By Rick Gion
While the Fargo-Moorhead area offers many great things to dine on these days, there are some hopeful establishments that would make for big improvements to the local food scene here.
The first restaurant on my wish list is a full-on Korean restaurant. You may have heard of some of the Korean barbeque places around town, and that’s all fine and dandy. I do love good bulgogi and kalbi. It’s delicious.
What I’m talking about is a restaurant where meals are served with small bowls of various banchan - bean sprouts, cabbage kimchi, carrots, spicy cucumbers, and more. Offerings at this restaurant need to include noodle dishes such as japchae (sweet potato starch noodles served cold or hot) and naengmyeon (buckwheat noodles served cold in an icy beef broth). Please make sure to include various spicy jjigae stews on the menu for cold winter days. I also love spicy squid bulgogi. Make sure that’s on the menu, too.
The second restaurant on my wish list is a Chinese restaurant that makes fresh dim sum and other dumplings. I want to see a place with bamboo steamers stacked to the ceiling that are filled with pillowy goodness. The soup dumplings need to be scaldingly hot and satisfying. The shumai need to be brimming with stuffed deliciousness.
Let’s also make sure this place serves barbeque pork steam buns and bao. The bao needs to have sweet and salty pork belly, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, and scallions sticking out the sides. I like crushed peanuts on top of them, too. Please make sure to have some hoisin sauce and Sriracha handy at the table.
The third and final restaurant theme on my wish list is Ethiopian. There are a few east African restaurants here that do serve some good dishes. However, the variety isn’t quite there in this category.
I’m talking about serving up a very large platter with all the lentils, meat and vegetable stews and wats dolloped on top of hot, freshly made injera bread (spongy flat bread made with teff flour). Make sure those stews and wats are heavy on the berbere spice blend, and we’ll be in business.
As you can tell, I’m a big fan of ethnic food. Fargo-Moorhead does have very good offerings in this area, but there's room for improvement. The three places listed above would make for tasty additions.
Editor’s note: Rick Gion administers a Facebook group page called “Fargo-Moorhead Eats” that’s dedicated to the area’s great cooks and cuisine. Check it out, join, and feel free to post items about your local culinary adventures and home cooking.
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