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Issue Date: February 2011


On the Go! - Asian

« Kuy Teav Chha Kreoung Tek Trey Phoem ... $10.35

The name of this Cambodian specialty is a mouthful, but it's a mesmerizing mix of coconut whip, a spice mixture known as kroeung, onions and basil, stirred with vermicelli noodles. Your protein of choice and chopped spring rolls are scattered across the top. Info To Go » "We use a lot of lemon grass and galangal and tamarind because they're really natural," says Phnom Penh chef and owner Mono Bun, who grew up in Cambodia, cooking to impress his grandfather. The menu comprises more than 115 numbered dishes, including five kinds of rolls and four Cambodian stews, such as sour and lemon.

Pick Up » 1929 W. 25th St., ClevelandOhio, 216-357-2951

Seafood Samlaw Machu Kreoung ... $14.99

This Cambodian stew from Mekong River is a trifecta of flavors: potent lemon grass; sweet tomato and eggplant; and savory spicy basil, garlic and jalapeno. It's served with white rice, which is perfect for soaking up all the extra broth. Info To Go » The large menu, arranged from dish No. 1 to No. 94, is full of variety but somewhat overwhelming. It's best to decide what you're in the mood for before you browse selections, which include Thai and Cambodian fare with traditional pad thai, fried rice and curry as well as intriguing options such as Pla Ra Pik (a spicy fish entree). Don't call ahead, and it'll be a roughly 15 minute wait for dinner to go. Stay entertained with a corner TV that plays authentic dance and music shows from Cambodia.

Pick Up » 1918 Lee Road, Cleveland HeightsOhio, 216-371-9575

Keang Keaw Wan ... $7.50

Every bite of Thai Kitchen's green curry loaded with pork, bamboo shoots and veggies is packed with fresh Thai basil that delivers a mintlike coolness to a dish typically assumed to be spicy. Of course, you can always amp up the heat on a scale that runs from mild to Thai hot. Info to Go » In addition to curry, expect pad thai, ginger and garlic laden stir-fry and fried-rice dishes, many of which you won't find anywhere else in the city. "It really is authentic Thai cuisine as opposed to Thai modified for American taste," says owner John Sureemee, whose wife, Kwan, runs the kitchen. In the summer, be sure to call ahead. Thai Kitchen will close for one month (when is still to be determined) so Sureemee can visit family in Thailand.

Pick Up » 12210 Madison Ave., LakewoodOhio, 216-226-4450

Hunan Chicken ... $9.95

Hunan chicken is standard Chinese takeout, but at King Wah, the standards just seem to be higher. The stir-fried white-meat chicken is juicy, the large veggies (broccoli, green peppers and onion) maintain a fresh crispness, and the sauce transitions from sweet to spicy with more intensity than the one-note sauce you're used to. Info to Go » King Wah offers the egg roll, the General Tso and everything else you expect. But unlike the average Chinese joint, the owners keep things fresh by rotating in fusion dishes, such as Korean barbecue beef and Southeast Asian yellow curry. To celebrate the year of the rabbit, co-owner Randy Hom has been developing and testing some new dishes. Look for them on a special menu during the Chinese New Year, which begins Feb. 3.

Pick Up » 20668 Center Ridge Road, Rocky RiverOhio, 440-331-0330, kingwahrestaurant.biz
The Odd Couple from Pearl of the Orient

The Odd Couple ... $15.50

Pearl of the Orient - This hefty, 24-ounce mix of sweet scallops and savory beef tenderloin swimming in oyster sauce offers a tasty take on surf and turf. The dish can be ordered mild, medium, hot or extra hot, but as owner Rose Wong explains, "Sichuan fare is supposed to be spicy," so go for the high side of the scale for a more authentic taste. Info To Go » Sichuan by design, the majority of the offerings here represent the cuisine of the province with spicy stir-fries and a liberal use of garlic and ginger in dishes. A concentrated offering of Thai classics such as pad thai and red curry add to the variety. While you're there, pick up a bottle of Wong's signature sauces ($4.95) and recreate Pearl of the Orient's kung pao, Shanghai and mild Sichuan flavors at home.

Pick Up » Van Aken Center, 20121 Van Aken Blvd., Shaker HeightsOhio, 216-751-8181, pearl-east.com

Roll Combo ... $7.99

The words sushi and carryout seem an odd combination, but Mr. Teriyaki's simple slices of time-tested favorites rolled in rice — three pieces of four rolls: Alaskan, California, east and spicy tuna — stand up to the ride home. Info to Go » This no-frills restaurant is low on ambiance, but we loved that the whole family was behind the counter, whipping up our dinner in full view. Aside from sushi, Mr. Teriyaki's seven-page menu (two of those just for sushi) offers Asian staples such as sweet and sour pork and bean curd Sichuan style.

Pick Up » 8533 E. Washington St., Chagrin FallsOhio, 440-708-0777, msteriyaki.com

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