Hi, I’m Erin! By day, I work in data and analytics, but by breakfast, lunch and dinner I run @eatbatonrouge on Instagram. I use it to showcase the delicious food our city has to offer in hopes of inspiring people to go out, go local and try something new!
You’ve mastered your sushi order, and you’ve tried all the pho in town. Now what? Here are 6 popular Asian dishes to try in Baton Rouge. Each has an element that is familiar enough that these dishes aren’t too intimidating, while still having unique flavors you won’t find in other cuisines.
#6 Dang’s Restaurant – Banh Mi
Banh mi are Vietnamese baguette sandwiches typically filled with meat or tofu, pickled vegetables, and pâté or a mayo-based sauce. It’s essentially a tangy, sweet and savory po-boy.
In Louisiana, you can find them on the crispy, chewy po-boy bread you already love. I recommend the pork or tofu banh mi at Dang’s to start. Then, try the roasted duck banh mi. Adding a fried egg to one is never a bad idea, and always ask for peanut dipping sauce. At around $5 each, it will quickly become your new go-to sandwich.
If you’re not afraid of spice, (if you are, bless your heart) you must try pad thai, a popular Thai street food of rice noodles in a light, spicy sauce.
Entering the mysterious green unmarked door into Rama is a rite of passage in Baton Rouge and your only way to join what can feel like an exclusive fan club. The classic version is a must, but if you’ve never had tofu, try it in pad thai. It soaks up all of the delicious, spicy sauce so well. Add an order of panang shrimp and you’ll be a Rama fan for life.
#4 Bay Leaf – Indian Curry
Curry packs a strong aroma, but don’t let it stop you. It also packs a unique kind of spicy. Curry sauce is made by blending vegetables, spices, chilies and curry leaves and is often simmered with coconut milk or yogurt. It’s served with rice, but I recommend ordering grilled naan bread to soak up the extra curry. It’s the most delicious way to eat your veggies and your carbs. If you like a good sauce piquant, you’ll like curry. Bay Leaf’s veggie korma, lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka masala are great starting points, or try it all at their lunch buffet.
#3 The Overpass Merchant – Bao
Bao, commonly called steam buns, are just that — Chinese sandwiches served on open-faced steamed bread. They are typically filled with pork belly, but chefs are getting really creative with these little sandwiches across the city.
The Overpass Merchant offers two very tasty options – the standard pork belly and smoked pork with bulgogi sauce and Thai chili relish. The fillings are scrumptious and pair perfectly with the fluffy bread. What is this local bar food bar doing serving such good bao? Don’t know, don’t care. Keep ‘em coming.
#2 Ava Street Cafe – Vermicelli
Vermicelli noodle bowls are one of the most common dishes you can find at Vietnamese restaurants, which thankfully, we have several great options for in Baton Rouge. Rice noodles and fresh veggies are topped with grilled proteins and served with a fried spring roll, peanuts and a chili garlic sauce. The marinade on the pork in Ava Street’s “The Works” vermicelli will keep you coming back, because the sauce is so delicious and complex that I’m certain it can’t be replicated.
#1 Umami – Ramen
Ramen is Japan’s most coveted noodle dish. Perfectly slurpable noodles come soaking in an intense and satisfying broth. Then, it gets layered with a variety of grilled meats and vegetables and topped with a yolky egg, making it the most can’t-stop-won’t-stop food around.
Umami’s ramen is called “The Hangover” but I think it can cure more than just that. It uses a rich miso broth contains fresh noodles, marinated pork, shiitake mushrooms, and a soft boiled egg. It’s good ‘till the last slurp.