Eating well in Stockholm

Yes, the fancy expensive places are great. But more generally, I recommend that you order the dishes with game and lingonberries, most of all lingonberries. Soups here are above average, and I do not generally love soups. The pizza is surprisingly good, make sure you order it with “pizza salad,” which turns out to be cabbage. If you are craving non-Western food, I would try Persian before Indian or Chinese. At breakfast, butter is consistently good. Overall, Stockholm is a quality food city, though it is not superb when it comes to breadth.

Eating well in Stockholm

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

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Where and how to eat in Cape Town, South Africa

Don’t laugh, but basically you want to eat in the restaurants with the beautiful women. And with the views of the waterfront.

You may recall those are usually the opposite of the correct recommendations. But in Cape Town, there is no coherent “mom and pop” restaurant sector, based on either recent Asian or Latino immigrants, or based on an existing middle class. You simply want to go to the nice, fancy places. And you don’t need my list, many sources can tell you which ones those are.

The economics of that are simple. There is a well-defined class of people with a lot of money, and the best restaurants do everything they can to target them, including seaside views. That is by far the best way to get good food here, arguably the only way. You cannot in fact “arbitrage against the inequality,” even if you think you might wish to.

Usually you should order seafood, and (as in Chile) be suspicious of any menu item with a cream sauce, which will be overdone on the creamy side. You may see batches of Afrikaans words on the English-language menus, don’t worry just pull out your ChatGPT app and enjoy the feeling of strangeness.

I did have one meal of grilled meats and bbq in a black township, and it was not bad. But I would say you are going for the sociological experience more than for the food. You’ll also get some South African side dishes, such as the corn meal, that may not pop up in the fancier restaurants. So do that if you can, I also found the experience to be safe and not stressful.

Prices here are very low, and an excellent meal can be well under half of the comparable cost in the United States or Europe, maybe even 3x lower. Wherever you go, make sure they give you a seat looking out on the water!

Where and how to eat in Cape Town, South Africa

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

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Shinwari Namak Mandi

Shinwari Namak Mandi, web site, FB, 5884 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA, 703-347-8311 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | RoadTrippers | Restaurant Guru]

Yet further evidence that this area’s Pakistani restaurants are better than the Indian restaurants. Ask for haleem, sometimes they have it! But it’s not on the menu. What they serve here is predictable, but I mean that word in the good sense. The real stand-out here is the bread – maybe the best I’ve had in any northern Virginia restaurant? Make sure you get that. With the rest of the meal you will be fine too. Note there is a seafood sign on the outside of the restaurant, but this is not mainly a seafood restaurant, noting that Pakistani fish fry is not to be neglected.

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Southeast Impression

Southeast Impression, web site, 9530 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax, VA, 703-865-4884 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Washingtonian | FFX Now | Restaurantji]

Real Malaysian food, right near my house! They have Thai dishes too, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to trying them. The Nasi Lemak is my top recommendation here. Most dishes are good, though the laksa I found too tame. The others you can improve through the condiments. Good beef rendang. The roti with lentils appetizer is top-tier. Quality vegetables. So my standard of living has gone up by quite a bit. Note this is a “nice” place, rather than a Mom and Pop, but it is not a “fancy” place. Still, circa 2024, the beef rendang does cost $27.

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Rules for Tri-State Italian food

Piers emails me:

    You’re a NJ native and great at finding good restaurants.

    So what are the rules for finding good old school American Italian restaurants? Not like modern farm to table places full of natural light in Brooklyn or SF, you know what I mean?

    Review aggregators are useless. Horrid “egg noodles and ketchup” places get high scores just for being family run.

It is harder and harder to find such places. I think the Latino-ization of the New Jersey heartland largely has been a good thing, and also a good thing for food (Peruvian!), but it hasn’t helped Italian dining very much. More and more New Jersey Italian places sell to the upper middle class, rather than to the diehards. I have two pieces of advice:

1. Go to a classic heartland road, such as Rt.17 or Rt.46, and try to learn which places still have Mafia ties, or had them recently.

2. Go to a town in the heartland, and ask a person working at a fire station. Heed the answer only if that person has a New Jersey accent.

As a side remark, the good places have either “too good but tacky” decor, or poor, not good enough decor. Either way, it should not feel pleasant, that is a sign the ravioli and lasagna will be ordinary. And you can always resort to Staten Island, the Bronx, and parts of Connecticut, in that order.

If you need to ask what “the heartland” means, you shouldn’t even be trying to eat this food, just drive to Kearny and opt for the lomo saltado or maybe something Brazilian, Dominican or Puerto Rican in Paterson.

Rules for Tri-State Italian food

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

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San Francisco dining

Dwarkesh brought me to the very good Sizzling Pot King, 139 8th St, San Francisco, genuine Hunan food and yes I have been to Changsha. Don’t walk there though, take an Uber or better yet a Waymo. Dwarkesh was kind enough to call me one for the trip back to the hotel. When I asked for jazz music, I was shocked to hear a very high quality Bill Evans trio cut, not some popular slop.

The Guam restaurant on Mission — Prubechu — is quite interesting and serves largely the indigenous Chamorro food. It is rare that I have the chance to try an altogether new cuisine, in any case I would eat there again.

San Francisco dining

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

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Mum Aroi

Mum Aroi, web site, 5892 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA (Baileys Crossroads area), 703-671-4222 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Restaurantji | Annandale Today]

This place has the same chef as the former Duangrat’s Oriental Food Mart, now relabeled Thai Value, and is right next door. But now it is also a proper sit-down restaurant, but they kept the food true to its earlier mom and pop roots. Could it be overall the most authentic Thai food around? In any case it sits in the top tier of local NoVa restaurants. The Nam Khao is excellent, as are the “dumplings” (they’re not, get them anyway and use the dipping sauce), and just a powerful restaurant all around, with Thai Noodle soups as well. Definitely recommended.

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Sichuan Legend Hot Pot

Sichuan Legend Hot Pot, web site, 9992 Main St., Fairfax, VA, 703-865-7773, 571-536-7780, closed Tuesday (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Restaurant Guru]

I don’t love most hot pot but the core Sichuan dishes here are outstanding. Cooked by Chengdu chefs, this is Chinese food for Chinese diners. The best ma po tofu around. The best cumin fish around. Reasonable price too. Ten years ago we would have been amazed this place exists, but in 2024 somehow it doesn’t get attention at all. And yes, you do have to ask for the Chinese menu. Should be in everyone’s repertoire, it is one of my new favorites.

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JD Ethiopian Restaurant and Bar

JD Ethiopian Restaurant and Bar, web site, 6669 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA, 703-717-3871, usually open and music Saturday nights (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | Restaurant Guru | RoadTrippers | Annandale Today]

Monarch Ethiopian used to be in this space, before that Dama. This place is very good, and especially noteworthy for the freshness of the food and the flavors. Excellent kitfo, vegetables, definitely above average. Sometimes the different Ethiopian places blur into each other a bit, but this is the one closest to me, so it will get repeated visits. Nicer to sit in and less dark than some of the smaller places, so recommended both for the novice and the expert in Ethiopian food.

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Hu Tieu Mi Lacay Cho Lon

Hu Tieu Mi Lacay Cho Lon, web site, 6793-D Wilson Blvd., Falls Church, VA (Edene Center), 703-531-1420 (Metro Trip Planner – opens in new window) [Google | RoadTrippers]

Most of all, good noodle soups. Good vermicelli dishes. Appeals to the more traditional Vietnamese crowd, rather than the young and hip. Cash only. This won’t ever be a top place in Eden Center, but you can do worse than to eat here. Predictably delivers with good content on some of the main Vietnamese dishes and for reasonable prices.

 


Hu Tiu Mi Lacay Cho Lon – Eden Center

 

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