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Portland, ME and surrounding areas?

relativeways1 Jun 3, 2008 12:37 AM

Hey - I'm looking for good asian cuisine. I'm obsessed with Korean food but I don't know if any of that exists in portland or around. I know there are probably a few Japanese restaurants (like Fuji in Portland) that serve a couple of basic korean dishes - bimbimbap, bulgogi, etc, but was wondering if anyone knew other places?

I'm also looking for a good and relatively inexpensive place for thai food.

Also, I know Benkay has good sushi and I know ...I think the name is Sakura (by the waterfront?) has cheap late night sushi, but does anyone know of a place that has cheap sushi (like sakura during the night time) but all day?

I've also lost hope in finding good Chinese food in Maine...

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  1. s
    StevensAve RE: relativeways1 Jun 3, 2008 09:10 AM

    There is a Korean/Japanese restaurant in So. Portland named Nara. Check out there menu which is online. I haven't tried it.

    1. s
      StevensAve RE: relativeways1 Jun 3, 2008 09:14 AM

      There is a Korean/Japanese restaurant in So. Portland named Nara. I haven't tried it yet.

      1. the_MU RE: relativeways1 Jun 3, 2008 10:04 AM

        Place by the waterfront is called Sapporo.

        Nara, as mentioned below, is the closest Korean to Portland. It's... okay. Korean there is better than the Japanese food, I think. Fuji used to have more Korean stuff but they've radically scaled back. I don't think there's much demand, unfortunately -- their stone pot bibimbap was pretty good.

        Good Thai, and really really great larb (even tofu!) at Sengchai Thai on Forest Ave, across from Thanh Thanh 2, the place with the good pho.

        Best Chinese in Maine is probably, as mentioned on other threads, Lotus in Falmouth. That's not to say it's good Chinese, unfortunately. On the other hand, Boston is only a couple of hours away.

        4 Replies
        1. re: the_MU
          Dual RE: the_MU Jun 3, 2008 10:40 AM

          Nara yeah: their sushi is awful. The stone pot bibimbap is still on the menu however.

          I remember and regret not taking better advantage of the little Korean restaurant in Cape Elizabeth that stood where the Good Table is now. It's been gone for years.

          "Sakura": Yosaku? My favorite Japanese restaurant, althouh Miyake is tugging at my heartstrings. I dunno about Yosaku being cheap though.

          1. re: the_MU
            relativeways1 RE: the_MU Jun 4, 2008 01:55 AM

            Yes! Sapporo is the name...I know it was Sa..something.

            1. re: the_MU
              DukyThorn RE: the_MU Sep 4, 2008 01:25 PM

              I was surprised to find really good Chinese food at Fortune Garden on outer Forest.The food is light and fresh and the people who run it are always friendly. Worth a try if you haven't yet.

              1. re: DukyThorn
                the_MU RE: DukyThorn Sep 5, 2008 06:35 AM

                Last time I tried that place it was absolutely on par with the Chinese places in various exurban areas that have a takeout counter and plastic pictures of the food and a security window. Wok Inn in Portland would be an example. Has it improved?

                Wok Inn, BTW, has acceptable pan-fried noodles. Just about everything else, as my father in law puts it, is "number 10 kind." I think the Super Buffet in South Portland is better. The baby bok choi there is usually fresh.

            2. jspear RE: relativeways1 Jun 4, 2008 05:51 AM

              I heard that there was a new asian place in Brunswick, don't know the name but may be more reasonable....

              1. f
                foodquest RE: relativeways1 Jun 4, 2008 08:11 AM

                Nara is really it for Korean. http://www.narasushisushi.com/menu.htm It's average at best. Look or ask for any specials. I find the bulgogis too sweet and the Chi Ge no better than what we can make at home.

                Sun Oriental Market on Congress Street is Korean run. On occasion they post flyers for Korean meals at the Korean Methodist church on Washington Ave. A bunch of homemade Korean fare served buffet style. Typical fare, but fun and tasty. They also have a decent selection of ready made panchan.

                Chinese and Korean are the two first things I seek out whenever I travel. And Ramen. I'm hungry.

                1. j
                  jackbauer RE: relativeways1 Jun 4, 2008 09:00 AM

                  For decent Thai and cheap sushi you can kill two birds with one stone at Pom's Thai Taste on Congress Ave. in Portland. The Thai is respectable and they have dollar sushi every Monday.

                  1. m
                    maina RE: relativeways1 Jun 4, 2008 03:38 PM

                    Miyake's has relatively inexpensive sushi, esp for quality (which is exceptional), very interesting menu, tons of daily specials, very fresh sushi and some unique preparations. But, not sure about "all day" - think they are closed on Sundays, and may be only open for dinner on Sat. If you're going during a weekday, they may be open from noon through dinner. Yosakus used to be our favorite, but we're leaning toward Miyakes now.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: maina
                      Dual RE: maina Sep 6, 2008 06:16 AM

                      Miyake is very nice, but has a real problem about putting "truffle oil" on many dishes. Beyond its non-Japanese origins (cream cheese, anyone?), "truffle oil" is an artificial ingredient, with a taste that bugs the hell out of me, and not in a good way.

                      I got tired of trying to order around that ingredient: it would pop up somewhere else on my plate. I'm back to Yosaku for the most part.

                      1. re: Dual
                        aynne35 RE: Dual Sep 10, 2008 10:24 AM

                        There is a brand new place right next to the Sun Oriental Market on Congress Street. Happy Teriyaki Restaurant. Just went there last weekend with hubby, he is Korean, and liked it a lot. Not huge, but really clean, and fresh, with awesome Bip Im Bap, Bul-go-ki, Kimchi, etc. It is far fresher and better than Nara.

                        1. re: aynne35
                          foodquest RE: aynne35 Sep 22, 2008 07:31 PM

                          We just tried Happy Teriyaki this evening. What a nice surprise! Much better than Nara, indeed. The couple running the place were lovely. I had the pork-tofu stew - pork, tofu, kimchee, quite thick. My partner had the miso stew - zucchini, onion, diakon, mushroom, beef, tofu. It was really good, I often find miso based broths bland but this was not at all. The banchan was also tasty - I really enjoy that part of the meal :)

                          I'm really looking forward to trying their other offerings. The freshness of the food makes everything sound worth a try! Again, what a welcome addition to the Portland scene.

                          1. re: foodquest
                            the_MU RE: foodquest Sep 22, 2008 08:05 PM

                            Thanks for this. I am so going there next time I'm in the neighborhood.

                          2. re: aynne35
                            Passadumkeg RE: aynne35 Sep 23, 2008 05:34 AM

                            Yes, good news! May hit it for lunch this Sat. Any Korean pork back bone soup?

                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              foodquest RE: Passadumkeg Sep 23, 2008 11:49 AM

                              Ooh, no. But request it and maybe it will show up some day :) There was one dish taped to the wall -- rice cake soup, I think, No idea what that is but I never know what a dish is from the translation. My hope is that the restaurant will gain lots of support for the Korean and offer specials regularly!

                      2. l
                        lexpatti RE: relativeways1 Sep 23, 2008 02:52 PM

                        We loved the korean influenced menu (by a korean couple) at Cockeyed Gull over on Peaks Island. We really loved it. We spent the weekend on Peaks Island and ate here 3 times (of course there isn't much more but still - it was fantastic). It's an easy 20 min ride over, walk from pier.

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