In Mayo, a hankering for lemon meringue leads to one place

It's a long way from China's Canton province, but owner and pie-chef-in-residence Jody Ma promises two things: the ginger-fried beef will be hot and the lemon meringue will be fresh.

MAYO

If you want a fresh slice of pie here, you’ve got one option: the New China Village Restaurant.

It’s a long way from China’s Canton province, but owner and pie-chef-in-residence Jody Ma promises two things: the ginger-fried beef will be hot and the lemon meringue will be fresh.

Jody Ma runs the New China Village with her husband, Ben. It’s the only restaurant in the town of 400 and Jody said the pie is one of her biggest hits.

“My lemon meringue pie is very popular. Sometimes in the summer, people will rush to the restaurant around 6 p.m. saying, ‘Jody, you should be making more!’” she said.

The restaurant also offers a full compliment of standard North American and Chinese fare, everything from chow mein and chop suey to burgers and coffee.

The food is simple but satisfying, much the same as you’d find in any Chinese restaurant across Canada. But just like eating on a camping trip, finding sweet and sour chicken balls in a remote part of the Yukon adds a little something that you wouldn’t find on Toronto’s Yonge Street.

It’s also the only place in Mayo where you can go to relax with a beer after work. That’s one of the biggest selling features for the Mas’ main customer base: miners.

“Maybe once a week they come when (the mines) let people off. We also get tourists from Germany. Every day we get different customers,” said Jody.

The Mas have been running the New China Village since the end of 2009.

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“This month is my four years in Mayo,” said Jody, smiling fondly.

The two have been in Canada since 1980.

“Before we got here, we were not married. Ben applied with me as his girlfriend or something, but when you come to Canada you need to be married within 30 days or go back to China,” said Jody.

Originally from China’s Canton province, they moved to the Yukon from Calgary to be closer to family. Before Calgary, they ran a Chinese restaurant in Kelowna, B.C., from 1994 until 2002. Jody has cousins who live in Mayo, and they kept telling her the community really needed a Chinese restaurant, she said.

The restaurant is located on 1st Avenue, just down the street from Big Way Foods on the banks of the Stewart River.

Ask anyone in town for directions, and they’ll tell you, “It’s the place by the river with all the cars out front.”

The interior feels like it could just as easily be in Vancouver as the Yukon, except for the frost-encrusted doorway and the continually idling cars outside. It regularly hits -40 C in Mayo in the winter, and a steaming plate of chicken-fried rice is the perfect thing to make up for the fact that you have to leave your car running to keep it from freezing.

During the winter, the Mas’ main clientele are locals who come rushing over for lunch and dinner, but in the summer the tourist traffic picks up.

“We like it,” said Jody.

“The people are really nice. We always get the after-work crowd, especially the mining people. They’ll come for a beer and a meal. It’s hard to say which is our most busy day. It changes every week,” she said.

The restaurant is open Monday to Friday 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and again 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. On the weekends they’re open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the same afternoon breaks.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

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