Counting Our Blessings

Considering what we're thankful for in the local food scene

Austin's International Foods

If one were to give thanks for any single element of the Austin food scene in the past year, it would have to be the growing diversity of international ethnic restaurants. We have had three excellent Pakistani choices surface: Bismillah, Spicy Tandoor, and Tandoor Palace. Madras Pavilion, Little Bombay, and Swad are all producing first-rate veggie Indian, not to mention Alborz for incredible Persian and Marakesh for superb Middle Eastern.

Two African-oriented establishments have opened: World Beat and Sunugal (in Bastrop). Sampaio brings us the treats of Brazil, while Habana has expanded their Cuban menu. Doña Emilia's fantastic Colombian food now has a permanent location, and Elsi's covers Salvador.

Johannes Muljadi has sold Java Noodles to capable owners and is readying his new Java Grill for Indonesian foods. Madam Mam's exquisite Thai food is open on the Drag, and Ped has a new Lemongrass location. Hai Ky Vietnamese has opened south, and Sunflower impresses with their Viet offerings. Jegimajo's brings us limited Filipino delights (but we need more!), and there are a host of new sushi sites of Japanese and Korean parentage.

Austin is finally attracting the varied international foods found in other cities of comparable size, and as a supportive dining public we should patronize them often to ensure their survival. Ethnic diversity is the lifeblood of this country, as well as the lifeblood of the Austin restaurant scene. We want and need even more world food, and far fewer chains!

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