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 (thanks to the estimable Chug), 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.


I'm a little surprised not to see Dishes of India in the guide. Very good Indian food in Alexandria (just south of the city proper).

Dishes of India is just standard Americo-Indian IMO. OTOH I have a hard time resisting the Roy Rogers in that shopping center, so I'm not in a position to judge.

FYI, it says Little Serow is the best restaurant that opened this year, might want to change that.

Favorite DC taqueria? Have you tried those El Sol (now closed, will re-open as another name) or Taqueria Habanero?

My favourite meal is cheese on toast, I guess I am not sophisticated like Tyler

I think Tyler's "sophisticated" palate skews towards obscure mom and pop places with really good and often cheap ethnic food. Not sure it's all that fancy.

'I think Tyler’s “sophisticated” palate skews towards obscure mom and pop places with really good and often cheap ethnic food.'

Not exactly - his sophisticated palate is fully at home in Michelin starred restaurants. It is just, as with so many things at this web site, a narrative is being constructed that is, at best, tangential to reality.

"My favourite meal is cheese on toast"

Are you from Britain? That's a very British sentence.

Does it tell us were to buy coffee that's been processed by a civet?

Why? For people who are too lazy to buy their own civet and supervise the coffee pooping themselves?

Well that is obvious - make sure you buy genuine Indonesian Kopi luwak. Preferably from Sumatra. Don't buy the cheaper Vietnamese cà phê Chồn because all too often the Vietnamese are going for the easier and cheaper route of steeping the beans in acid instead and then passing them off as Kopi luwak.

Call me old fashioned but I think if I am going to pay top dollar for civet coffee it should have, at the very least, have a passing acquaintance with a civet's rectum.

However if you want maximum SWPL points, skip the Kopi luwak altogether. It is cruel or something. No, you need to go for the Elephant coffee. If you search very hard you can find a project that rescues Elephants in Thailand and provides them with a retirement home. However it is expensive so they pay for it by processing coffee beans in the same way as civet coffee does. Except with less animal cruelty.

Anyway, for genuine Stuff White People Like, you can't beat a fair trade artisan-crafted cappuccino made with beans that come from an animal rescue project involving elephants.

Fantastic. Love this guide. Has brought me to many delicious meals I would never have encountered without. Thank you TC

Calvin Trillin is not going to be happy with all these new Chinese offerings. Where's the best chop suey?

Tyler Cowen...confirming his stereotype.

Wait up ... The Wash Post just published a damning critique of our "ethnic food" double standard:

Dumb, at least as it relates to tc's guide. Apparently he is recommending extremely good deals! This is bad?

Besides, a lot of the price difference comes down to ingredients. It's not how labor intensive something is but how pricey the protein and vegetables are. Cabbage and pork are cheap.

Stupid article worthy of the Washington Post.

Apparently, the authors of that crap fest have never had a Hamburger in any other part of the world. They also, modify "American" foods to their tastes. Shocker, I know.

Japanese KFC not only modifies the taste but does it locally from what I've read. No two KFCs are quite the same there.

The one time I was disappointed with a restaurant in Japan that modified the taste to seemingly accommodate the locals better was a Thai restaurant that served the hottest. spiciest food I've ever had. The staff would carry around pitchers of water despite a cheap drink bar. You wanted a steady supply of water. A couple of years later, that restaurant moved and the flamethrower level of hotness was gone leaving bland Thai food. I stopped going.

Thanks to Tyler for his update. I agree that Rasika is going down and Rasika West beats it, as well as that China 88 (in up and coming Chantilly) is even better than the old China Star, which was excellent. But, given that I am older than he is and must drive two hours to get to Washington, I am just not going to wait in line for Rose's Luxury, even if it is really and truly wonderful. Forget it. Will go to Georgetown and eat at La Chaumiere instead, :-).

For those who think that Tyler does not appreciate expensive Michelin starred cuisine or top notch Japanese cuisine, I would say that they do not know what they are talking about. However, the very salient issue is Tyler's strong focus on quality for price, so these highly expensive places face tough standards from someone like him who views the high prices as clearly a negative rather than something to brag about or feel superior about while one is eating in such places, along with the fact that some of those high prices are for décor and overpaid and overdone service, which some may want sometimes, especially for special occasions. But that is not what The Economist Goes to Lunch is about, which is having a high quality/price ratio and pretty damn the rest, unless the rest is truly awful, which is the basis for his preference for those simple places in the suburban strip malls with the ugly grandmothers shouting at each other.

Shocked not to see Granville Moore's, the one survivor from the old days of H Street, on the Belgian list. Small and select food menu and great vibe. still hasn't been discovered by the gentrifying crowd, though they walk past it everyday.

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