2. Ethnic Eats in Washington D.C.
Home to almost every foreign embassy, D.C. benefits from the constant infusion of different cultures. However, this district offers an experience you won't find elsewhere: Little Ethiopia. Clustered near 9th and U Streets N.W., between vibrantly colored 19th-century row houses, funky boutiques and thriving art galleries, is a strip of restaurants catering to the largest Ethiopian population in the United States.
"Ethiopian food has become a defining local cuisine, much like barbecue is in Memphis," says Tyler Cowen, author of An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies. Served family-style and utensil-free, Ethiopian meals are usually eaten with injera, a thin, spongy sourdough bread used to scoop up spiced meats, vegetables and stews.
Try the doro wat, a hearty chicken-and-tomato stoup, at ZENEBECH INJERA (202-667-4700), an unassuming Ethiopian grocery store-diner combination. "It has absolutely no ambiance, but every dish is excellent -- the flavors are simply the real deal," Cowen says.
Stop by DUKEM ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT on Wednesday nights for live music and traditional African dancing. It's known for boldly spiced dishes like tibs, beef or lamb fried with vegetables.
Other nearby Immigrant communities have also migrated into the city, bringing authentic flavors from Korea, Vietnam, Burma and Thailand. At Dupont Circle's LITTLE SEROW, chef Johnny Monis' restaurant is dedicated to capturing the brightness, pungency and spice of northern Thai cuisine. Simply decorated, the restaurant's one rule: Let the kitchen make all the decisions. The seven-course, family-style chef's tasting ($45) is the only option here -- and no substitutions! But with offerings like eggplant served with a salted duck egg and pickled garlic, or pork ribs topped with whiskey-dill sauce, who'd want to make a change? Get there early, though: The 28 stools are first-come, first-seated.
Trinidadian cuisine is another popular cuisine. Head to TEDDY'S ROTI SHOP (202-882-6488) for dishes made with roti, the country's pillowy grilled flatbread. Ask for the "shark and bake" (spicy shark meat stuffed in a battered, deep-fried bun called a bake) and the "buss-up-shut," which in Trini sounds like "bust-up shirt." The roti is shredded with stewed chicken, goat or conch until it resembles, well, an old shirt -- but it tastes a lot better!
Prices and other details were accurate when published in July 2012.Continued on page 3: