Authentic Asian restaurants around the Twins Cities

With the explosion of Asian restaurants in the Twin Cities in the past year, the question is how to find authentic Asian places. More importantly, what exactly is authentic Asian food in America? The Knight Errant narrows the exhaustive list of restaurants to six that incorporate traditional cooking methods and customs while adding local twists for Asian cuisine that’s both authentic and approachable.

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photo courtesy of Raku Japanese Restaurant

Raku offers a modern take on Japanese cuisine.

Raku
3939 W. 50th Street Edina

With authentic Japanese cuisine, the family-run Raku restaurant provides guests with a distinctly modern Japanese flavor. Their traditional yet interesting menu ranges from basic vegetable sushi to yellowtail entrées. The establishment also offers create-your-own sushi options. Their authenticity and quality is displayed with menu items that each have a modern twist, as well as in their maintenance of Japanese traditions such as a hot towel to clean hands before eating. With a hip and modern atmosphere, Raku explores an innovative style in food and atmosphere while maintaining Japanese traditional tastes. (anna mccloskey)

 

Little Schezuan
5377 W. 16th Street St. Louis Park

Little Szechuan, a popular upscale Chinese restaurant, features the traditional flavors of Szechuan cooking: sweet, salty, garlic and lots of spice from chilies. Offering everything from traditional Chinese dishes like jellyfish in scallion sauce, Szechuan cold bean jelly, or quick-fried lotus root, to more commonly-seen dishes like pork shreds with bamboo tips or eggplant in garlic sauce, Little Szechuan has something for everyone. Customers who are looking for a safer alternative can try the quick fried cucumbers which are slightly spicy but crunchy and refreshing, and the colorful sautéed shrimp with mashed garlic is spicy and sweet. Friendly waiters and delicious traditional Szechuan food make this restaurant popular amongst Chinese people and non-natives. (kate whitney)

 

Naviya’s Thai Brasserie
2812 W. 43rd Street Minneapolis

Naviya’s Thai Brasserie, nestled in the heart of Linden Hills, delights all of its customers with its authenticity and quality of food. Everything on the menu is completely organic and locally grown. The cozy restaurant fills up quickly and never fails to disappoint—the simplicity and pops of bright color make it a pleasurable dining experience. Naviya serves authentic Thai dishes with fresh ingredients such as their popular spring rolls, which consist of carrots, lettuce, grilled chicken and raw shrimp wrapped in fresh rice skin. The wide range of menu options such as spicy soups or sweet and sour chicken keep customers returning regularly. (sofia madden)

 

Raku's Sushi Lounge in St. Louis Park provides a sleek and sophisticated interior.
Raku’s Sushi Lounge in St. Louis Park provides a sleek and sophisticated interior. (photo courtesy of Raku Japanese Restaurant)

Roat Osha
2650 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis

Roat Osha, located in Uptown, contains a wide range of authentic Thai food. Dishes of an exceptional variety are well prepared with traditional Thai spices and seasonings. Popular entrées such as pad thai and curry are full of fresh vegetables and herbs, including sweet potatoes, broccoli, and basil. When mangoes are in season, the mango sticky rice, made with coconut milk-infused rice and freshly cut mangoes, is a superb dish to try. The fresh ingredients, friendly staff, and atmosphere contribute to the authentic experience. With Buddhas on every wall along with beautiful paintings, the setting feels as though the restaurant is truly in Thailand. (sophie ronning)

 

Tea House
88 Nathan Lane Plymouth

With three locations in the Twin Cities, the Tea House is a great option for a quick Chinese meal. The Tea House has an array of authentic options from their popular Szechuan menu to their impressive brunch buffets served daily. The Tea House also has the more standard Americanized options, such as sesame or sweet and sour chicken, tea-smoked duck, and mu shu pork. The adventurous can dare to try the spicy pork belly, pork ear in spicy Szechuan sauce, or the restaurant’s signature juicy buns. In fact, diners might be overwhelmed by the dual menus, six-plus pages of authentic Szechuan choices and knowledgeable staff. The popularity of the restaurant can be seen by the amount of awards the Tea House has won, including Best Chinese Restaurant in 2011 by the CityPages. (jacqueline bieter)

 

Quang
2719 Nicollet Ave Minneapolis

The Vietnamese restaurant Quang has made a name for itself in the quickly growing world of authentic Asian eateries using its secret weapon: the pho. Pho (pronounced phuh) is their most famous and popular dish and consists of broth, noodles, and the customer’s choice of meatballs, pork, or chicken, served with sprouts, lime, and Thai basil. The only utensils on the tables are soup spoons and chopsticks; slurping pho is fully acceptable in this setting. Also famous for their spring rolls and bubble tea, a specialty drink with gel-like beads mixed in, Quang brings the flavors of Vietnam to Minneapolis. (jenny krane)