Brussels bleg

I’ll be there next week, in fact just in time for the Brexit vote. Above and beyond the obvious guidebook sights, what do you all recommend that I do? And where should I eat?

Here is a good Ian Buruma survey of where Brussels the city is at right now.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Singapore

In any case, I am happy to be here once again. For dining, I recommend Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang, at Geylang Serai hawker centre, get the beef rendang. National Kitchen, in the new National Gallery is also very good for a more traditional kind of dining.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Notes from Changsha, Hunan province

Changsha is the ugliest and most ungainly Chinese city I have seen, which is saying something. Nonetheless for a food pilgrimage it is a serious rival for #1 spot in the world, perhaps surpassing Chengdu for the quality and novelty of its dishes. Very little effort is required to do well, and some of my best courses I had at the Hunan restaurant in the Sheraton [Feast Hunan Flavours], also the only time I saw an English-language menu.

Even at major hotels, hardly anyone speaks passable English, much less good English. But you can find many hanging portraits of Chairman Mao, who converted to communism in this city.

Carry an iPad, so you can look up and communicate the Chinese characters for “eggplant with orange chilies on top.”

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Discussions about restaurants in the New York Times

The data start in 1880 and run through 2013. Based on my visual reading of the chart, discussion of Chinese restaurants appears to have peaked in the 1940s (!). German restaurants are the biggest loser over time, with plunges during each of the two World Wars; French falls more steadily. American and Japanese go up slowly but consistently. The big winner: Italian restaurants go up by far the most in discussions, starting in about 1940, and never stop rising.

The Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune show broadly similar patterns, though the absolute level of discussion for Mexican is much higher in Los Angeles. For the Western world at least, Italian cuisine is the major winner from globalization.

It is in the 1890s by the way that restaurants are discussed more often in The New York Tribune/Herald than are saloons.

That is all from Krishnendu Ray, The Ethnic Restaurateur, which is intermittently quite interesting. Here is the Google Books page.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Evergreen Korean Cuisine, or Sang Rok Soo

Evergreen Korean Cuisine, or Sang Rok Soo, in the Lotte Plaza supermarket in the Ravensworth Shopping Center, Facebook, 5204 Port Royal Road, also facing Braddock Road, Springfield, VA, 571-395-8083 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Ylp]

(Other locations: in the H Mart at 10780 Fairfax Blvd, Fairfax, VA 22030 [Ylp], and 13860 Braddock Rd, Ste B, Centreville, VA 20121 [Ylp].)

Since the Korean soup place at the Fairfax Lotte Plaza closed, we have been given this in return. It actually has a wider selection of soups and is a very clear first in the Korean soup category. The selection includes soups with dumplings, beef bones, kimchee, clams, fish roe and vegetables, beef ribs and radish, and the North Korean cold buckwheat noodle soups, among quite a few others. There is also bibim-bap, bul-gogi, and the sleeper dish of kimchee fried rice, simple but very effective. This isn’t quite an all-purpose Korean restaurant, but if you like Korean food at all it should definitely be in your repertoire.

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Tacqueria Habanero

Tacqueria Habanero, web site, 3710 14th St., Washington, DC, 202-722-7700 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google+ | WaPo | Ylp]

This place is pretty good, Washington now has a tacqueria it doesn’t have to feel ashamed of. I liked best the tacos tinga poblana. The memelas also are excellent, if you don’t know a memela is a Oaxacan version of sopes, the memelas here are better than what the menu calls sopes. The mole is pretty good, though not to die for, a slight bit sour for my taste. The other dishes I tried were all at least pretty good, with no clunkers in the batch. Lines form, so it is best to get here early. Not up to this nation’s very best tacquerias, but definitely recommended, especially by the standards of the Washington, DC area.

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New edition of Tyler Cowen’s ethnic dining guide

Here is the one file, print it all out version, just revised. Here is the blog version, which is easier to follow in bits and pieces, looks nicer, works better, and accepts comments. Here are the links on Twitter.

The old trends were good hamburgers and pizza. Those haven’t gone away, but the new area trends are Yemeni, Filipino, and more more more Chinese of many different kinds. Good Mexican is on the way, finally. Vietnamese and El Salvadoran are fine but stagnant. Persian is growing, Ethiopian is robust, and will more African be next? The biggest growth in quality and interest has come in DC (!), not the suburbs, at least this time around. In Virginia, Chantilly has made the largest gains.

The good news, at least from a culinary point of view, is that the gentrification of northern Virginia — northern and central Arlington excepted — is proceeding at a much slower rate than people might have expected say ten years ago.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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*Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China*

That will be the new Fuchsia Dunlop book, due out in October, July in the UK, self-recommending. Her work is far more than recipes, but rather an extended meditation on food, history, culture and many other things. She is one of my favorite authors on any subject. Here is previous MR coverage of Fuchsia Dunlop.

Originally posted on Marginal Revolution – click to see comments and suggestions.

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Texas Jack’s

Texas Jack’s, web site, 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA, 703-875-0477 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google+ | WaPo | Washingtonian | TripAdvisor | City Paper | Ylp]

They actually serve West Texas barbecue, El Paso style. Thick beef ribs with pickles and white bread. No, it’s not as good as El Paso’s best, but it is good enough to scratch the itch. Genuinely good, surprisingly good I would say. Get the beef ribs. And the brussels sprouts. Don’t treat this as a perfect, all-purpose barbecue restaurant, but still it is worth having in the repertoire. Not cheap at $26 for a serving of ribs, but worth it every now and then.

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Takumi

Takumi, web site, 310 S. Washington Blvd., Falls Church, VA, Rt.29, just west of Rt.7, 703-241-1128. (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | NoVA Mag | Ylp | Don Rockwell]

Takumi

This is the best sushi place around, period, I don’t know how else to put it. It’s like having a real sushi restaurant of the sort you might find in NYC or LA or heaven forbid Tokyo; I thank Don Rockwell for pointing me here. It compares favorably with the elite places of DC, even though it is in a miserable little strip mall in the crummy (wonderful) part of Falls Church. The doorway is so narrow it is hard to spot, immediately adjacent to some kind of vaping store and directly across the street from Happy Family Chinese restaurant. The main guy involved used to be with Kaz Sushi Bistro when that was a wonderful restaurant. Go, go, go. The funny thing is, I know you still don’t believe me.

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Posted in Current Favorites, Falls Church/Seven Corners, Sushi, Virginia | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments