Ethnic food in Lancaster?
My husband and I are considering a move to Lancaster.
We have been spoiled by the multiethnicity and cheap eats
of Queens County, New York. Will we be able to satisfy
our need for variety without trekking to Philadelphia?
Thanks for your comments.
Since this thread popped to the top, I will concur with the more positive minded posts of some of the folks, especially my friend Mike W.
Even in the past couple of years, you will see responses to Lancaster chow requests. Just like the big cities, it's a "touristy" are so you have to hunt for the best chow, and not make a judgement based on where you ate during your long weekend in Amish country.
But, Lancaster County now has half a million people, and if you match that with Berks (where I live), and Lebanon, you're talking about 1 million total. This requires many more restaurants than in the past, which increases the chances of great chow.
If you want "ethnic" food in this area, you're really better off buying some local made treats (butters, sausage, baked goods) at one of the family owned grocery stores (not Giant/Weis/Redners).
Better yet, visit one of the local farmers markets, ignore all the junk for sale and chow down on all kinds of local and often ethnic foods.
Unfortunately, this response is about 4 years too late, but hopefully it will be informative to others. Lancaster has come a long way in the past many yars. While it still willn not qualify as an outer borough, it has more to offer than meets the eye.
Sushi options are really improving. My favorite is Ginmiya, in a shopping center along rte 999, Manor Avenue/MIlelrsville Pike just west of Lancaster City, by the REgal Cinemas. Very fesh fish and some interesting special rolls... The cooked food is good too. Also, there is Blue Pacific on Oregon Pike just south of Rte 30. And Tokyo Diner on Manhei Pike (not the best), and Cafe East on Cneterville Rd (only been there once- can't break away from ginmiya.)
I have heard good things about an INdian place on Rohrerstown Rd just south of the Rte 30 exit called Taj Mahal.
Also, an excellent hole-in-the-wall BYOB Mexican place opened a few years ago. It is Cucina Mexicana on PRince Street just down from the FUlton Opera House, between Orange and King Streets. Great tamales, fish tacos, carne asada, and cheap! The more wll know Mexican place, El Serrano, is very PA-Dutchified, no spice, wouldn't recommend it.
Sukhothai is a new Thai-ish place that disappouinted me, but many others liked it.
There is a middle eastern stand at Central Market thatmakes some good warak einab (grape leaves), thetis (spinachpies)... and a halalmeat storeon New Holland Avenue for buyign your own ingredients.
Also, there is a tiny pho place on Prince Street acrossfrom the baseball stadium that is pretty authentic. And a new Korean BBQ on Queen near Lemon. I think it is called Onions Cafe.
ONe more option is the restarautn at 10,000 Villages in Ephrata. It switches the ethnicity of cooking every week, but is supposed to be quite authentic and an intersting experience as well. Probably no alcohol, though, as 10.000 Villages is a Mennonite operation.
Queens it ain't but things in Lancaster are much more varied than it was when I grew up here. There used to be one Chinese place and that was it. Now, there are too many to mention. But I will mention my favorite, Hong Kong Garden on Columbia Ave. Mexican is slim pickings, but El Nuevo and La Famila both offer up Puerto Rician food. The resturant culture in Lancaster has a deep Greek heritage. Many places are owned by Greek families. The menus may be mostly American but there are usually a few Greek items on the menu. Lemon Grass Thai on Rt 30 East has Thai that will match that found in Philly.
Clearly there is NOT the sort of diversity that you find in Queens. You should not expect there to be. However the hound in chiefs statements ring true. What is ethnic to one is not to the other.
Just a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I went to Washington DC. We ate at a Lebanese place. None of that here at home, but lots ogf great food is here as well. I am sure that the farm produce we get here is something that Queens can not deliver.
Good Eats are just about everywhere. lancaster is better all the time
Tho I am in sympathy with Jim's post, in actuality there are quite a number of posts (including by locals) that should help you check out the range of food available in Lancaster - there was also a similar thread quite recently re Mechanicsburg and vicinity which might also be of help.
Just go to the Pennsylvania page and search for Lancaster using the Edit - Find commands on your browser. There may be additional posts on Middle Atlantic. It seems like Lancaster is more cosmopolitan than we Pa dutch food enthusiasts think.
Ive linked one of the threads below.
Well, you've got to readjust a bit. If you're not with the chow you love, love the chow you're with. Etc, etc.
There's a ton of great chow all around you that can't be found in Queens. If you do a solid job of chowhounding (use some of the tips on this board...and check link below), you'll encounter wonderment to keep you stoked for a good long while.
Once you exhaust that, and start craving Sichuan, sushi, and empanadas, you can maybe try to find make-do alternatives. But don't ever forget that you're able to get things out there that we can't dream of in Queens. Great breakfasts. lardy potato chips. Fruit butters and lots of plates of little vegetables and great produce and pork products. Some of the best hamburgers in america (Black Angus in Adamsville...also outstanding microbeer). Probably some barbecue if you hunt for it. Pies. Man, what I wouldn't give for some serious pie. And that's ALL "ethnic"!
We all pine for what we haven't got near us, it's chowhound nature. Just remember that I'm back here in Queens wishing I was where YOU are!
re: Jim Leff
P.S.--if you faithfully report all your finds and progress and engage with others here, you'll attract like-minded locals to the discussion.
If we can build a critical mass of Lancaster hounds, no chow inquiry will go unsavvily answered. I'd suggest you plant seeds to build that quorum of like-minded eaters, so you can enjoy a resource/community like we have in the NYC, SF, LA, Boston, Chicago, etc, boards.
It's not hard, there are hounds out there...