This week the King and I decided to go global. Well, we went to a restaurant that served authentic cuisines from three different countries: Nepal, Syria, and Sudan. How often does that happen? I know I always talk about being brief, but I believe I’ll knock it out of the park this week because my taste buds didn’t know what the heck was going on (I can’t lie, I cussed in my head), and some the flavors didn’t really translate into words in my brain. That being said, in this review, I might not be able to nail down exactly what I tasted, but I’ll try to relate the dishes to something you may have tried.
Here’s the lineup…
- Sudanese: Ground beef Sambusa and Chicken Shawarma
- Nepalese: Pork Mo Mo Dumpling
- Syrian: Yalangi (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves) and Beef Kabob with Rice
Sudan: King(4/5) Me (4/5)
I know I’m a little weird, but when I hear of foreign places on TV, the first thing I wonder is if I could find things I like to eat there in case I was stranded. I know, who thinks like that, right? Me. The more I write to you guys, the more I realize that a lot of my thoughts center around food. Maybe I’ve found my calling. Anyway, after this week’s adventure, I learned that I could definitely make it in Sudan
Sambusa: King(4/5) Me (3.5/5)
The Sambusa tasted like
The Sambusa was served with a sauce that was so spicy that I couldn’t even taste anything else for a minute or two, so I can’t really tell you what that tasted like. But if you like spicy, this might be your thing.
CHICKEN SHAWARMA: King(4/5) Me (4/5)
Y’all saw those caps. You know what all caps mean: it was GOOOD. I’ve seen this dish made on a couple of cooking competition shows I’ve watched, and it seems that the magic is in the marinade. Ms. Ibti got it right. I don’t know exactly what’s in it but I seemed to taste paprika, nutmeg, some kind of plain yogurt, maybe curry. I don’t know. I keep trying to think of something to compare it to, but I keep coming up short. It’s served on pita bread with green olives and carrots that have been cooked with the meat. Green olives are not my favorite, but this dish had me seeking them out so that I could eat them along with my meat (we were tasting the meat first before we tasted the meat paired with the bread). Maybe it tasted like Chicken Parmesan without the cheese and bread crumbs. It was just good. That’s all I got to say about that except that I would actually drive back to get this or try more of what Ms. Ibti is cooking.
Syrian: King(2.5/5) Me 3/5
Yalangi: King(2/5) Me (3/5)
I’ve always wanted to try them. I think I imagined them tasting like stuffed cabbage rolls, but they don’t. They aren’t bad at all. They taste like moist Spanish rice or moist dirty rice (without the meat) wrapped in a light citrus flavored leaf. The only reason this wasn’t my favorite is I don’t like Spanish rice. I don’t think I care for tomato in my rice. The grape leaf was extremely tender, which I did like. They were served with what seemed to be
Beef Kabob with Rice: King(3/5) Me (3/5)
Throw away the whole idea of what you think of a kabob. There are no skewers involved, but the components are all present. The beef has good flavor. It reminds me of the chopped beef from Piccadilly without the gravy. I actually didn’t taste the roasted peppers, but the King seemed to enjoy them. Paired with the fluffy rice on the side, I’d say this was a pretty good dish.
Nepalese: King(3/5) Me (2.5/5)
Pork Mo Mo Dumpling: King(3/5) Me (2.5/5)
If you’ve ever had a Chinese dumpling, then this won’t surprise your palate. Please note that Nepal is NOT in China. I’m just saying that the flavor is similar. If you haven’t you should try one…unless you’re a texture person. The contents of the dumpling taste, and feel, similar to moist, yet firm, sausage balls. The casing feels like a slippery noodle. Texture people might not care for the large “wet noodle” feeling that steamed dumplings sometimes have. The reason these dumplings got a 2.5 is due to the fact that the tops of them were very tough and chewy. We suspected it was because of the time of day we visited. Although they were covered, they had probably been sitting there for a while. There was also too much of what tasted like cilantro for my taste buds to handle. I LOVE the way cilantro smells, but in my opinion, it has an aggressive flavor that is easily overdone.
Overall: King(3.5) Me (3/5)
The overall vibe of the Global Cafe is pretty chill. Located in the HUMUNGOUS Sears Concourse building in Midtown Memphis, it has that hipster, industrial-chic thing going on. The cuisines are separated into stations, each chef/country having her own space. You can see into the prep area which is pretty cool because it allows you to check out the kitchen hygiene of the chefs along with the cleanliness of the kitchen. Thankfully, I found no major issues with what I could see.
The chefs and staff were pretty friendly, though,
The prices were VERY reasonable and the serving sizes were filling, so they score high marks on value. It was a cool experience. I loved being able to try food from three countries in one sitting. Though they came from very different places, there were some flavors that seemed to translate from dish to dish.
This was definitely an interesting stop on our journey. On to the next one…
Have you tried the Global Cafe? If so, what was your favorite dish? If not, what is your favorite ethnic cuisine/restaurant? Let us know in the comments.