Originally posted for Biznow for Business
The general wisdom here is that an authentic Asian meal requires a trip to the suburbs. Au contraire! Here are six legit Asian eats that can be found within District lines.
Malaysia Kopitiam: Despite its bright red awning and clutch location near 19th and M NW, people often miss Malaysia Kopitiam as their attention is drawn to its more familiar neighbors: Chipotle, Boqueria… Camelot? (We’re not here to judge. After all, Bisnow’s HQ is right next door.) From roti canai to rendang, it offers all of your authentic Malaysian favorites in a slightly dim, slightly tacky setting that would fit right in with the best the ‘burbs have to offer.
Adam Express: Ambience, seating, and decor are not priorities at this Mt. Pleasant hole-in-the-wall. But fans of this Korean and sushi takeout joint could care less. After placing your order, take a seat at one of the few stools lining the small seating area and watch the owners—an old Korean couple who have become neighborhood sweethearts—prepare your meal. But not in today’s “superstar chef-tainment” way. The simple care that goes into the preparation of the authentic Korean dishes makes you feel like you’re a guest in the owners’ home, waiting for dinner to be served.
Nooshi’s Peking Duck: Yes, we know that the pan-Asian menu at Nooshi isn’t exactly what most people would consider “authentic.” But the second location of Nooshi, on Barracks Row, offers one extremely authentic specialty that is well worth a visit: the Peking duck. It’s served in the traditional style, with hoisin sauce, sliced scallions, and little white pancakes. The ducks are roasted in a custom-built, barrel-shaped oven modeled after ovens used in Beijing designed specifically for roasting ducks.
Pho in Columbia Heights: When you need your pho fix and there just isn’t time for a trip out to Eden Center, head up to Columbia Heights. Pho 14, just two blocks north of the metro, offers the usual selection of Vietnamese appetizers and entrees, including summer rolls and vermicelli bowls. Pho options include brisket, flank, and—for a truly authentic experience—tendon and tripe. You could also head a few blocks further north to Pho Viet, a basement-level restaurant with a very similar menu and, according to some, even tastier pho.
District Dosa: Among the cheesesteaks, sushi, and burgers on the menu at the Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom, you’ll find a surprising option: dosas (a savory Indian crepe stuffed with a variety of fillings). Priya Ammu and her District Dosa team make the dosas to order, offering lentil-based dosas from traditional South Indian family recipes passed down to her from her mother-in-law. Choose from three dosas, three fillings, and three chutneys. All options are vegan and wheat-free, and the fillings and chutneys change seasonally. In a few weeks, you’ll be able to wash your dosa down with a lassi, a traditional Indian yogurt-based drink.
Thai X-ing: With all the hype surrounding Little Serow, it’s easy to forget about DC’s original hole-in-the-wall, uber-authentic Thai experience. Thai X-ing (pronounced “crossing”) is tucked into a row house at 515 Florida Ave NW, where chef/owner Taw Vigsittaboot serves multi-course (usually eight or more), fixed-price, family-style chef’s choice menus that vary regularly. Expect anything from papaya salad to curried pumpkin to pad see ew. Seating is limited but reservations are accepted (and recommended).