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Aug 12, 2006 05:40 AM

Fresno Visalia strengths - Hmong, Lao, Mex, Mien?

I was hoping yall could help me out. Just wondering what are the food specialties in this neck of the Central Valley, since I'll be taking the 8 hour roundtrip drive from San Francisco to Dinuba for work on Monday, and would like to get some good grub in hopefully.

I'm guessing that Hmong, maybe Mien, Lao, Khmer and Mexican food would be among the good stuff? Is this an accurate guess? Where could you find some good authentic, down home food? Are they on a secret menu at a "Thai" spot? Taquerias? Corner stores? I generally think some of the best eating tends to be in the hoods where there's at least some chances of getting shot, is this the case around Fresno, Visalia, etc?

But if I can't hook up some of this stuff maybe I'll just go look for a chili size! Also wondering, is there any place to buy fresh papalo leaves? Is there a Puebla/Poblana joint around? And does anyone know about a Mien (but maybe just Lao) snack that kind of looks like a big chunk of tofu, which you mix with a very spicy red sour liquid and is eaten cold/room temp? Used to eat this at a Mien corner store in Oakland but never got the name of it.

Thanks for any pointers, I appreciate it!

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  1. Welcome to Fresno!

    Yes, we have some excellent ethnic food here. PolarBear just posted his review of Thai Orchid. I've never been there, but check out his posting:

    My personal current favorite for Lao and Thai cuisine is a hole in the wall called B&K Asian Kitchen. It's small and authentic, as far as I can tell, but I always ask them to spice up the dishes b/c they aren't hot enough for me. It's at 1276 North 1st Street in Fresno, off of the 41 at McKinley. It's in the hood.

    For Mexican, try Cuca's in the Tower District for excellent albondigas soup and Chris' Meat Market (thanks, glazebrookgirl) for tacos, asada, etc. Chris' is definitely in the hood; make sure to lock your car and hold onto your wallet. Lots of cops eat there, though. (Good sign, IMHO).

    Just click on my handle for reviews and more information about both places. PolarBear, glazebrookgirl and I have talked about these restaurants lately.


        1. I noticed a new place called Lao Paradise (iirc) had opened a couple of weeks ago on the east side of Blackstone between Gettysburg and Shaw Aves.

          1. The best Armenian I've found is IZI Deli on Chestnut and Butler. Their pilaf is tastier than any other I've had, and their hummus is outstanding. It's lighter, smoother, and creamier than most hummus, almost as if they whip air into it.
            If you get there at the right time (call ahead), they will have choreg hot out of the oven.