A couple of years ago, Cantonese Buford Highway restaurant Wan Lai opened to much foodie acclaim. I went with a big group of friends right when it opened and had a wonderful feast. I returned many times after that and became addicted to its crispy garlic fried chicken. The kitchen fried a bone-in chicken until the skin turned crispy and brown. Then it was hacked into meaty chunks, rearranged on a plate and smothered with fried salty shallots, garlic and peppers.
Then before we could all blink, Wan Lai’s head chef purportedly hightailed it up the street to head the kitchen at Bo Bo Garden, a similar Cantonese restaurant that still exists today. And then eventually last year, Wan Lai departed for that big restaurant in the sky.
Friends always told me that Bo Bo Garden’s garlic fried chicken is just as good if not better than Wan Lai’s version. I sampled it recently but I’m not digging it as much as Wan Lai’s. It’s good but the outside is less crispy, and the overall flavor isn’t as punchy. I’m sure I’ll give it another a try at some point. I love this style of fried chicken.
Falafels by the Perimeter
I had heard a lot of positive feedback about the falafels at Israeli/Mediterranean restaurant O U for U. I recently popped in for lunch and plunged into the restaurant’s falafel platter. The dish comes with pita bread, tomato cucumber salad, hummus and about eight brown, crunchy falafels.
The falafels hint of cumin flavor and are crunchy on the outside and soft (not gooey) on the inside. I quickly tore through these and enjoyed them on their own, or stuffed into pita heavily dressed with hummus and salad.
Recently, I’ve been enjoying weekend breakfasts at Emory Village’s Rise -n- Dine. Señor Kessler gave it kudos a while ago, and so far I can see why. I particularly enjoy a dish called pangea. The kitchen takes a piece of grilled roti, lays on eggs (over-easy in my case) and then tops it with a spicy tomato sauce.
The pangea also comes with hummus, olives, cucumbers, feta cheese and paprika heavily sprinkled on the periphery of the plate. If you are looking for a lighter breakfast alternative and you like Mediterranean food, give this dish a try.
Vietnamese rice soup
Buford Highway’s Quoc Huong is famous for its banh mi. Understandably so, the sandwiches here are delicious. Lesser known is the restaurant’s selection of pho, bun (vermicelli noodle) and rice dishes.
On a whim, I ordered the chao long or “pork special house soup.” Had I known this soupy rice porridge is chock full of offal, I would have passed. I don’t mind offal I just did not particularly care to eat it that day.
The porridge contains cubes of congealed pig blood and unidentifiable slivers of innards that taste intensely like liver. I pushed it all to the side and enjoyed the rest of the porridge which also contained mild sausage, fried shallots and scallions. I would get this again, but depending on my mood I would possibly omit the offal.
- by Gene Lee, Food and More blog
– Gene Lee writes about International Cuisine for the AJC Dining Team. He also publishes his own blog, Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal.