good ethnic food in Durham/RTP area
grady at ibiblio.org
Fri Feb 24 15:04:57 EST 2006
Yeah, Chosun OK is way more Korean than you might expect for a stripmall
in south Durham; it's pretty good. I haven't been in a few months & I
don't recall what if anything they had which was vegetarian/vegan-friendly.
Next door to Chosun OK (this is a stripmall at the corner of 54x55, as
Tommy said, the one with the Pizza Hut in the parking lot) is Spice &
Curry, which is actually a pretty good Indian restaurant. It's owned by
the same people who own the kickass Udupi in Cary. Udupi is
all-vegetarian. Spice & Curry isn't, but there's a good range of stuff.
I'm told the menu is better than the buffet, yet I keep doing the buffet.
Cary is really the place to go if you're looking for Indian & Asian type
food, though; there's a set of stripmalls centered around the corner of
Maynard & Chatham which contain several good Indian joints (including
the aforementioned Udupi), plus Korean & Japanese & I'm not even sure
what-all else. You can hit it & then drive a long block south on Maynard
and go see an Indian movie at the Galaxy Cinema, which also has a better
arthouse-cinema selection than the lazy-by-comparison fare at Chelsea &
The African restaurant in Durham that Rossi mentioned was the
now-sadly-defunct (so I'm told) Safari Cuisine. Those people were
driving from Knightdale every day, too, which must've sucked.
If you haven't been told about the "more Vietnamese" menu at Banh's on
9th Street on Wednesdays & Saturdays, just go. The vegetarian plate
rocks my world, moreso on Wednesday (broccoli+tofu+bok choy+sticky rice)
than on Saturday (substitute a spring roll for the veggies).
Pao Lim, over near Hepler's house (15/501 business in Durham, right
before it doglegs into Forest Hills) is pleasant mid-scale
Indian/Chinese fusion that costs a bit more & executes reliably with
fresher ingredients etc. Nothing groundbreaking but always tasty, and
they've got wider booze options than most Asian joints. There's also a
new Thai place (Thai Cafe? maybe that's the one you've already been to
-- it's Brand New) right down the street, as well as an Indian joint
just up the street the other way. Hepler?
I like the pho at 9N9 (corner of Miami & Alexander in RTP) better than
the pho at Lime & Basil; my sources have lately informed me that Lime &
Basil was sold & the new owners didn't get the pho recipe from the old
ones. These people say it's not as good, but who knows, maybe I'd like
it better now.
I've had at least one tasty meal at the oldest Vietnamese restaurant in
Durham, Kim Son, which is on Guess Road just south of I85 (as in it's
the last thing you pass before you drive under the highway). That was
like 8 years ago; I just don't find myself in that neighborhood that often.
The best Thai restaurant in the Triangle is Sawasdee on Capital Blvd N.
in Raleigh. It's in that same area as the Guitar Center & Tiger Direct
(on the same side of the road) but it's sort of buried in this
side-street stripmall. The sign on Capital just says "Thai Restaurant."
Thai Palace in Chapel Hill is still just as reliably good as it was when
you were at UNC.
If you're traveling in RTP, Sarah's Empanadas is worth a stop. It's in
Glenwood Commons shopping center on highway 55 about 2 miles south of
that 55/54 intersection. It's empanadas and not much else, but they do
have veggie empanadas (I think all the veggie ones have cheese, though).
Not asian, though. They're not open for dinner, though.
That's the same stripmall as the Park Diner, which means this is my cue
to tell Bo that it's still there & as good or better than ever. Come on
There's also a Thai place (two, actually) in that stripmall, but I
didn't think they were worth driving to. And yet another Indian buffet,
which is owned by Dale, the guy who owns Dale's on 9th Street, which is
serviceable but generic.
Greg Cox, the food critic for the News & Observer, is actually a fairly
useful resource when it comes to ethnic food. He has some blind spots
(he seems to have a soft spot for some only slightly-above-average
chinese food) but he sniffs out the new stuff fairly quickly & overall
can be a pretty reliable guide, particularly if you're looking to know
which of X cuisine is the best to try. http://www.triangle.com/dining --
you can search the restaurant reviews & narrow it down by region &
cuisine, and then sort on price or # of **s.
Speaking of slightly-above-average chinese food, the homemade noodles at
(oh crap, what's it called? Eastern Lights, I think) the chinese/korean
joint next to the Sally Beauty Supply in one of the many stripmalls
behind where South Square used to be are actually really good. The rest
of the menu is spotty.
I gotta go back to work, but that should get you started. Plus it's your
duty to check out all the joints within 5 miles of your house & then
report back to us.
tommy gibson wrote:
> I'm a big fan of Jamaica Jamaica - the wait can be a bit long during the
> lunch rush, but the food is consistently good. Also, O.K. Chosun BBQ at
> the corner of 54 & 55 (closest corner to I40 east). It took some persuading
> to get me to try Korean BBQ, but it's really quite tasty (and not too
> rchrdlln at gmail.com wrote:
>> OK, I *know* this group has some recommendations for me. We have tried
>> the Blue Nile and Thai Cafe, now we're looking for recommendations for
>> other good ethnic restaurants: Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. Not
>> really looking for recommendations for, say, Chinese or Mexican
>> (although if someone knows of some incredible unknown place I'd be
>> interested to hear it).
>> Ross Grady, this means you. I know you know your way around an RTP
>> restaurant or two.
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