Holiday (Asian) Food 2023

Just thought I’d close off the year with a simple post of some of the great food I ate this holiday season.  Spoiler alert, it’s just the normal places we’d eat on a regular week! 🙂  So many amazing affordable Asian places to eat at in Atlanta.

Hot Cafe

If you’re ever near or going to the busiest airport in the world, stop by Hot Cafe off Riverdale Road for some of the best and authentic Lao food in Atlanta.  (It’s also right up the road from the Cambodian temple that’s building a huge worship hall)

Beef Intestine Soup (Kaeng Seen)

I’ve been eating this dish since I was a kid and while the choice of meat, organs and innards (and its pungent smell) might not sit well with some folks, this is serious delicious comfort food for many Lao people. It’s something you’d never turn your nose at either since meat back home (and even here in the US) is a luxury for many people. Combined with beef larp and sticky rice, it’s a difficult combo to beat in any Asian cuisine.

Beef Larp (Larp Seen) – You can get this a bit sour or bitter as well. The best places that make real authentic larp, you can always first taste the toasted rice powder and chili peppers.  And yes you’re supposed to eat the garnish as well, since we rarely waste food.

Lard Nar Chicken – I’ve always enjoyed thick noodles and gravy with broccoli. You can also douse it with the pickled jalapenos in vinegar. For some reason that’s a great combination of flavors.

Banh Mi Cafe

Bun Bo Hue

They were sold out of the beef stew with the banh mi bread combo the other day so I got the tried and true Bun Bo Hue.  At this restaurant off Satellite and Pleasant Hill it’s pretty flavorful and spicy. Careful on the first sip.  This is also a dish that tastes great at home as leftovers if you can’t finish it in the restaurant.

[ Banh Mi Sandwich BBQ Pork – I forgot to take a picture of it, I’m sure there’s one floating around here somewhere. 😉 ]

Also inflation has brought up the banh mi sandwiches to $5.50/sub, but they still have the buy 5 get 1 free.  It’s still one of the best portable meals one can get, and compared to the ludicrous prices of fast food burgers, it’s a deal.  Actually now that I think about though, there are many fancy eateries in the trendy Atlanta places that have the audacity to charge $14+ for a banh mi sandwich.  No we must not let that humble/delicious everyperson’s sandwich get co opted by big business.

Great Wall Supermarket Food Court

Cantonese Cuisine (The restaurant at the very end, always with a long line!) – BBQ Pork, Duck and Chicken and Rice combo, with a bonus salty egg AND soup!  For $17!!!

There’s a reason why this place always has a line of people.  They give you tremendous amounts of food for a great price.  It’s definitely family sized portions.  Oh they also have dim sum up to a certain hour.  And did I mention all this food was gotten late on Christmas day?!  While everything else is closed you can always count on Asian restaurants (except Korean) being open on Christmas.

BBQ Pork, Duck and Chicken and Rice combo, with a bonus salty egg AND soup!  For $17!!!

Stir Fried Beef and Veggies with your choice of either flat noodle or fried noodle. <– This option basically makes it a Mee Korp dish. So good, and again, it’s great taken home and even eaten cold!

These dishes are from Humble House, which we’ve eaten at so many times over the years. The pork belly is probably their most popular dish. The gelatinous goodness is probably not that healthy for you, but it is sitting on a bed of greens that are always soft and flavorful. I’ve found that they fill me up more than the meat. The other dish is the humble yet “S” tier stir fried string beans and ground pork. Man this dish is so good. When I went back a few days later, they were sold out!

Blue Mountain Coffee Roasters

Blue Mountain Caramel Macchiato and Americano Latte

The new Blue Mountain coffee place in Suwanee is in an old shopping right off Lawrenceville Suwanee.  To show my age, it is in the same shopping center that used to be a Blockbuster (now an O’Reilly’s) and next to a defunct Subway and I think is now in a place where I once got alterations done ages ago.  Oh and it’s also next to the old Chick-fil-A that is now retired due to the many newer superior fancier ones across the bridge.  Anyways back to Blue Mountain, which has a really nice fancy interior and chill open vibe.

Croffle – My new favorite dessert, the Croissant+Waffle hybrid!!

I think this dish has been available in the many different Korean places for quite some time, but I’ve just now stumbled upon it thanks to friends. How a croissant lover like myself missed out on this I still don’t understand.  I used to get the huge pack from Costco and eat them with jelly all the time.  After of course microwaving them just for a bit.  I also learned quite late that one can freeze the Costco croissants.  Bless their loss leaders like the croissants, rotisserie chicken and hot dogs.  But shame on them for getting rid of their print and photo departments.  Well, back to the croffle, something I might make a tour around Gwinnett just to “catch em all.”

This croffle (like many Asian desserts) is a bit different at the various places here in Gwinnett.  I’ve lost count of the number of places, but you can pretty much drive in any direction and find a cool after dinner hang out spot.

Behold, a Croffle in f/1.4 glory. On a somewhat related note, this is the type of image that AI prompts are spitting out, so crazy, 2023.

Assi Food Court

Tofu Soup (gop chang/intestine) on the Very Spicy setting. Man it was hot, but so good. Also I ran into someone! 😉

Rain Thai and Sushi

(Another great place that is open on most holidays, including Christmas!)

Larp Gai (Chicken) – This is always citrusy and delicious. I always have to pick out the sharp purple onions, because I’m still allergic to raw onions! It’s getting better as the years go on, but when combined with cold weather it’s not a good combo for me. You can find this under the Salads/appetizers section, but for Lao people this is a main entree by itself. Always eaten with rice, because rice is life.

Basil Fried Rice with Chicken

Basil Pork

So yeah that’s some of the food I remembered to take a photo of.  Also, it’s funny how the holidays usually ups the RNG (random number generator) chances of seeing old familiar faces.  Here’s two pretty ladies I was lucky to encounter!  Yeah it is crazy, some folks you meet once or a few times, connect on social media and then you never see them again.  They become NPCs to you and you to them in a way.  But we’re all living our own colorful lives in a fast moving river of shared experiences.  Hope to share more photos and croffles going forward. -B

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