or, a whole fish with ginger and scallions and soy sauce. Camaron frito con anis chino and carne de cerdo con queso de soya deshydratado (pressed tofu,which is common in NY's Chinatown but something I've never seen in Mexico) are just two unusual but mouthwatering options from the large menu. Vegetables are fresh and bright: order estrapajo con ajo picado, the chopped garlic perfectly complements the crunchy, verdant zucchini-like loofah.

The space is large, with typical Chinese restaurant kitchy decor, a TV blairing Chinese programming. Tsingtao beer is available and only $25 pesos. Prices are reasonable; a full meal will be around $200 pesos. Although closed for a couple of months this spring (2011) they are back in business as of August with not one but TWO chefs, the friendly hostess promissed me. And an inexpensive ($65 peso) buffet is offered weekdays which is light years ahead of the normally gloppy competitors.
This is the real thing...津津有味 (Jīnjīnyǒuwèi: Buen provecho!)
Mojing Comida China
c/ Humboldt 56 (inside the mall)
between Artículo 123 & Juarez, Centro
Te. 5512 6901
Open Daily 12-11PM

Meanwhile, in the most unlikely neighborhood is found Super Día, a huge Chinese supermarket. It will not dissapoint those in need of any sort of dry or bottled Asian ingredient. From noodles of every kind, to Szechuan bean sauce and many types of sesame oil, chili oil, oyster sauce, dark or light soy etc. etc., even the hard to find Shaoxing cooking wine, it's all here. A nice selection of woks are in stock, and for anyone thinking of opening a dim sum parlour, industrial size steamers are available.
Super Día is located in Colonia Tabacalera (near the Museo San Carlos, Between Metros Revolución & Hidalgo) Av. Puente de Alvarado 34

A note to my readers: Good Food in Mexico City has been included, amidst stellar company, in the New York Times. See: Diner's Journal


  1. Looks like a place to visit!
    What is the address?

  2. ...where is it located?

  3. Now that's just the kind of restaurant review the New York Times just doesn't publish. Besides the great descriptions of food, menu & prices, I get a warning about how to avoid the "skanky homeless people!"

  4. How do you say dumplings in Spanish? Really. Thanks. And thanks for bringing this place to our attention, señor. You are a valuable critter.

  5. "dumplings" are usually oddly translated as "raviolis chinos"

  6. At last! This place is next on my Mexico City dining list.
    Muchas gracias.

    Don Cuevas

  7. Que tal? I recently discovered your informative culinary musings on the web. As a recent returning resident to DF, they are a fabulous resource. Muchisimas gracias!! I can't wait to pick up your book........


    Alan V.
    Hipodromo Condesa

  8. I went, and I much prefer the food in Rico Food.

  9. The commentator above refers to
    Rico Food Comida China
    Av. Coyoacán 426, Col. del Valle

    I find it's menu less interesting and catering more to a 'western clientele'. But certainly not bad.

  10. Thanks to your review I went to this restaurant earlier in the year with two other people and I absolutely loved it. I'm still dreaming about those dumplings and I will be forever grateful for the tip.

    Our waiter, BTW, was Mexican and I could tell he a little bit of trouble communicating my special request to the Chinese staff. But as you said, the menu is well-translated into Spanish so we had no problem finding things that looked interesting. The problem was narrowing down our choices. My only regret was that I did not go with more people so we could try more dishes.

    I went back last Monday and was heartbroken to find it closed. A guy working in the furniture store that it is sort of hidden behind told us that it would reopen in the same location under new management with the same chef. Or at least another Chinese chef, I'm not sure that he was really sure. He also thought it would be this month (August 2011). He gave us his phone number so we could check back with him in a couple of weeks so I will do that and will keep checking here for an update as well.

    I admire your tenacity in finding this place. We had all the information you provided -- the exact address on Humbolt, between Juarez and Articulo 123, inside a mall, next to the homeless people on Articulo 123 and I still didn't believe we were in the right place when all I could see was a furniture store.

    I was sure I had made a mistake in the address or that maybe I got the colonia wrong and it was some other Humbolt, between some other Juarez and Articulo 123. Or that the restaurant had closed down since you published the article. The only thing that saved us is that we decided to walk inside the furniture store to ask someone about it and we saw the little Chinese grocery store and then finally the restaurant itself.

    Thanks again for this and many other valuable articles, particularly the one about Mercado San Juan Pugibet that I finally visited after reading your article last December.

  11. Marie, I was also heartbroken to find it closed and hope that it does re-open. It goes to prove that in some ways we still are not a truly 'International' city. Mexicans, por lo general, just aren't interested in the 'other'. Like New York back in the old days. Apparently the Indian neighborhood in Jackson Heights, Queens has been there since the 1970's but do you think any non-Indians (including me) ever heard of it or went there? Of course not. And now, it's still totally cool and Indian, but it's a commonly known 'excursion' from Manhattan, and everybody I know has been. That's where we're at here. And there just aren't enough Chinese in Mexico to keep a good but hidden place in a grotty neighborhood going. But they're a comin'. Viva free trade! With the crappy products we get Chinese PEOPLE (which we like!) and with them their food. Lima has a cool Chinatown as does Amsterdam, Brussels and many other small cities. We CAN preserve our Mexican-ness and also take advantage of the 'Chinese invasion' of the world. So we'll hold tight and see what the Big Wok holds in store...

  12. Nick,

    I hadn't read your updated message about the reopened restaurant so I called last Friday. As soon as I dialed the number I handed the phone to my husband. I'm a New Jersey native with a stubborn accent and a still limited vocabulary so for mission critical stuff like this I prefer him to to do talking on the phone.

    As soon as I heard the phone ring I remembered that the person who answers the phone there might not actually speak Spanish -- which ended up being the case. She handed the phone to someone who could.

    You can't imagine how thrilled I was when he confirmed that they were open and still had the same chef. I'll admit I was nervous when I heard about the $65 buffet. Was this going to be the Dorloresification of the restaurant? When I went to post the information here I noticed that you already had and I was relieved to read what you wrote about the buffet.

    We had planned to bike on Reforma on Sunday but I tripped and hurt myself before we could get to the bikes so I limped six or seven blocks to the restaurant and comforted myself with a Tsingtao (still $25!!) and studied the menu. It was about 13:00 and we were the only customers.

    Our original idea was to just have a snack and then take a taxi back to where we had parked the car in the Zona Rosa and continue lunch at a Korean restaurant but we we lost our self-control once we started ordering. Dumplings, mustard plant and squid proved to be more than I could handle. I considered getting the cumin-flavored lamb but was glad that I hadn't because I had no more room. (Although now that I think about it a bag of leftovers would have been a fine way to start the week!)

    They said they would be changing the menu soon. I'm worried they will do that before I have a chance to try everything on the current one! There's something I haven't tried yet that appears to be a whole fried fish in a bright orange sauce that looks exactly like something I had in Suzhou a couple of years ago.

    Thanks for your comments above. While I'm from a Czech family of North Jersey, even as a kid I never wanted to limit myself to Czech food or New Jersey-style Italian food which was all around me. My Dad was probably one of the first people on our street who was a big fan of Julia Child's first TV program so I watched it with him.

    When it comes to food I am greedy. I want it all (or at least a great deal of it) and I've always been lucky to live in places where I had a lot of variety and foreigners who operated their own grocery stores.

    After I moved here and went to my first few cafes de chinos I figured if I wanted Chinese food I was going to have to cook it myself but I didn't know where to buy anything. I'm the only foreigner in my neighborhood and there isn't a lot of foreign influence in our local stores. I couldn't find eggplant, basil or parmesan cheese -- even in a can -- so forget about sesame oil, hoisin sauce and ginger.

    Whenever I traveled in my early days here my suitcase would be filled with condiments for other cuisines -- Mexican stuff going north and a lot of Asian stuff coming south. Little by little I learned about the places to go in both countries.

    Your blog gave me a giant leap forward in Mexico. Years ago someone told me about a downtown San Juan market for stuff I was looking for but I apparently I went to the wrong place because it was definitely not Pujibet! It wasn't until after I read your blog that I went looking for it again and realized I had made that mistake the first time. It's a little far for a weekly trip for me but it is so comforting to know it is there when I need it.

    As you said the landscape is changing and now you can find hoisin sauce in Liverpool and Oaxacan mole negro in Passaic county, New Jersey!

  13. Thank you Marie, You are obviously a "member of the Church"...
    Let's go for dim sum some time!

  14. Re the dim sum -- It's a deal!

    I found Eureka lemons in a supermarket yesterday and bought three kilos in case I never see them again. Maybe they've been out there all along but I stopped looking for them after the first year. Tonight I'm celebrating my find with a nice tall glass of lemonade and thinking about all the things I can do with them.

  15. My wife and I made a return visit to Mojing on Monday, April 8, 2013.

    There were just the two of us, so we had to be very selective in what we ordered. We wanted Raviolis Chinos Al Vapor, but our Spanish speaking, Mexican waiter told us that they weren't ready yet. We decided to have Sopa de Mariscos Agri-picante, and then a dish of "Brochetas" de Camarones con Sal y Chile. Not served en brochette, but, so what? Both were good choices, although I think the shrimp with salt and chile were definitely the best. They were large, heads on shrimp, coated with some light crunchy stuff, studded with bits of garlic and sat. I had to restrain myself from eating the heads and the rest of the shell.

    The Sopa de Mariscos we had was the smaller, $82 pesos size, yet it was huge. We each had two individual bowls full and still had leftovers to take back to our guest house. We also had a couple of bowls of steamed white rice, one pot of tea and two agua minerals. I don't recall the exact bill, but I think it was less than $300 pesos.

    I saw on the menu that the restaurant was offering paquetes or combo lunch specials, but as far as I know, no buffet. The menu is changed since our earlier visit a couple of years ago. (January 31, 2011
    http://mexkitchen.blogspot.mx/2011/02/mexico-city-weekend-part-5.html ) I detected what I think is more of a Sichaun influence on the menu.

    Notable too, the homeless colony is gone from the opposite side of Calle Artículo 123, replaced by a fresh coat of paint on the wall and an EcoBici rack.

    We look forward to returning, possibly in July, but with more people so we can try more dishes.

    Getting to the restaurant is even easier now, with the MetroBus' Estacíon Júarez only a few blocks away.

    Don Cuevas