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Dec 12, 2010 08:57 AM

Ethnic Food Tour

My friend and I are starting an ethnic food tour through DC. We are planning on going to off the beaten path restaurants to try as close to authentic ethnic foods in DC. Right now we are still in the research stages. If there are any good ones in Baltimore, we would be willing to go there for a couple restaurants.

Do you have any recommendations for the following types of ethnic restaurants?
West African
Korean BBQ

Any other types of cuisines we should try? Thank you!!

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  1. A couple questions for clarification:
    Do you want District only? Because there are definitely near-District spots that you might want to consider.
    Relatedly, will you have a car or will you be walking or taking metro/bus? How many of these are you doing at one go?
    Is this something just for fun, or are you trying to set up food tours to charge customers for?

    7 Replies
    1. re: hamster

      I'd also add Salvadoran and Peruvian to that list. We have large populations of both.

      1. re: reiflame

        We have done Salvadoran and Peruvian in the past, though if you have a good restaurant recommendation we are definitely up to trying it. This is mostly an adventure for trying places and cuisines we don't typically think of off the top of heads.

      2. re: hamster

        Our preference is for DC or Maryland. Ideally, we would prefer the places to be metro/bus accessible since only one of us has a car and doesn't always have access to it.

        This started out as a conversation between friends out to dinner and grew to making a list of types of foods and places to go after getting bored with some of the same type of restaurants. Ideally, we wanted to explore new places and try new types of foods. Also, we love to travel and thought this would be an interesting adventure with a rush similar to traveling. It is totally for fun between friends. There are no plans to plan tours for anyone or charge people.

        We will probably go to one place at a time with the tour spreading out over several meals.

        1. re: hopeinmee

          I totally support those feelings! Some recommendations:
          Try Polish at Domku (Petworth). Recent review:

          Try West African at Akosomo (Mt. Vernon Square). Lunch time only.

          Try Woodlands or Udupi Palace (Langley Park, University Blvd) or Sping Xing (Rockville Town Square) for Indian.

          Definitely go to Eden Center for Vietnamese (Falls Church, VA). Saigon Cafe is my favorite, which is actually across Wilson Blvd from the actual mall complex.

          Get pho at Pho 75 on University Blvd (Langley Park) or a banh mi across the street at Ba Le.

          Try Chez Manelle for Tunisian (Courthouse metro).

          Try Souk for Moroccan (H Street NE).

          I prefer Etete for Ethiopian (near U Street metro).

          Go to Muncheez in Georgetown for the Nana's Original - flat bread with labne, zaatar, olives, and veggies. Yummy reminder of my travels in Paris. I believe it's a Lebanese dish, possibly Druze.

          There are many recommendations for Korean barbeque in Annandale, VA. Check the board for specific recs. It's also fun to get a bing soo, a shaved ice Korean dessert, at one of the cafes: Shilla Bakery (which also has a Rockville location) is a good place for that.

          Get Chinese dumplings at China Bistro, aka Mama's Dumplings (Rockville).

          Get Israeli felafel or schawarma at Max's (Wheaton, MD).

          Get Burmese at Burma Road or Mandalay. Burma Road is in Gaithersburg, MD.

          1942 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Shilla Bakery
          7039 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003

          Eden Center
          6763 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044

          China Bistro
          755 Hungerford Dr, Rockville, MD

          Domku Bar & Cafe
          821 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC 20011

          Burma Road
          617 S Frederick Ave, Gaithersburg, MD 20877

          U Street Cafe
          1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

          1. re: hamster

            Udupi Palace closed a few months ago. They merged with Tiffin, their sister restaurant. I have not been to Tiffin but hear it's not as good and the prices are higher.

            1. re: reiflame

              Oh yeah, I remember hearing that.

              Note, I meant "Spice X-ing" above. Sorry about that.

            2. re: hamster

              Woodlands buffet is fabulous. I think they run it all week long.

        2. Hey Hey,

          I don't know any Korean BBQ int he district, so you will have to hop to Annandale. I like Han Gang best for food, but Honey Pig is more fun and hip in atmosphere. If you want some company when you go let me know!

          For Greek I think Mourayo in Dupont is probably the most authentic. Although Cava, Zaytinya and Zorba's are options too.

          For Vietnamese, if you can drive- Eden Center. If not take metro over to Rosslyn and go to Minh's or go to Nam Viet in Cleaveland Park.

          For Indian Masala Art, Indique, Bombay Club, Rasika, Heritage India.

          Ethiopian- Ethiopic.

          Lebanese- my favorite is the Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church, but Mama Asheya's in the district gets good word of mouth. There is also Me Janna in Courthouse which gets good reviews, but I haven't been. Personally I like Lebanese Taverna too.

          What about the Lao menu at Bangkok golden?

          Or Pakistani at Ravi Kabob.

          Lebanese Butcher & Restaurant
          109 E Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22046

          Eden Center
          Falls Church, VA, USA, Falls Church, VA

          Rasika Restaurant
          633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

          Bombay Club
          815 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006

          2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

          4710 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224

          1732 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 100, Washington, DC 20009

          Nam Viet Restaurant
          3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

          Heritage India
          2400 Wisconsin Ave NW Ste A, Washington, DC 20007

          3512 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008

          Masala Art
          4441 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, MD 20016

          2 Replies
          1. re: ktmoomau

            Minh's would be closer to either the Clarendon or Courthouse Metro stops. Also at Clarendon is another Nam Viet.

            2500 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

            1. re: Gonzocook

              And I think the Nam Viet in Clarendon is better.

              Surprised of no mention of either Joe's Noodle House (metro accessible in nice weather) or Hong Kong Palace - both very good Sichuan fare, though HKP now has the Hot Pot outpost in Uncle Liu's that is a nice treat.

              If you think you're manly men, then take a swing (sometime when you have the car) to Victor's Grill in Falls Church. There's one in a strip mall - that's not the one to go to. You want the small white stand alone building on 29 South of 7.

              I am no expert on Ukrainian or Georgian, but to toss it out there, there's a Russian place in old town Herndon that's supposed to be very good, and then there is a Russian Gourmet store with two locations - one in Herndon and the other in Rockville. They have good sausages among other items.

              Hong Kong Palace
              6387 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22044

              Nam Viet Restaurant
              3419 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., washington, dc, DC 20008

              Joe's Noodle House
              1488 Rockville Pike Ste C, Rockville, MD 20852

              Victor's Grill
              436 S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046

          2. you left out new american, southern BBQ, french, spanish, and loads of other ethnic/cultural cuisines

            1. Chez Aunty Libe up on Georgia Avenue for Senegalese. I am sure Libe (short for Liberté) would be happy to work with you to devise tastings and an explanation for your group. Also up Georgia Avenue is Rita's for Trini food. Her polori (chickpea flour fritters) with pickled tamarind sauce are fantastic. She also makes great sorrel to drink as well as good peanut milk - kind of like a milk shake.

              Overall, I recommend not to forget about beverages. Some of the best Chow you can offer people include Chicha Morada (a Peruvian purple corn drink), Ensalada (Salvadoran fruit salad drink), and Mocochincho (Bolivian spiced peach drink)

              Chez Aunty Libe
              6115 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

              1. Consider Sumah's. It's a completely unassuming little joint featuring West African cooking by a chef from Sierra Leone. The Pepper Soup is no joke and the various stews are out of this world. We had a couple of fish stews (in a peanut sauce and in a tomato sauce) with a couple of kinds of fufu and the meal was amazing. The space is nothing - total hole in the wall, but the food is the real thing.

                6 Replies
                1. re: kukubura

                  Thanks for the rec. I have been wondering about that place ever since my trip to Akosombo in the fall.
                  Sumah's serves at dinner time, right?

                  Akosombo Restaurant
                  613 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                  1. re: hamster

                    I think so but it wouldn't be a bad idea to check. We were there for an early dinner on our way to a show.

                    1. re: hamster

                      He's a very nice guy, and if you show some inquisitiveness, he will give you samples. He usually has four or five different kids of greens of varying bitterness.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Awesome. Can't wait to try it.

                        1. re: hamster

                          Chez Aunty Libe is even better, especially the manioc, , yassa, maffe, and the whole fish. If you call at least a day in advance, she can make thiackry, a dessert of fromage blanc, orange blossom water, vanilla sugar, and milllet that tastes like liquid cheesecake.

                          Chez Aunty Libe
                          6115 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011

                          1. re: Steve

                            We're gonna go there during our days off this holiday season. Can't wait!