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trip report on affordable, interesting non-french food in paris

We followed up on board-recommended places pretty frequently, and sadly only have a few new names to add, but we can generously contribute occasional contradictory opinions to board consensus! Much thanks to Ptipois for pretty reliable recommendations.

Laotian/Isaan/Thai/Viet/Cambodian/Nebulous, etc:
Lao Viet: Superb pork/rice salad, raw shrimp salad, and har mok. actually, everything was fantastic. nice spice levels. solid desserts. go! go!

Lao Thai: Ok, maybe not as interesting (or as good a value) as other places in the neighborhood, but not bad or anything.

Tricotin: Decent noodle soups, but nothing blew us away. didn't try much of the rest of the menu, so not the last word on the subject.

Hao Hao: I guess we didn't really know what to order. Ended up with a mediocre canh chua, an average ma po tofu, and a very pleasant "cambodian beignet." wouldn't repeat the experience, but if someone can tell us where we went wrong would be down to try again.

Lao Douang Paseuth: Excellent! ended up eating our way through most of the laotian menu over multiple trips (not at once, i lack the stamina, sorry for the lack of comprehensiveness as a result). good spice levels. nem tradeua, raw beef salad, either whole fish preparation, "delice de bamboo's" and banana flower salad were fantastic. the various laotian noodle soups and that beef jerky salad (i love it but don't understand it) were good as well. solid desserts too. do it do it do it

Thai Vien: a very good place. a balanced saumur, good dry noodle soup, beef jerky salad again (i will snap into that slim jim some day), crispy pork salad, good spice levels, extensive and interesting menu. well worth your time.

chinese:
Aux Delices du Shandong:
pretty good, didn't entirely blow my hair back, but we only ended up eating one smallish meal there. perhaps someone with more shandong experience could guide us? the few shandong dishes i was familiar with weren't on the menu, or i didn't recognize their french transliterations if they were. expensive for its size but delicious "crevettes lacquee", a superb and tremendous (and spicy and cheap!) beef soup, and fairly priced and decent mantou were highlights.

African Foods of Various Sorts:

Taf et Maffe: Awesome! great maffe, great bissap (never had a bad one), solid yassa, douegh is fantastic (never had it before). can someone tell me what the black eyed peas are called? getting them instead of rice was a really good move. also the prices are sickeningly great. like, white-guilt-inducing great. please, by all means, go immediately.

Also, people on the board talked extensively about it being in a "dicey" neighborhood of aubervilliers. We velibed up to an office park and walked from there, through the industrial complexes- nothing to speak of there, except a tiny lil asian bakery. We walked around, digesting, after our fantastic (and more than substantial) meal, and saw nothing remotely risky, either. No dealers, no drunks, no fights, no one even looked that broke. I'm not sure what freaked people-from-the-internet out, but the neighborhood was perfectly safe and friendly over the course of our visit. I guess i understand the urge to grasp your pearls with one hand and clutch your exquisite handbag closely with the other, but really I don't understand it. Maybe it's different at night.

Congolais Specialite, rue de poissoniers- I'm not familiar with this cuisine at all, but the food and restaurant were great. Excellent whole fish (ginger, mustard, turmeric, garlic, maybe coriander? a couple spices i couldn't place?) with manioc, a great combination. Also the waitress pushed some ginger cocktail, which sounded sickeningly sweet to me, but my date acceded out of politeness and it ended up being fantastic. Clean, nicely laid out, and very pleasant. please go!

Best Africa, rue leon i think? don't remember, goutte d'or either way - I feel pretty confident in saying that this gives any other microwave-wielding traiteur in town a run for its money. 5 euro gets you a giant, liberally flavored plate of whatever. we got a fish thing and a maffe, but there was a massive rack of tripe in the back that we didn't notice before ordering that looked luscious. next time :( probably best to visit around early lunch, when things are coming out for the first time.

Excellent senegalese? place in the north of the 18th- we biked up to fifa and it was shut, ended up walking around at random. lovely people, lovely food, great thieb, cramped bathroom quarters. kicking myself for the inability to remember the name and location of it, but a closeish walk from fifa, large black chalkboard walls facing entrance, ahhhh this bothers me sorry guys. i spent the last few minutes dicking around with google street view trying to find it, but no avail :( near africa dakar i think? maybe it was africa dakar? uggghghg

3fc- good for on-the-go sustenance. cheap skewers (heart! liver!), wholesome soups, and a decent tagine near the marche d'aligre

chez hamadi- just as good as advertised. they have great tajines and very tasty osmane in addition to the storied couscous

Turkish or kurdish:
Mardin Corba Salonu: everything on the menu was great, everything was cheap.

restaurant sancak- we only went originally cause mardin corba salonu was shut, but the soups were just about as good. we were there around 11 and the rest of the food (cold salads) behind the counter looked great as well, i'm still sorry that we didn't get any of it.

genc urfa durum- fantastic lamb sandwich, great grilled flavor, good lahmacun too. sadly we went after they ran out of liver. next time :( you should go!

Sri Lankan

Restaurant Aruja, rue labat? Goutte d'or

went up with the full, honest, and pure intention of eating a bunch of african stuff, scout's honor, but after pining for subcontinental whatever for the last two months i ended up caving and going in here on a whim. it was just me on my own and my stamina, god knows, is not what it used to be, so I can only help you a little bit when i tell you that:

There is a Kotthu Roti with Lamb Marrow Bones In It And It Is Spicy And Delicious If You Ask For It To Be. I Can't Tell You Anything Else But Why Do You Care, It's So Good Please Go.

it's like if god really loved the irish he'd have given them this instead of corned beef hash. i was so happy. it's kinda coarse and maybe not everyone's cup of tea, and i can't speak to the rest of the menu, but good god that was delicious.

well, thanks for all the tips everyone (especially Ptipois- we'll take you out for a meal in thanks, if you want, once we're back in paris). I'm stuck in the hague for the next month, so best believe i'll miss all these restaurants with a fiery burning passion.

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  1. One of the best reports ever. Merci. Courbettes profondes.

    1. Fantastic report. Black-eyed peas are named "cornilles" here.

      1. ok, i've been informed by my team of thugs/functionaries that the unnamed lovely senegalese place is called "le repos du chef," which is both adorable and an accurate description of service times. a great restaurant

        1. Really, you're most welcome. Thanks - I can even take you to some places and point to what to order.
          There are even places where I've never been and I seriously admire your location scouting. You must have had a great time.

          At Lao Thai, stay away from the "Central Thai" food and focus on the Lao/Isan: all the yam (the cuttlefish yam is excellent, as is the bean thread yam), nem thadeua is best ever, fried quails in garlic and pepper are just the best in Paris.

          At Tricotin, dim sum is the thing to order. Best in Paris, by far, and can compete with some Guangzhou institutions.

          "Dicey", as you've noticed, applied to Aubervilliers, is a form of disinformation. I go there regularly (some good friends of mine live between Quatre-Chemins and the Mairie) and I love it. Night is - just the night. After dinner I walk a mile to the metro and it's just a bit quieter. Badmouthing the burbs is a favorite urban bourgeois sport, but I've often noticed that young men tend to stand up from their seats in buses to let ladies sit down far more frequently in the so-called dicey suburbs than in intra-muros Paris.

          Fifa is not Senegalese but Beninese: a very different style, common to Benin, Togo, Ghana and West Nigeria. Very spicy, lots of seafood, very clean tastes. Next time you're in Paris you should not miss it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ptipois

            Right, fifa was shut, and so was le mono,so neither togolese nor beninese was forthcoming. Heartbreaking. Next time! I'll message you next time we're around, we would love to follow your advice

          2. Thank you. Great addition to this board.

            1. This is and will be a great resource, esp come Christmas and New Year's Day/Eve.

              1. Thanks for the great report. Wish I had this info before I went to Paris this summer...but thanks for the vicarious thrill.

                1. Wonderful thread. I'm desperate for something spicy. All I've got are some dried red chili I brought from California, sambal oelek and piri piri sauce. Condiments really...

                  I really really want some level 8 pad see ewe but I'm guessing that'll have to wait til I'm back home for Christmas. But there are several promising restaurants mentioned here. Cheers!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: youareabunny

                    Fifa has a wondeful home-made hot sauce, all habanero goodness, that might suit you in this case.