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Best Ethnic Food in New England

“Green soup” originated in northern Portugal but is now considered a culinary ambassador for the whole nation. Served in formal restaurants as well as blue-collar pubs, its flavors are simple but comforting: Thin strands of kale are simmered in potato broth, redolent of olive oil and onions. Slices of chourico are often added at the end. 1577 Pleasant St., Fall River, MA. 508-677-1200;

NIME CHOW, Tepthida Khmer
It’s the Cambodian American name for a nonfried “summer roll.” The soft rice-paper shell is filled with rice vermicelli, shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, and fresh mint or Thai basil. Tepthida Khmer’s rolls are so fat they can barely contain their stuffing. 115 Chelmsford St., Lowell, MA. 978-453-1694;

POUTINE, Chez Vachon
Crispy French fries sprinkled with cheese curds and smothered in gravy: Sounds odd, but this carb-and-protein stoker was designed to sustain the Canadian lumberjacks who brought it (and other great Quebecoise cuisine) over the border. Chez Vachon gets it right: The fries are crispy, and the mild cheddar curds are just beginning to melt under the chicken gravy, which is black-pepper spicy. 136 Kelley St., Manchester, NH; 603-625-9660

FALAFEL, Markos Kabob and More
These fried vegetarian balls, found throughout the Middle East as street food, are usually served wrapped in pita bread, with pickled vegetables and a sauce of sesame or yogurt. Sometimes the main ingredient is fava beans, sometimes chickpeas, sometimes both. The skill is in the spicing and the deep-frying: no blandness, no greasiness, please. Syrian American Mark Awad gets it just right. 126 Boon St., Narragansett, RI. 401-783-9083;

INJERA, Asmara
This large, spongy, slightly sour, crêpe-like bread is made from teff flour and serves as both plate and utensil for Eritrean and Ethiopian cooking. Curry-esque sauces of chicken marinated in garlic, or split peas simmered in red pepper sauce, get ladled on top. It’s an exotic and alluring experience. 739 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA. 617-864-7447;

Updated Monday, April 20th, 2009

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7 Responses to Best Ethnic Food in New England

  1. sid davidson May 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    That is a great list. I’m going to try some of them.
    Waltham, Mass. has some great ethnic restaurants up and down Moody ST.

  2. Elizabeth A. Johnson May 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    All I can say after reading this list as I am salivating! is YUMMY! I shall print out this list and keep it with my travel information . If I am ever in the area I will check them out! Love you magazine! Have been reading it since I was 16 yrs old.Longer than I care to admit!
    God Bless!
    Elizabeth Johnson, Hunterdon County, N.J.

  3. marianne caldwell May 15, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    The addition of lime, bean sprouts, Asian basil or mint, and cilantro to the pho soup is not an American addition. It is part of the original Vietnamese recipe. It is served that way in Southeast Asia, as well as in Western countries which have a large Vietnamese population: like France. The only American adaptation I know of is substituting the original tripe or grizzle/chewy meat with more tender slices of beef. There are different sorts of pho; with tripe and beef, just beef, meatballs, or a spicy sat

  4. Ulysses Agpaoa June 15, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

    Great list. Thank you.

  5. Azar ATTURA March 4, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    There’s a restaurant (whoe name escapes me) in Worcester Mass that serves THE BEST Indian food I have ever eaten– plus Apricot Almond Naan — feathery soft and hot from the oven. YUM!

  6. Chris Heckman March 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    I wish you had gotten out of Massachusetts more. Only two out of twenty-seven in Maine! Portland has some great restaurants, I’m sure you could have found more than one.

  7. Deirdre Lee March 5, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Federal Hill…can’t beat it!!!

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