best ethnic/unusual dishes/foods in Austin?
well, depends on what your palate is looking for... here are some of my favorites:
Addis Ethiopian Cafe (Grand Avenue Parkway in Pflugerville)
--Ethiopian, i get the veggie combo (cuz i'm vegetarian), but try out some of the stews with the injera bread.
Sunflower (183 near Peyton Gin) or Le Soleil (Lamar near Rutland)
--Vietnamese, try the spring rolls and/or imperial rolls, banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe eaten as lettuce wraps), shaken beef or tofu (latter only at Sunflower), the huge fried fish dish where you make your own spring rolls (only at Le Soleil)
Little Thailand (71 under garfield water tower)
--Thai, try the green papaya salad or thai beef salad, explore anything else...
Madam Mams (71 at West Gate or Guadalupe at Dean Keaton)
--Thai, try the lemongrass/galanga broth noodle soup Tom Khlong, red curry egg noodle soup Kao Soi, or any of their "special" curries on the special menu.
Buenos Aires Cafe (S First near Oltorf)
--Argentinean, try the empanadas and gnocchi, sandwiches are good for lunch i hear...
Byblos (I-35 near Parmer)
--Lebanese, try the tabouleh, cheese pie, spicy shish tawouk (i think is what some non-veggie recommended)
European Bistro (somewhere in Pflugerville)
--Hungarian/Eastern European, i've only liked one dish here but it's definitely ethnic if you want to venture there. people are very friendly though...
Asia Market Cafe (183 and Spicewood Springs)
--Szechuan, i know you said no Chinese, but this is AUTHENTIC szechuan. plenty of threads on this one, just look it up...
hope that helps for now. also, try doing some searches for some previous threads, i'm sure this has been discussed before...