Boulder’s a gorgeous collection of people from cities and countries big and small, and thankfully, they’ve brought the best of their native food with them. If you have a craving, I’ve got a list of must-try ethnic food restaurants in Boulder — whether you’re here to stay or just passing through.
- Ras Kassa’s. With a creekside patio, glasses of mead and huge platters of authentic Ethiopian food to share, Ras Kassa’s is an excellent place to take someone who doesn’t think good food can be found outside of downtown Boulder. You are encouraged to eat with your fingers but forks are available. Yes, this restaurant is located in a strip mall. And yes, it is worth the trip.
- Tiffin’s. Tucked into a corner of a strip mall near campus, this restaurant would be easy to overlook if it were not for it’s spicy South Indian cuisine and no-frills decor. It’s obvious that the owners are more concerned with the food’s authenticity than the aesthetics of the restaurant’s interior. Be warned. The food at Tiffin’s is not for the mild of palate. In other words, it’s hot. Along with the curries and tandoori kabobs, there are also many vegan options as well.
- China Gourmet. This restaurant is a NoBo classic. Fresh ingredients, generous portions and delicious specials make it a place where you don’t mind standing in line to order. China Gourmet easily satisfies the Chinese food craving that every hardcore East Coaster experiences. Just remember to bring your checkbook or cash. This is another local Boulder treasure that doesn’t accept credit cards.
- Nepal Cuisine. With the rich history of climbers living in Boulder, it seems only natural to have a few sherpas here as well and they are the ones that brought the Nepalese food to town. There are a few Nepalese restaurants to choose from, but Nepal Cuisine is my favorite because of their awesome buffet and hidden SoBo locale. Sometimes when a restaurant is harder to find, the food is just more delicious.
- Pupusas. Another shining example of the alternative food scene happening in North Boulder, Pupusas is a tasty secret hidden in yet another strip mall. They serve traditional Salvadorian cuisine with the flagship dish being the namesake of the restaurant, the pupusa. Think Central American hot pocket. And don’t forget to order a few house margs to help wash those down.
These are some of my go-to places, the restaurants I enjoy because they’re not full of people but rather full of character and authentic food. Notice that none of them are located in downtown Boulder and none are “trendy”.
Sometimes you need to explore the boundaries in order to find something new and different. Happy eating!