When the Pilgrims left England for the New World deep within the hold of the Mayflower was a stockpile of the finest Chinese food ever to cross the North Atlantic. During the first hard winter the cartons of lo mein, moo shu pork, and egg drop soup fought off the Puritan’s starvation. This little known (and completely fabricated) chapter in American history is commemorated by the Mayflower Chinese Restaurant in Quincy, Florida.
I spotted the Mayflower* while searching for a place to grab a quick lunch. A small rectangular red and yellow sign marks the restaurant’s location between a pizza joint and tax prep outlet on Pat Thomas Parkway. Pulling into the small plaza I parked in front of the store. Three Chinese characters and a small neon open sign hung in the plate glass window.
Opening the front door revealed a deserted interior. The floor was a combination of light green and light tan tiles arranged in a block pattern. Black metal chairs with red vinyl cushions lined walls in need of a cleaning. A menu with pictures of several dishes and a large pagoda hung above the register. A small bathroom was located at the rear of the narrow shop.
I walked to the counter and peered into the narrow kitchen to get the attention of the clerk. He greeted me and with a long finger nail directed me towards the lunch specials on the back of the menu. The Mayflower offers 130 different items ranging from Curry Shrimp, Pork Fried Rice, and Kung Pao Chicken. Combination platters and “American Chinese Specials” such as hot wings and fried fish are also offered.
I asked what he recommended and he half-heartedly suggested the pork lo-mein noting some people liked it. I took his suggestion with low expectations and little to lose aside from $5.55. The meal came with an egg roll and fried rice. I also ordered a cup of hot and sour soup and a fountain drink.
A few additional customers straggled into the Mayflower before my name was called. My food was served in foam cartons on top of a small plastic tray. I popped open the top of the circular soup container and was greeted by a oil slick. The yellow colored grease covered the top quarter inch of the hot and sour soup. Underneath was a collection of tofu pieces and an unidentifiable vegetable. It was flavorless and I could only bear a few spoonfuls before moving it off to the side.
Yellow colored fried rice and a pile of lo mein noodles occupied the second foam carton. The lo mein contained pieces of pork, onions, and broccoli. The noodles were greasy and the entire dish had an off putting tangy flavor. The fried rice was dry and had an weird mint flavor. The egg roll was desertlike, flavorless, and only made bearable by two packets of Chinese mustard. My meal was less than enjoyable and a majority of the food ended up in the rubbish.
If for some reason you want to check out the Mayflower it is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. They can be found online at mayflowerquincy.com and contacted at (850) 875-1111.
*The sign out front and the menu list the name of the restaurant at Mayflower, but their webaite lists it as May Flower. Regardless of the way the name is spelled, it is probably best to avoid this place.
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