Amazing Global Cuisines in U.S. Cities You Wouldn't Expect

Injera and Toppings


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Injera and Toppings
Delicious Vietnamese Crepe or Pancake Banh Xeo

Houston: Vietnamese

In 1975, Vietnamese natives emigrated to America in record numbers after The Fall of Saigon, which ended the Vietnam War. Many Vietnamese immigrants came to Houston, making the city rich with both authentic and fusion Vietnamese restaurants.

Don’t miss: Banh xeo, a mouthwatering, turmeric-colored crepe filled with veggies, herbs, and meat that can be bought from the popular Nam Giao.

Related: 41 Fast-Food Items You’ll Only Find Abroad

Максим Крысанов/istockphoto

Boise, Idaho: Basque

Idaho is known for its potatoes, but Boise’s Basque population, hailing from Northern Spain, is thriving with an assortment of dishes including cod, grilled meats, and beans (as well as, yes, potatoes). Basque food also includes French and Northern Spanish seafood staples like paella. 

Where to try it: Sample authentic paella, patatas bravas, and other flavor-packed small plates at The Basque Market.

Related: 30 Strange But Surprisingly Tasty Local Foods to Try

Pakora by Damien Ramon Naidoo (CC BY-SA)

Atlanta: Indian

Atlanta is home to one of the country’s largest populations of Indian-Americans, which means delicious hidden gems are scattered all over the city and its surrounding suburbs. Branch out from your usual chicken tikka masala order into one of the many regional Indian cuisines offered in Atlanta.

Don’t miss: Mind-blowingly delicious crispy-fried cauliflower called kopi pakora from Ruchi Bangladeshi

Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Indian Restaurant in Every State

Yogurt marinated grilled chicken skewers with vegetables and tzatziki
Injera and Toppings

Alexandria, Virginia: Ethiopian

After their emperor was overthrown in 1974, Ethiopians began settling in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington D.C., now known as Little Ethiopia. Little Ethiopia eventually spread to nearby towns, including Alexandria, Virginia. With this expansion came tons of delicious food.

Don’t miss: The $16 Veggie Combo at Makeda Restaurant served atop injera, a large Ethiopian sourdough flatbread used to scoop up the vegetables.

Stuffed Lamb, Kharoof Mahshi
Michelle G./Yelp

Dearborn, Michigan: Middle-Eastern

In 2017, Arab Americans made up 47% of Dearborn’s population. Middle Eastern communities have been living and working in Detroit and surrounding areas since the automobile boom in the early 1900s, blessing the area with traditional flavors and dishes. 

Where to try it: Try the highly-praised aromatic, juicy, and tender stuffed lamb at Al-Ameer.

Related: 29 Must-Try International Street Foods Under $5

Thai Noodle Soup with Shrimp

Chicago: Thai

You may have heard about Chicago’s Chinatown or Polish neighborhoods, but you probably don’t know that Cook County, Illinois, has one of the most robust Thai communities in the country. Get your tastebuds ready for some serious spice and herbaceous goodness from Chicago’s many Thai eateries.

Don’t miss: The plant-based chef’s menu at upscale Thai eatery Herb, available for take-out and delivery.

Pork sisig with mixed egg. It is a Filipino dish made from pork mask (face skin) served with calamansi and chili.
Michael Edwards/istockphoto

Milpitas, California: Filipino

Nestled in the Bay Area, Milpitas is home to one of the largest multigenerational, Filipino migrant communities in the United States. Milpitas boasts food from diverse regions of the Philippines, plus most of the restaurants offer catering for large events.

Where to try it: Kalesa serves up hometown favorites like sisig, pancit canton, and Filipino BBQ.

Related: 25 Weird and Wonderful McDonald’s International Menu Favorites

Smörgåsbord with pickled herring and snaps

Minneapolis: Scandinavian

Scandinavian settlers have called Minneapolis home since the late 1800s, bringing flavorful fish, pork, and vegetable dishes to the region. Minnesota winters have nothing on the unique tastes, textures, and heartiness of Scandinavian food.

Don’t miss: Nordic favorites like reindeer sausage, pickled fish, and pastries from Finnish Bistro Coffee & Cafe.

Related: 55 Foods Worth Traveling For

Dolma georgian kitchen
Максим Крысанов/istockphoto

Washington, D.C.: Syrian

Washington, D.C. is home to the largest population of Syrian refugees in America. The city benefits from the incredible traditional cuisine the Syrian community has brought with them. Fresh and flavorful dishes combine simple ingredients like cucumber, eggplant, garlic, and lamb with tons of spices.

Where to try it: Mama Ayesha’s Restaurant serves warak inib — stuffed grape leaves filled with lemon, mint, rice, and a choice of chickpeas or ground lamb. 

Related: Best Fried Chicken in Every State

Seafood Cataplana - a Portuguese fish stew

New Bedford, Massachusetts: Portuguese

Many Portuguese families emigrated to New Bedford, Massachusetts in the late 1800s to work in the whaling industry, breathing economic life into the New Bedford community. Portuguese food includes tons of seafood, smoked meats, and cheeses — all of which can be found or made in New Bedford.

Don’t miss: The jam-packed Seafood Stew Casserole with a comforting tomato broth at Antonio’s.

Related: 25 Amazing Sandwiches Around the World

The Fry Bread House
Brent C./Yelp

Phoenix: Indigenous

The food scene in Phoenix is dominated by Southwestern cuisine, but a few Indigenous chefs are spreading the good word about dishes that their ancestors have eaten for hundreds of years — often before European settlers colonized their land.

Where to try it: The Fry Bread House serves a variety of fry bread tacos, plus an authentic beef stew.

Related: The Best Fried Foods Around the World

Corn bread, fried chicken and collard greens in Cleveland, Ohio
Ralph Navarro/istockphoto

Buffalo, New York: Soul

Come to Buffalo, New York, looking for a variety of Buffalo wing sauce flavors, and leave (happily) with a belly full of Southern soul food. From high-end table settings to the humble squeak of Styrofoam containers, the soul food restaurant scene is a surprising find in this chilly city.

Where to try it: Buffalo Soul serves classic shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and collard greens.

Related: The Best Spot for Comfort Food in Every State