Between my husband, myself, and a few of my friends, we have done a lot of traveling throughout Asia. My husband’s strategy to find great food when we travel is to ask where each taxi driver goes for good food – this ensures it is authentic and not just catering to the tourists. And even though only 4.5% of Connecticut residents are Asian (as compared to 5.7% nationally), there are many excellent Asian restaurants. While there are so many good restaurants in the area, I apologize if I have left out your favorite, I wanted to share the ones that I really like in our area.
When it comes to Chinese food, Lao Sze Chuan in Milford or Ginkgo Sichuan and Shu in Fairfield are my favorites. All have great authentic dishes. At Lao Sze Chuan, they have excellent options if you are looking for non-Americanized Chinese that serves all the parts of a pig. I especially recommend Pork Ear Slice with Red Chili Sauce and the Stir Fried Bean Leaf with Garlic. At Ginkgo, we always order the Dan Dan Noodles and the Crispy Prawns, and for special occasions, the Peking Duck. Shu has so many good options, but Sizzling Tofu in black bean sauce for the vegetable lovers and the Fish File Dry Pot Delight is amazing. And don’t forget the Pork Belly appetizer.
There are a ton of good Indian options nearby, including Coromandel (Darien, Orange, Newtown, and Stamford), Taj (Fairfield), and Saffron (Norwalk). Coromandel’s Uppu Kari (Tamil spiced Lamb) and Goat Biriyani are so good after some Samosa appetizers. For Taj, definitely get a combination of Mangalorean Shrimp, Chicken Tikka Masala, Matar Paneer, and Tandoori Chicken. At Saffron, check out the Chat and Vegetable Pakoras as well as the Lamb Masala or Saag Goat.
If you are looking for delicious Japanese (approved by my Tokyo-born MIL), check out Shiki Hana in Fairfield or Kawa Ni and Oko in Westport. All serving great sushi across different price points. And if you want good, fresh BBQ, it is worth the drive to go to Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ (White Plains is almost Fairfield County, right?!) where you can get the experience of table-cooked marinated meats and vegetables. Don’t forget to order the fun Smores dessert you can roast yourself at the table.
If you are looking for Vietnamese, I recommend Pho Nha Trang (Fairfield) or Pho Saigon (Bridgeport). Neither of these restaurants is going to win any ambiance competitions. Still, when it comes to authentic, flavorful broths (either chicken or beef pho) and delicious marinated pork entrees, you can’t go wrong with either. We haven’t found anything disappointing on either menu.
And my kids are always asking for Thai food. We always end up ordering the same things wherever we go, Shrimp Summer Rolls, Fried Tofu and Chicken Satay for the kids, and Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, or Red Curry for us. Our favorites restaurants are Whoopi Thai (Fairfield), Little Buddha (Stamford), and Thai Shelton (in Shelton, of course). And while we aren’t as adventurous in our ordering, we leave happy every time at each of these restaurants.
It was really exciting when the Korean chain Bonchon Chicken opened in Fairfield since my hubby and I enjoyed them on occasion back in NYC. Their chicken is great (and when our kids aren’t in a mood for delicious fried chicken, they order Korean Tacos or Sliders or Pork Belly Bao for a change of pace). We also love their Takoyaki (fried octopus dumplings), Bi Bim Bap, and even their Sesame Ginger Salad. And when we are looking to sate our Korean BBQ craving, we leave Fairfield county and go to either Da.Wa. in West Haven, or if we are ready for a drive (to get the real deal), we head to Flushing, where we love Mapo Korean BBQ and San Su Kap San. To us, these two choices beat out other Korean restaurants in the area because they cook over a charcoal fire, which sets them apart. And if you are looking for other good food options in Flushing, we sometimes get Mongolian (Happy Lamb hot pot is delicious; no website, but lots of places show pictures and reviews).
Sometimes the only way to keep everyone happy is to go for some Asian Fusion. If we need Malaysian in the mix (that isn’t in Flushing), then you should check out Mama Chow (Fairfield) and Eat Noodle (Bridgeport). At Mama Chow, my kids always get the various Baos, while the grownups get the Tamarind Wings and the Laksa. When fighting a cold, we go to Eat Noodle and get the Ramen or Curry Crispy Chicken Noodle soups, which both stick to your ribs and heal from the inside out. If we need good cocktails with our meals, Mecha (Fairfield, Norwalk, New Haven, Stamford, and West Hartford) is our go-to. My kids again always order the Bao, and in addition to the delicious soups, we love the Herbed Edamame and the Lemongrass Spareribs. Misimi (Shelton) is great for birthday or New Years’ celebrations because what is more fun than delicious teppanyaki (so much wonderful food we always bring home leftovers). And if we are over in Wilton, Reiki is our go-to – they have great sushi, plus delicious offerings from across Asia, including Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Malaysian.
Sometimes there is only one CT option for a type of Asian-Pacific food, but we are lucky to have good ones. There is one and only Filipino restaurant nearby, but it is delicious. Zul Café and Grill (Norwalk) has great Sisig and delicious BBQ chicken. And Every Thursday they offer new special dishes – whatever it is, order it. And when it comes to Hawaiian, definitely check out Pokemoto (many locations including Fairfield, Stamford, and Norwalk) – they have a lot of suggested options. Still, you can also order a la carte which lets you get your favorite protein, sauce, and veggies. And if you have never had Tibetan food before (it is like a cross-over between Indian and Chinese), drive up to Middletown and go to Tibetan Kitchen. They have many vegan options, and they even make a few different types of their own noodles for their soups. I love to order Tsel-momo, Phing-sha, and Thenthuk Soup.