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May 3, 2009 12:38 AM

Authentic Food in NC Triangle Area

Anyone know of authentic places to eat around the triangle in North Carolina? These are what I have had so far that I find (or so I am led to believe) highly authentic:

Asian Aroma in Morrisville: They have a special menu that's written entirely in Chinese. I hear they're still tinkering around so you should not be too quick about coming to conclusions (I think they've been experimenting with the noodles in that menu since I ate the same thing twice but the second time was MUCH better). Their roast duck, Hong Kong-style wonton noodle soup ($1 for the first bowl!), fish cake/patty, stuffed vegetables, and salt-pepper squid are things to try! Only available during dinner and you might have to ask for this special menu... And it still seems to be expanding.

Sushi Tsune in Raleigh: High quality ingredients. Chef Tsune is very friendly and is actually Japanese (only sushi restaurant I know of whose owner is Japanese). The sushi listed on the whiteboard behind him isn't that great but everything else is absolutely amazing. Sashimi is very fresh and even the udon is cooked perfectly to al dente and well seasoned. Be sure to try the Uni too.

Don Jose Tienda Mexicana in Chapel Hill: Taco Bell has nothing on them, haha. They have a machine in the back that makes fresh tortillas (I assume every morning) and the tacos can be filled with things like lengua (tongue), chicharron (pork rinds), and tripa de res (beef intestines?) just to name a few. Of course, you can get "normal" fillings like chicken, beef, or pork. Just remember to squeeze some lime juice onto your taco, top it off with salsa, and enjoy. They have other things too but I need to make additional trips to try out their whole menu.

What have you heard (or thought) about the restaurants I mentioned? Any other recommendations? What authentic foods are you craving right now?

I'm hungry now...

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    1. If you're looking for authentic NC bbq, try Allen and Son on Hwy 86 between Chaple Hill and Hillsborough. It doesn't get any more authentic than that!

      1. We liked Neomonde in Raleigh for middle eastern food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Lewes17266

          I've been to the Neomonde in Morrisville--the bread is quite tasty. I really enjoyed their beef-and-lamb _______. I can't remember the name. Shame.

        2. Bosphorus in Cary has authentic Turkish food

          Unaabi does a pretty good job on Afgan cuisine

          6 Replies
          1. re: blewgo

            Can a kabob from Unaabi actually be filling? Because what I'm picturing in my head is a skewer of meats for $8-9...or does it actually come with several skewers? Or something else?

            1. re: wallabunny

              I haven't had the kababs, but according to the menu they come with rice, a salad and Afgan bread. If you go with someone share the bolanee sampler platter before the kabab. It has two of each bolanee on the menu.

              The menu on the web site doesn't completely match the one they give you at the table, but it's close.

              1. re: blewgo

                I would hate to think that one would go to an Afghan restaurant and just get kababs instead of trying something more authentic and unique to the culture. Kababs are dime-a-dozen. Dishes like qabili pallau, aushak, mantu, boulanee, and kadu would be my first priorities.

                1. re: mikeh

                  The Bosphorus menu is heavy on kabobs, but they have enough other stuff on the menu to make dining there an adventure. The patlican kizartmasi is one of my favorites. It is breaded, fried slices of eggplant covered with a fresh marinara sauce and surrounded with yogurt and garlic. The tomatoes in the marinara sauce are peeled and seeded. How often do you see that much care taken in food prep? On Sunday evening they have doner kebap which they serve several ways. Yes, it is kebap.

            2. re: blewgo

              EastWestCouple has been to Bosphorus tonight, and have a review to give:

              We liked the place almost immediately when we sat down. The restaurant was cozy, nicely decorated, clean, and unpretentious. Our waiter was warm and friendly and made us feel at home. We ordered Cigar Bourek as the appetizer, and the restaurant provided an opener of fresh pide bread with seasoned olive oil for dipping. We have a strong suspicion that this restaurant bakes its own bread, and it's absolutely delicious. I had the Bosphorus Salad, and he ordered the Kofta Kabob. All of it was fantastic! Without going into too much detail, the food can be summed up as being perfectly seasoned, crisp and fresh (the way Mediterranean food should be), aromatic, and delightful to eat. It's all very authentic, and on top of that, it's also done right. Of particular note, the rice pudding is really exceptional. It was brought to us nicely chilled and dusted with nutmeg and ground pistachio. At the end of a rich meal of spiced, grilled meats, the dessert was delightfully refreshing with just the right balance of sweetness without being heavy or syrupy.

              The restaurant has a cozy, relaxed "family feel", and in fact, my fiance has spent some time in Turkey and thought it was really like stepping into a neighborhood favorite there. The dining room is tiny, about 10 booths and tables total, with some outdoor seating, all of which only adds to the charm.

              We were so impressed that we felt it warranted a recommendation on Chowhounds for everybody. Cheers!

              1. re: eastwest_couple

                The bread oven was brought in from Turkey several years ago and they use it everyday to make the bread and pide.

            3. After your recommendation of Asian Aroma, my fiance and I went to try it. We second your opinion on the authentic Chinese menu. You never would have been able to tell from outside...we had driven past the place several times in the past and chuckled at the name, but didn't think to try it until reading your post. Being from the West Coast and having lived a big part of my life in Taiwan, I was happy to finally find a place with real Chinese dishes.

              The beef noodle soup was very good in my opinion (its main plus being authentic), and the salt and pepper squid was deliciously spicy and salty. There is a Chinese menu but it is also translated into English so that you can order from there too. The dinner crowd was almost all Chinese.

              yum yum! :)