Bizarre foods in Dallas?
You got my hopes up! I was hoping to find restaurants that sold unusual things that I hadn't tried. But so far I'm disappointed ... seems either there aren't many unusual restaurants in DFW, or folks here just don't have very adventurous appetites :-)
So ... not knowing DFW very well, might I suggest getting off the Anglo menu in Vietnamese or Chinese restaurants (my fave place in Houston only serves spring rolls to the anglos ... and even my waiter didn't know they had summer rolls w/ shredded pork) ... not a stretch for me, but obviously most anglos won't eat it. (Go for the "Fluffy Special" ... and make sure they've cooked in the collar that says "fluffy" on it :-)
I'm not a major fan of sea urchin ... but it's popular in some sushi joints. And though I think it's pretty mundane, it doesn't sound as if you'd ventured far enough to try ceviche. I had a great calamari ceviche in Houston ... the tenderest calamari I've had in my life.
A good Argentinian churrascaria can have some unusual cuts of meat along w/ the mundane.
Then there are the Ethiopian & Somali & African restaurants ... must be some in DFW.
Dunno if you can find a middle eastern place that'll serve goats eyeballs on a bed of couscous. Korean vegetable pancakes are nice ... not a far stretch from latkes ... but tasty esp if you tweak 'em w/ some whiffy kimchee on the side :-)
Have you found a place that makes GOOD Pollo con Mole'? It's a world class sauce that's under-appreciated in my opinion. (There are thousands of places that make shitty mole' ... my feeling of a good mole' is one that you can't tell there's cocoa or peanut in it at all ... and it doesn't seem spicy hot till a couple minutes after it's in your stomach).
At home Isteam lentils, long-grain rice, wild rice, groats together w/ the spice of the day & a vegie or 3 ... and top it w/ "crunchy fish" which is available in oriental food grocers ... a type of anchovy w/ spicy black beans ... makes a nice topping.
My fave pizza is spinach/feta w/ anchovies & jalapenos ... w/ a bottle of retsina (& not the sissy American types of retsina). Eggplant pizza is good ... but doesn't flic my bic. Greek Pizza on Memorial in Houston has it ... but I don't know about DFW.
Had a great Bulgarian meal in Vegas ... nothing you'd find in the average restaurant ... all the customers looked like Balkan commandos & hit-men ... maybe there's a slav restaurant in DFW.
Any Hmong restaurants up there?
A great little place in Houston (just W of Sharpstown Mall on Bellaire Blvd) ... the couple is from Kuala Lumpur (K.L. House?) ... I didn't recognize much on the menu ... or the plate ... all excellent. Try to find similar in DFW.
ExoticMeats in SanAntonio (I think they are a nationwide chain) has some interesting cuts & advice on how to cook 'em. they have a website. Maybe you can order 10# of muktuk & treat your friends at your next fais do-do :-)
I sure hope somebody comes up w/ something interesting here :-)
Why is sea urchin bizarre??? I grew up eating it.
And Korean pancakes? I make those at home! (ok, from the pre-mix)
(Maybe you've never had Yukhoe--raw beef?)
We go to our favorite Ethiopian rest. here--what's so bizarre about their food?!
You're obviously new to Dallas and this Board.
Some of us order from the Vietnamese language menu, Thai language menu, etc.
(BTW, some of us on this board don't have an Anglo taste because we aren't Anglo!)
Maybe you should read some of the threads on this board before assuming too much? I'm sure Lewsvillerhounder will go on about this :-)
I consider neither sea urchin nor korean pancakes bizarre ... I was only suggesting them based upon the very plebian tastes suggested as "bizarre" at the start of this thread. Nobody seems to be able to get outta the box.
I'm not local to Dallas ... but I've found more holes in the wall in Dallas than the locals have listed above. It's very disappointing that folks can't suggest anything out of the ordinary here.
As to reading "some of the threads before assuming too much" ... I was responding to THIS thread ... and it was started because the person starting it hadn't found anything (or hadn't looked for anything) in other threads.
This thread's got me craving some balut now. Ever tried that? Josie's Market in Lewisville sells out frequently, get 'em while they're hot!
1134 W Main Street
There are plenty of folks here who are more than willing to step outside of their comfort zone, so please share these places that you've found. Hearing some fresh suggestions is always good.
I have come across several of your posts and correct me if I am wrong that you hail from Helotes, a suburb of San Antonio (as per your profile). There seems to be several inconsistencies in your post. I will work through them and then perhaps give you some suggestions on where to find the dishes you are referencing.
First to lump all of the people who read or comment on Chowhound who are from Dallas as “Anglos” or those who have “Anglo” tastes seems a bit unfair don’t you think? Many of us hail from different cultures and countries. We all have taught each other a little bit about his or her native country/culture for us to better understand the cuisine. I for one have a pretty extensive knowledge of the cuisines and restaurant scene here in the metroplex. Do I know it all or miss some things, of course I do. When it does come to ethnic cuisines is where I really shine, in other words I have an adventurous appetite.
You mention several places in Houston (none of which by name) and compare them to Dallas, but you also don’t mention the very small Vietnamese population you have in San Antonio, I find this odd. I am sure there are at least a few Vietnamese restaurants in San Antonio and I personally would befriend them and start asking about the dishes you like in Houston. I am sure they would be glad to fix it for you and your friends if you just ask.
What some Vietnamese restaurants label as spring roll vs. summer roll just might be a translation problem. I have seen menus in the metroplex that label it either way. It sounds like you order the Bi Cuon (shredded pork skin fresh spring roll). I believe you might be referencing the Cha Gio (fried Vietnamese spring roll usually with Vietnamese sausage) as your counterpoint in this argument. Cha Gio is very similar in size and fillings to the Chinese influenced lumpia throughout the rest of SE Asia (Phillipines and Indonesia). I assure you that many of the restaurants I have visited all have Bi Cuon. A good number of them have a variety of fillings such as (shrimp – com, chicken – ga, or Grilled pork – thit nuong). I am not sure what the “Fluffy” special is referring to but from what I gather it is a restaurant that has a special collar that they cook something in that labels your food? You might share with us the restaurant name that does this so perhaps we could order it. It is not that I dislike ordering bi cuon but rather I save my appetite for something more delectable like Cac Loai Lau Mam, Thap Cam (the seafood hotpot) or Banh Xeo at Nam Hua in Garland.
Since the cuisines are similar not exact in the preparations we do have a Laotian place in Irving, Nahlihn Market on Irving Blvd. They have a small place in the back of the grocery store that is run by the wife and mother of the store owner. The dishes seem to run along the familiar Loatian and Thai menus but the spice level can be a bit much for some to handle, not myself. So we do have a Hmong-like restaurant.
Not necessarily the best we do have a restaurant that does serve Malaysian fare. They owner is Malay and you have to ask for the Malay menu. Most people do not like belachan or stand the smell of it. That name of the place is Secret Recipe on Hebron Parkway just south of Hwy 121 in Carrollton.
As for the Japanese cuisine we do have several authentic places and it all depends on what you like sushi, teppanyaki, or yakitori. I actually really like Masmai in Richardson at Beltline and US 75/Central for my sushi and various treats. The chef and owner Ryo and his staff are all Japanese ex-pats. His cuisine is much different from the run of the mill sushi bar. His preparations are more authentic (or fairly close) to what is available in Japan. Some interesting items I have had are the sake poached snapper head, hamachi collar (other collars are available with advanced notice), ankimo or monkfish liver, natto of various varieties, and smelts that are just lightly grilled. Many of the items depend on the seasonality of the fish or shellfish. I have also found that Keiichi in Denton to be a nice cozy spot that is willing to prepare anything you request including items shipped from Japan if you give advance notice. Sea urchin is not the most bizarre item I have ever had at a sushi restaurant.
You did not mention it but we do have several great Thai restaurants that do have some authentic dishes. Jasmine Thai #1 in Plano on Spring Creek Pkwy and Custer Rd has a Thai menu that you have to ask for. You will also need a translator. Gems like tumeric catfish soup with fermented pickled bamboo shoots is a highlight, giant grilled prawns, crispy water spinach with dipping sauce, several dishes cooked with petai or sator beans, and various others. If you like spicy dishes nothing could be hotter than the Jungle Curry Thai Hot at Jasmine. Bankok Orchid in Irving at 183 and Belt Line also has some nice dishes like the crispy catfish flake salad and the steamed whole fish with lime sauce. They also get the spicing correct when ask for hot they give it to you! Another great place hidden away in Denton is Andaman. I really enjoy the Nam-Prik-Ong (Northern Thai Dip) and I get it Thai spicy. For a small town this place is great and I drive to Denton from Lewisville to eat.
Since you mention the ceviche in the same paragraph is it worth mentioning both Peruvian and Mexican restaurants that we have available locally. Inca’s Café, a great Peruvian place located on Josey Lane and President George Bush Tollway in Carrollton, that has a lively nightlife and a well executed ceviche with seabass. I have not yet tried the mixed ceviche quite yet but I can tell you that the seabass is very light and very well prepared. As for the Mexican version I would highly suggest La Palapa Vercruzana on Jefferson Blvd in Oak Cliff. More on La Palapa later.
There are several Ethiopian, Swahili and also a restaurant that caters to a mixture of the great cooking cultures. I have only tried Kejiweni in Richardson at Beltline and US 75/Central. I thought it was decent but I need to try the other African cuisines in town before I pass along judgment. I will say that the owner was very friendly and very excited that I knew my way around the Swahili cuisine staples. I do know that we have a large population of Nigerians in Dallas. I have heard rumors about several churches and individuals making several staples. I have yet to follow up those leads also.
We don’t have an Argentinian churrascaria but we do have several Brazilian ones. I believe that Houston has a larger Argentinean population than Dallas so the need is not quite met to sustain one. We do have a great pizza/empanada restaurant in Don Panza in Oak Cliff along Clarendon (which is reportedly moving over to Bishop Arts District). We also have a very nice Argentinean bakery named Argentina Bakery located at Beltline and 183 in Irving.
I am not sure about goat’s eyeballs but I am sure if you asked Chef Khalid at Kasbah Grill off Esters and Rochelle in Irving he could put them over your couscous. One problem is I am sure you would have to request a special party for this plus assure him of your party reservations as he and his staff, all brothers, are very busy. They are located just about a half block north of the Islamic Center of Irving the most active mosque in America at the present time. All of the meats are Halal if not Dhabiha, which is more difficult to find. I am not sure about Café Marrakesh off Belt Line and Coit in Richardson/Dallas and their menu but I would imagine they could also prepare it. I have seen the various parts (brains, intestines, eyes, tongue, etc) all available at Zituna World Market just up Coit from Café Marrakesh.
Our local congregation of Korean eateries has moved from Dallas to Carrollton at Old Denton and President George Bush Tollway. I enjoy Omi Grill and also To Dam Gol both very authentic in preparations. Both have Korean pancakes and panchan enough to satisfy your needs.
I am not sure which mole style you are referring to, Mole Verde, Mole Poblano, Mole Oaxaca (aka Negro), Mole Amarillo, Mole Coloradito, Mole Rojo, Mole de Cacahuate (Peanut), etc. I know you can find Mole Verde, Mole Poblano, Mole Alvarado and Mole Oaxaca. I know that Lito’s on Jefferson Blvd in Oak Cliff has a very good version of Mole Poblano as they hail from Mexico City. This type of mole is typical to the areas around Puebla. Mole Alvarado can be found at La Palapa Veracruzana and is perhaps the best version I have had in the state it is native to the owner’s wife of Alvarado in the state of Veracruz. La Palapa Veracuzana also makes an awesome version of adobo for their Puerco en adobo (not on the menu). The owner of La Palapa Veracruzana ships in his hot sauce for the ceviche and cocteles in from Veracruz. I can assure you the seafood at La Palapa Veracuzana is better than any I have had in Houston. Several restaurants have Mole Negro on the menu but use the jar as you can taste the tinny flavors. I know Café Veracruz in Bishop Arts has pipian which is very similar to a mole.
Do we have any places that make a spinach, feta, anchovy and jalapeno pizza? I am sure some can. Eggplant pizza I am sure they can make also. That is all for another post though.
No Slav restaurants (as I am of Slavic blood-Czech) but we do have an Austrian restaurant, Mennonite and several German restaurants. We do however have some scary looking Balkans running some pizza restaurants around town. The Austrian place Jorg’s Café Vienna in Downtown Plano along 15th St is very good especially during the cooler weather. The Mennonite is great for good down home coking and several Eastern European favorites such as stuffed cabbage.
Below is a list of all the restaurants that I listed in my post. Some of them don’t have an official website so I put the Yelp listing.
Actually I noted that Lito's mole is Mole Poblano on second though it is Mole Verde made with the pepitas and the correct name for the mole from Alvarado is Mole Alvadreno. Mole Alvaradeno is a bit different from the Mole Poblano, typical in Puebla, which is the most common of all moles.
First ... my lumping folks into having anglo taste was based upon the very vanilla, boring, practically New England boiled dinner suggestions at the start of this thread. Boring, boring, boring. Nice list of restaurant links at the bottom of your post ... I've been to over 1/2 of them and I'll look into some of the others on my occas visits to DFW. Thanks.
Re: the ceviche ... I had a superlative Ecuadorean shrimp ceviche brought to a party by a friend this last week & he gave me the secrets to the recipe. I've had good ceviche before, but never any as good as that in a restaurant (it's a trick that does not lend itself to mass production).
Just seemed rather insulting since you do not know us, nor our tastes, other than a few recs here. I have never been referred to as 'plebian' nor of 'Anglo taste', but I have yet to hear of these delightful holes in the wall you mention, and await them in these spaces with baited breath. That is, unless it is truly bait.
I have had balut, air, and I suppose this is where I get to plead 'plebian'. I cannot forcedly toss down semi-formed ducklings at any cost. But my respect for those that are able and possess the proverbial iron cast bellies.
And we usually do not mention spelling here, as it would be 'plebeian'.
Super H Mart in Carrollton sells durian. Thats about the only thing Zimmern cant eat. They only sell them when they are in season which is now and they are frozen but you can still try them. They also sell durian flavored ice cream bars if you want to tip-toe into the durian waters. They are one of the most dusgustingly good things I've ever had.
First Chinese BBQ. There are several locations in the metroplex. If you are going to Asian market on Jupiter. there is a First Chinese BBQ on the NE corner of Jupiter and Walnut. When you walk the front door there is glass booth that displays their BBQ. however, if you look in the bins underneath the hanging bbq duck, crispy pig, and soy chicken, you will see a jackpot of bizarre foods. Order a combination plate. For your 6 bucks you will get a plate of marinated ear, intestine, liver, ear, tendon and tongue. It is very good. It is a unique experience in different food textures. They also have a dish that is stir fried pigs blood and chives. Although, I have never tried that dish. Also at La Parrillada on Gaston, they have something that I haven't seen at any other restaurant, cow utter. It is grilled over a hibachi at the table and is very rich tasting. At Teppo Yakatori on Greenville, you can get a mother lode of bizarre eats on a stick. Try the chicken joints.
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Frog legs aren't that exotic but I'd hoped they would kick start the discussion. Duck's tongue? Got to try that. I've really liked chicken hearts at some Brazilian places. I'm hoping to try calf brains that aren't too expensive, too. Chicken feet at the Asian market on Walnut are also on my list.
Calf fries are mountain oysters, correct? Had 'em in West Virginia, but it's been a while
I have, in all my travels, never seen calf fries in a market. This is geneally found in more rural settings (near extraction point), and I don't think people actually *buy* them. Most of the fried balls in restaurants will be prebreaded and frozen ala Sysco.
I take new people for dim sum all the time, and on a Saturday at Kirin Court I am still amazed at some of the unusal items I have never seen before. Chicken feet are best consumed at dim sum.
I use to get them at the butcher/processor locker, but you're right, it was a small town. Why not? If I can buy tongue and brains at Walmart, why not testicles? I asked at Super H, it was quite hilarious as I tried to overcome the language barrier with the Mexican butchers there. "Ummm, pelotas? Huevos?"
Might try Kuby's Rudolphs, Hirch's, Davids, Sloan's Creek, Fischers or Rehoboth Ranch. All respectable places to buy meat. I would put VonGeertsem in Uptown but I doubt they would have anything like that down there.
There's a really good stir-fried spicy Duck Tongue w/ basil dish at Umeko in Plano. I admit it was a bit awkward to eat at first, but I got over it pretty quick since I really liked the flavor of the sauce. Umeko has quite a few interesting dishes on their Taiwanese menu.
Sushi Robata has grilled chicken hearts that are really good.
If you're up for raw beef, many Korean restaurants offer a dish called Yukhoe - basically a simple beef tartare with a raw egg stirred in over thin clices of asian pears with sesame oil and sometimes chili sauce. It's served super cold and is a great summer dish.
Many Vietnamese restaurants offer frog legs and rabbit. Nam Hua in Garland is a good place for both, but they do tend to chop them up into annoyingly small pieces. Viet Nam in Dallas serves good frog legs that are still in one piece. The ones in house special sauce is probably the best version there. Also have to repeat Kuidaore's recommendation of Siagon Block's fried frog legs.
I don't eat intestines, but many places around town offer dishes with them. I'm sure someone else has a good list for those.
Yes - that's a good point. It's not written in English unfortunately. You have to ask the waitstaff. They have two sauces for the rabbit/frog legs - one is curry and I think the other is a pepper sauce. They also fry up frog legs.
Saigon Block has the best fried frog legs I've had. For stir-fry, I probably like Viet Nam's best.