Laundry List-- Ethnic Restaurants
Not to start some drama about what would/ would not qualify, but could 'Hounds around DC [sorry CH-Charmers] start a list of restaurant types that are around?
TYPES, not individual names?
Assuming that there are different "levels" of every type, from hole-in-the-wall to upscale, and those types each possibly deserve their own list:
Chinese (various sub-specialties like authentic Szechuan and Dim Sum)
Korean (with various sub-specialties like tofu and grill)
Unspecified middle-eastern (hookah bars, sweets, etc)
This is not a complete list, but it is close. In many cases, only a portion of the menu is dedicated to that cuisine. I separated out the specific Chinese regions for you. Maybe others could help me parse the various Indian possibilities. Passage to India, for example, has different sections of the menu devoted to different regions. I am not sure which Russian restaurants in the area are actually Georgian or part of the menu features Georgian food.
Most surprising omission (IMO): Armenian.
What I would most like to see added: Xinjiang.
Remember the Kazakh place in Falls Church, about 20 years ago? It was called Ceilov.
The food was good but the owner never quite understood how things work in the US. He fell way behind on his rent and refused to believe he would be evicted for doing so. The day he got evicted, he actually had cooked the food for the day's lunch buffet and it all got put out in the parking lot, sterno and all.
re: Just Visiting
1) I'm craving Uighur --as Steve explained, it's a cuisine, not "Chinese food made Muslim-y"
2) I'm craving Dai-- like Vietnamese, sort of. People group is from around Yunnan.
3) Variety. In Beijing, most embassies had affiliated Upscale Dining, a hole-in-the-wall cafeteria primarily frequented by families of those brought in to help with the Embassy, and often 2 or more restaurants run by former Embassy folk who were trying to stay in China. That's 2-4 price points per country.
DC has Embassies-- where's the food!?!
3) Variety. In Beijing, there were multinational companies with affiliated Upscale buffets or cafeterias primarily frequented by visiting expats, and often 2 or more restaurants run by former company folk who were trying to stay in China who thought "pizza like Atlanta should sell here" or "I see a food need for expats; I can make a killing"
DC has multinational co's-- where's the food!?!
3) Variety. China recognizes 55 "nationalities" amongst their Chinese borders. Many of these have offices that are, well, very similar to small Embassies. Many have hole-in-the-wall cafeteria primarily frequented by families of those brought in to help with the "Regional Representative Office," and often 2 or more restaurants run by folk who were trying to stay in Beijing.
DC has nationals from all over-- where's the food!?!
And, just to finish up my "I'm still not used to eating in America" diatribe, here's a list from one of the English language magazines focused on expats --restaurants may be listed in more than one category:
Barbecue and Teppanyaki (102)
Beijing Duck (36)
Central and South American (20)
Congee and Zhou (10)
Contemporary Chinese (56)
Contemporary Cuisine (27)
Contemporary International (28)
Dim Sum (64)
Guizhou and Guangxi (23)
Hakka and Fujian (6)
Homestyle and Private Cuisine (33)
Hot Pot (65)
Hunan and Hubei (44)
Mexican and Tex-Mex (20)
Middle Eastern (22)
Northwestern (Xibei - Ningxia, Qinghai and Gansu) (4)
Revolutionary Themed (5)
Shanxi and Sha'anxi (18)
Singaporean and Malaysian (23)
Southeast Asian (67)
Spanish and Tapas (17)
Bakeries and Delis (86)
Breakfast and Brunch (69)
Burgers and Hotdogs (62)
Cafes and Teahouses (294)
Chocolate, Desserts and Patisserie (27)
Ice Cream (17)
Late Night Dining (38)
Organic restaurants (14)
Outdoor Dining (69)
Pie and Cake Shops (22)
Smoothies and Juices (12)
Wine and Wine Distributors (66)
Sourced from: http://www.thebeijinger.com/directory...
re: Kris in Beijing
The sad fact is that there are almost no Uighur restaurants in the US. I think the cuisine would be very popular here. First reason I suspect is the difficult time these people face in trying to get out of China.
Still, you can get '5 kuai' lamb kabobs at Panda Gourmet which features some Shaanxi dishes, plus a lamb and bread porridge that might lift your spirits. And the pork and fried bread dish at Sichuan Jin River could 'pass' as an ersatz Uighur lamb and bread - who knows, maybe you could ask for it with lamb instead.
re: Kris in Beijing
You can't go by that online menu. They have an extensive separate menu well beyond their online Sichuan specialties. The best dish I've tried so far are the shaanxi cold steamed noodles (aka piang li noodles). They are a MUST ORDER. So far I am not convinced the Sichuan items are all that good.
I was expecting this, but I have a rejoinder -- when looking for "ethnic" foods, after nearly a decade in Asia, I found that the folks who travel are forced to be more food-venturous than the locals. So, although 北京 is substantially more populated than the DC Metro area, the "foreign population" who are seeking foreign/exotic/ ethnic foods is a higher % in The States.
Additionally, there is an …oppressive?… ethos in the Capital that discourages new or alternative. When we travelled to far flung places in China, people who would talk to us always had food questions.
In Beijing at least, you can barely move without encountering multiple food choices--but it's nearly all someone's "home food." That's why the streets surrounding Minorities University has a tremendous variety.
I guess the hubris of being American led me to "expect more" from the gov't seat of our "adventurous and open minded" country.
re: Kris in Beijing
I lived in Shenzhen, and took advantage of its diversity of regional mainland cuisines to the hilt. Who knew that Guizhou was known for its sour and spicy food, or that Uyghurs regularly pedaled (and were regularly chased away by law enforcement) mysteriously viscous bricks of walnuts, apricots and plastic sheathing?
Well, until you visit again, try not to think of all of the culinary benefits - and melamine - that you're missing. Instead, realize that you can probably find many of those ingredients somewhere in Rockville, Falls Church and Annandale, among other places, and focus on other cuisines that you couldn't find/enjoy much in North Capital.
re: Kris in Beijing
Well, it's been a while since I lived in DC, but even back then I was leaving the city as much as possible, to sample various neighborhoods and cuisines. As for food that you definitely (probably?) couldn't get in Beijing, Salvadoran is one you should take advantage of- maybe in Wheaton? Current locals would know better.