Exploring St Paul, MSP Asian area - looking for recs
I just started exploring the Asian area on University Ave beginning at around Dale and heading East in St. Paul (yes, I live in the western burbs of Mpls, but my daughter dances in St. Paul, so we spend a lot of time there dropping off and picking up). There are quite a few Asian restaurants there and I'm looking for recs about the ones you have tried and what you thought about them. My journey started a couple of months ago when I wandered into Mai Village one night for dinner. Another night, I attempted to go to Little Szechuan but it was closed, and I ate at Krua Thai down the block. Then last week, I ate at Little Szechaun. And that has been the extent of the places I've tried. I know that I've seen quite a few other places all within several blocks of each other. I think one of the places is called "Cheng Heng"? and across the street, another one called something "Pho".
Any suggestions, recommendations, or ones to stay away from?
Cheng Heng is the only place I know of in the Twin Cities that serves Cambodian food, and good Cambodian food at that. Definitely recommended. If they still have Cambodian Hot Pot on their menu, that would be a good dish to try.
I think you should do a culinary tour of University Ave - try every single place - and report back to us on a weekly basis! (Just kidding, but I believe there was a group from 3M that actually did this.)
Que Nha is nice - they have slightly nicer decor and a more varied menu than the average Vietnamese place on Univ. Ave. Across the street is a place that serves Chinese BBQ meats (mostly takeout) - I haven't been here yet.
Saigon is especially good - great Vietnamese soup (pho) and sandwiches (banh mi) at University & Dale.
Half a block away is West Indies Soul - nice Caribbean food (try the jerk chicken or red snapper) for when you get tired of Asian food.
Closer to Snelling, there's Bon Xai, which has received rave reviews on this board and in the paper. I haven't been there yet, but it's on my list (maybe tonight!).
Have fun exploring University Avenue!
hey, that's not a bad idea! I just might! We're in St. Paul almost every evening with time to kill, so a survey of University Ave may be exactly what I need to keep out of trouble (the other choice is waiting and sleeping in my car).
I'm going to attempt a list of the restaurants there, and get this started...
West Indies Soul
There are some pretty neat Asian groceries along there, including FoodSmart that also has the Hmong cafeteria in it. Dragon Star is a great grocery: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/12152...
And, for the experience of it, there's also the "sprawling Hmong market" just off of University:
There's Trung Nam bakery on University (it's in the old Popeye's building and has a chain link fence surrounding it)--I really like the croissants there...
EDITED to ADD: Also, on Snelling, just a 3-4 of blocks North of University is the Black Sea (Turkish)
and Kim's Oriental Grocery (Korean grocery--not a restaurant)...
there was a thread bouncing about recently discussing good Korean restaurants that mentioned some of the Snelling spots. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36236...
Also, in that same 2-3 block of Snelling is Fasika (Ethiopian.)
This is in a different part of St. Paul, but I just want to take this opportunity to say that we love Tanpopo, although we don't get there nearly often enough. This Japanese restaurant in Lowertown serves excellent soups. I also love the agadashi tofu there. Yum. They are a sushi-free zone.
ok, in trying to keep with the theme of University Ave Asian restaurants starting at around Dale, and continuing East until, maybe, Robert St, here's what I've got:
West Indies Soul
Pho Ca Dao
Trung Nam bakery
Food Smart Grocery (w/ restaurant in back)
Anything where else I've missed?
If it were me, I'd take Mai Village off your list, or, push it to the bottom. Some of those other restaurants are much better.
And, yes, I like to bring my little digital camera along when I go chow-exploring so I can remember where and what I ate, etc. It's easier sometimes than taking notes. I thought it was fun to experiment a little with Chowhound's new photo feature (it turns out to be fairly easy, though I haven't completely figure out how it crops.) I just wish the photo catalogue in our profiles could be annotated or, at least, provide a link to the thread where the photo is posted to provide context.