The 10 Best Dishes on Earth and Where to Get Them Locally (Part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of ‘The 10 Best Dishes on Earth and Where to Get Them Locally.’ Check out the first five in part one, to get yourself salivating. Of course, I need to drop the same disclaimer that I did in part one. Picking ten is liking picking a favorite child or children. I only stop at ten for practical reasons, but I’ll find a clever way to discuss more dishes in the future. Also, I could not place them in a particular order and these are completely random. These are the best dishes in my opinion. So for those foodies with strong opinions, don’t kill me. Share yours and tell us why its better than the ones on my list!

6. Nime Chow
What in Sam Hill is a Nime Chow? This is what I asked myself the first time I went to a Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant. I sat down, opened the menu and felt overwhelmed with foreign terminology. As I browsed the menu, I heard the table next to me order “Nime Chow.” A few seconds later another table pre-empted their whole order with “Nim Chow.” Then the table next to me. OK, I’m going to have that. Nime Chow was chosen as #30 of the World’s 50 most delicious foods complied by CNN Go in 2011. Nime Chow is a roll. It is the Cambodian version of Vietnam’s Goi Cuon. Instead of fried into oblivion, this special treat is wrapped in rice paper or bánh tráng and served at room temperature. It’s jammed with vermicelli, bean sprouts, curly leaf lettuce, Thai Basil, and typically one shrimp sliced thin. Though I have seen them with Tofu or even pork. Nime Chow does not end here though. Like peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, spaghetti and meatballs.

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Nime Chow – Cambodia’s fresh roll

Nime Chow comes with a dipping sauce that is unlike no other. This mouth watering clear sauce is a combination of lime, vinegar, Nước chấm (fish sauce which you can’t actually taste fish!), sugar and water. Atop the sauce is crushed peanut. There are as many variations as there are homemade Thanksgiving stuffing variations and of course, everyone makes it the best. Since the rolls are usually halved when the arrive, you simply spoon this heavenly sauce into the roll, hoping to not spill a precious drop. Nime Chow is so delicious that my mom, who lived in Fairhaven, would get the urge for them, place an order to go, hop in the car and drive to her favorite spot in Cranston and come home and eat them. Nime Chow is serious stuff.

A Nime Chow Anonymous should be created for those of us who have become addicts. I’m ready to pawn my TV right now. So where can you get your grubby little hands on them without have to drive to Cranston? Apsara restaurant in Fall River makes them as good as they get. Showing the popularity of the roll, even Thai and Chinese restaurants are serving them. An absolutely delicious and perfect version is served at a new Chinese restaurant, Asia Sea Gourmet on Ashley Boulevard. Also, Sivalai in Fairhaven makes a slight variation, equally delicious and they are called “fresh rolls” there.

7. Chicken w/ Shrimp and Round Fries

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Chicken w/ Shrimp Antonio’s naked!

There’s probably a really cool sounding Portuguese word or phrase that identifies this dish. There’s only one spot I am aware that you can get it at, and though a genuine Portuguese restaurant, this menu item is listed in English. Anyone who has had this dish and reads these lines “Chicken w/ Shrimp Antonio’s” will instantly salivate. Drool. Check wallet for funds. Is it lunch time? Imagine the juiciest, massive gobs of fresh white chicken breast. Take a healthy serving of FRESH, not processed, FRESH shrimp and throw them on top. Drizzle over that their mouth watering red saffron beer sauce that anyone who has had Portuguese cuisine (imagine NOT growing up in a Portuguese community?! No thanks.) is familiar with. Take Antonio’s famous round fries and, put a mountains of them over the top and serve. The round fries are PERFECTLY cooked. Soft in the middle, crispy on the outside. Some restaurants think you should fry them until they are a kettle potato chip. Sacrilege. I always have this with another partner in crime since it’s too much food for one person to eat. The image I used to accompany the article shows what the dish look like without it’s hill of round fries so you can gaze at it in all it’s glory. For those of you food junkies that wish to see it with the fries, you can here. It’s a fantastic deal, and a lot of food for one of the best dishes on earth. There’s only one place to go for it, and that’s Antonio’s Restaurant on Coggeshall Street.

8. Tostada
Anyone who frequents downtown knows that you can’t have a best dishes and not mention a staple of downtown’s eateries: No Problemo. I’ve been eating there since it opened and it is certainly a frequent destination. Massive portions of quickly served food that won’t break the wallet? Yeah, I’m in. It was soul torture to have to select on item on the menu, since I love so many. The painfully delectable Diablo, the delicious plaintain quesadilla, the exquisite Miss America. *sigh* However, nine times out of ten when I go, I order my favorite: the Tostada.

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No Problemo’s Tostada – Bigger than your head!

While traditionally served in a tortilla shell as a plate, instead No Problemo serves it in a ceramic bow and rings it with multi-colored tortilla chips. The less messy, modern version. While I can’t imagine having to describe it because people exist that have not had it, let’s do that. Their tostada starts with a warm bed of black beans. They use a specific type of rice, which I am unsure of. There is plenty of fresh green leaf lettuce, scallions, cucumbers, salsa, cheese, and red peppers. A dab of sour cream goes on top and optionally you can add the Guacamole, which I always do. It is accompanied with a small tub of Cilantro Lime dressing that is out of this world.

No Problemo offers it in two sizes, small and regular. The “regular” is a bowl that is bigger than your head. Not as big as your head. Bigger. For $7.50 you eat not only one of the best dishes on earth, but one of the healthiest, and you won’t need to eat for another 8 hours. What’s the problemo with that?!

9. Shawarma
I’m probably going to make some enemies with this entry. I know there are some die hard Middle Eastern cuisine fans here. Providence is a mecca, pardon the pun, for some great kebab, falafel, shawarma, etc. If I pick a best place to go in Rhode Island someone will sucker punch me for not choosing their favorite. I’m going to keep it closer to home. Hidden away in a plaza on Route 6/State Road in Dartmouth is the Middle East Hot Pocket. It’s been there or a number of years and still feels like a best kept secret. They make a Chicken Shawarma plate or wrap that is life changing. While chicken is not the traditional way Shawarma is served, the seasonings and sauce are. Typically shawarma is a variety of meats, chicken, beef, lamb, or other meats stacked atop one another and placed on a skewer or spit. It then rotates on a grill that slowly cooks the seasoned meat to perfection. It is then sliced off into a pita or solo and served with sides.

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Chicken Shawarma Plate with sides!

The way it is done at the Middle East Hot Pocket is small chunks of chicken are grilled on high heat so there is a slight char on the outside that seals the juices inside. The chicken is marinated in yogurt, paprika, vinegar, salt, pepper, cardamom, allspice, garlic, pinch of ginger, nutmeg, and a bit of lemon juice. When it’s perfectly cooked, it is drizzled with the iconic tahini (Sesame) sauce. You can get the plate with two sides and I always get the tabbouleh and chick pea salad. I can’t imagine life without Shawarma and while I may order other sides, I can not NOT have the Shawarma when I go. Makes you happy, happy.

10. Yum Nuer
Say that three times fast. No, really give it a try. Devouring a plate of Yum Nuer is a lot easier than saying it! Yum Nuer, simply put is a Thai beef salad. It’s a cold salad of perfectly cooked sirloin steak, laid on a bed of lettuce, covered with a variety of vegetables which are usually cucumbers, onions, scallions, shredded carrot, and sweet peppers. Here’s the kicker. The dressing is made up of lime juice, mint, palm sugar, garlic, fish sauce, lemongrass and hot peppers and poured over the top. Don’t be afraid of the spice. I’ve never been to a restaurant that wouldn’t lessen or intensify the heat. There is only one restaurant as far as I’m concerned that you need to go to to have it and they definitely modify it and that is Sivalai on Sconticut Neck Road in Fairhaven.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the top ten best dishes on earth and where to get them locally. Is there a destination you know of that makes these dishes and I didn’t mention them? Is there a place that makes it better? Please share. If you have never tried any of these dishes and try them for the first time, we’d love to here about your experience and what you think!

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