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Nanay’s Kitchen and Asian Food in the Twin Ports

I had a small window Saturday between the end of my workday and the end of the serving of food at Nanay’s Kitchen.

Once or twice a month, Beth will prepare a standard meal, and for about ten dollars, you eat a variety of Phillippine foods. This month, the menu was:

  • Pork Adobo (the real reason I go; this pork belly entree is amazing)
  • Chicken Caldereta with Coconut milk and Peanut Butter
  • Pancit (noodles)
  • Lumpia (Beth’s famous egg rolls)
  • Jasmine (rice)


The food was wonderful; Beth, the owner, is full of life and joy and pride in the growth of the business. Gnesen Market now also sells liquor.

One of the joys of an event like this is the bustle — there were more than a dozen customers who came though in the 40 minutes I was there eating.

The joy of new food brings up discussions of food memories. Those memories connect people across communities; one of my companions remembered eating “chocolate meat” as a child. It’s not that different from czarnina of my childhood, except that czarnina includes ingredients that prevent clotting that gives chocolate meat its texture, I think.

A friend and I used to go through the Reader about twice a year, looking to update the Asian restaurant section. In my head, I’m trying to update all the cool places to access Asian food in the Twin Ports. Here are some of my faves. Maybe you can help?

Indian:

There’s just the one place, right? India Palace?

Sushi:

There’s the best atmosphere and lunch deals at Hanabi, even if parking is stressful. Any advice there? There is Zen House in two locations. There is sushi at Osaka and at Cloud Nine, alongside the hibachi. There is sushi to go at Mount Royal and at Cub. I want to try Wasabi in Superior. Any thoughts on that?

Thai:

Sala, of course; there are tasty Thai dishes at Oriental House. What am I missing? Pak’s Green Corner is reopening, kind of, right?

Vietnamese, including Pho:

Every Vietnamese restaurant in town also serves American-style Chinese food. But I love the egg saute at Taste of Saigon. Oriental House has great Pho, as does Pho Cali.

Chinese and American-Style Chinese:

I’m a heathen. I love Chinese buffets. Outside the buffets, though, Beijing and Zhong Hua have my heart.

Buffets, Generally:

We have three buffets serving the downtown lunch crowd: at India Palace, at Oriental House and at Sala. For an all-day buffet, there is China King. But the best buffet in the region is in Grand Rapids.

This is a very partial list, and to be honest, I’m wondering, too, what special awesome, like Nanay’s Kitchen, I might be missing. Can you help?

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