When I moved to Greensboro, NC, years ago in pursuit of a fantastic job opportunity, I was hesitant. Having lived in New Orleans, Oregon and Florida, a big part of my days off from the kitchen involved culinary adventure—seeking inspiration from experiencing other cultures through humble restaurants— and I worried that the North Carolina city wouldn’t offer much in that department. I was wrong.
There are a large number of charitable groups centered in Greensboro who assist international refugees, and authentic, affordable food from many corners of the globe can be found without looking too hard. From Pakistani to Ethiopian, Thai to Mexican, Korean to Jamaican, Vietnamese to Salvadorean, lunch is cheaper than a plane ticket. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Thai Corner Kitchen – Pad See Ew is my daughter’s favorite, and my go-to is the green Thai Curry noodles. It even has a drive-thru window.
- Banh Mi Saigon Sandwiches & Bakery – Banh mi sandwiches are all about the baguettes; these are baked in-house. At least 5 different varieties are offered daily (my son prefers the chicken version); they are all tasty. Since they’re under four bucks, get two.
- Van Loi II – Best pho in town. Get the tripe and tendon for textural complexity. And since a Chinese BBQ shares the space, don’t miss the duck either.
- Da Sarang Korean Restaurant – Get the Bibimbap and savor the crusty rice at the bottom; hit the Super G Mart next door to pimp your cupboard with exotic flavors.
- Carnicera el Mercadito – a Mexican butcher/grocery. Go for the tacos with fresh tortillas made in-house and every conceivable filling; do some grocery shopping while you’re at it.