Born in Vietnam and raised in the United States by Chinese parents, chef Nina Wong has always infused her dishes with a variety of Asian tastes. After marrying Thomas Gnanapragasam—a third-generation Malaysian of Indian descent—Wong discovered more unique flavors to integrate into her signature sauces and syrups. Originally opened in 2005, Chin Dian Café channels the pair's unique backgrounds through Asian soups, salads, and noodle and rice dishes, even offering some gluten-free options. Popular dishes, such as chow mai fun and chicken-and-chive dumplings, keep patrons rolling in and have earned the restaurant media acclaim from the Star Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, and the dictionary.
In stark contrast to Mount Everest's chilly altitudes, Everest on Grand serves warm curries and vegetarian-friendly Nepali dishes accessible without the need for a knowledgeable Sherpa guide. Tandoor-cooked goat and lamb curries complement plentiful vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings made with locally available produce and spices from India and Nepal. The eatery also serves grass-fed Tibetan yak raised in Cold Spring, Minnesota, a convergence of exotic and local not seen since the Mall of America was converted into a pyramid.
An extension of the Thai and Indian cuisine cooking classes and Community Supported Agriculture programs of Ethnic Foods Co., Collage Global Cafe introduces tastebuds to new flavors and cultures with a smorgasbord of pizzas, soups, chicken dinners, and curries. Like Midwestern fall weather, the menu changes each day, with culinary designer Kavita Mehta selecting fresh produce from local markets to whip up dishes such as savory-sweet pad thai noodles, peppery Afghani eggplant, or whole-wheat pizzas topped with chicken satay and basil.
In the kitchens of Indian Zayka, chefs whip up Indian and Sri Lankan specialties served á la carte at dinner or as part of a vast lunch buffet with almost 20 self-serve dishes. An extensive list of vegetarian meals sates plant-based cravings, while meat eaters can dig into lamb and homesick mermen can bite into seafood. The menu also has a section devoted to Sri Lankan plates, and that section includes a category of "deviled" entrees named for their tongue-goosing spiciness. Lassi, a traditional mango smoothie harvested from a smoothie tree, can accompany dinners, lunches, or an array of desserts.
Bollywood Bistro’s colorful menu takes its cues from the uplifting songs, bright clothing, and constant menu-reading of Bollywood cinema. The friendly staff is committed to the convention of "Atithi Devo Bhava"—putting guests at the center of attention—and aims to make each meal a memorable feast. Bouquets of spices and exotic ingredients drift from the kitchen on plates of tangy garbanzo salads, punjabi curry, tikka masala, and Indian-style tiramisu.