Travel For Two
Savor a World of Flavors in Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Enjoy a world of flavors without leaving the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region! Here’s an itinerary for a weekend filled with tasty internationally-inspired eats to satisfy every appetite.
Kick off your culinary getaway with breakfast at Mi-Sant in Roseville, a Vietnamese bakery that specializes in banh mi and croissants. A banh mi is a sandwich that combines French specialties like the baguette, pate, and mayonnaise with Vietnamese ingredients including pickled vegetables and cilantro, and at Mi-Sant they bake the baguettes daily. If you prefer a sweet breakfast, try one of the specialty croissants—the menu includes unique croissant flavors like apple, coconut, nutella, and strawberry cream cheese.
Next, explore the Hmong Village Shopping Center in Saint Paul. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro region is home to the largest Hmong population in the United States, and Hmong Village is an ideal place to sample Hmong cuisine. The sprawling shopping center has over a dozen different restaurants, serving both traditional staples and contemporary Hmong fusion dishes. Wondering where to start? Popular Hmong specialties include barbecue, green papaya salad, and nab vam (a coconut and tapioca dessert).
For dinner, check out Bay Leaf Indian Cuisine in Eagan, which is known for its impressive selection of both South and North Indian fare, ranging from dosas (a giant, crisp crepe made with a rice and lentil batter) to biryani rice dishes. It’s a great spot for vegetarians, with dozens of meatless appetizers and entrees, as well as meat lovers—you’ll find chicken, lamb, and goat on the menu, and all meats are halal.
If you’re in the mood for Japanese cuisine, another delicious dinner option is Iwa Sushi Japanese Grill & Bar in Inver Grove Heights. Try a few rolls from the sushi menu—there are vegetable and cooked fish rolls, as well as raw fish rolls—or opt for one of the sushi combos so that you can sample a variety of items. If you prefer a hot meal, order a hibachi meal and watch the chef grill meats, seafood, and vegetables before your eyes.
Sleep in and then enjoy a late breakfast or brunch at Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market. The indoor market is home to 45 businesses spanning over 20 cultures, including a coffee shop, sit-down Mexican restaurant, and craft brewery. There are also over a dozen food stalls serving everything from Venezuelan arepas and Moroccan tagines to Nepalese dumplings and Cambodian and Thai fusion dishes. If you’re visiting with a group, grab a table in the central seating area and have everyone order from a different spot so that you can create your own global feast.
Dedicate the afternoon to delving into the area’s rich Mexican culinary scene. Bloomington’s Taco Trail maps out a route with a range of spots from cafeteria-style restaurants serving traditional favorites to upscale, modern interpretations of Mexican cuisine. You can even find local tacos at the Mall of America—Bussin Birria Tacos specializes in crunchy, beef-stuffed birria tacos. For dessert, stop by La Michoacana Purepecha’s Mall of America location. The Mexican-style ice cream parlor offers housemade popsicles in over 50 fruit and cream-based flavors.
Nearby in Richfield, family-owned El Tejaban Mexican Grill is a local favorite for their menu of authentic Mexican and Chicano specialties and homemade salsas. Be sure to try one of the most popular items on the menu, the asada fries topped with queso blanco, asada steak, and pico de gallo.
Next, head further south to Shakopee and sample the street tacos at Bravis Modern Street Food. The traditional tacos are served on double corn tortillas with cilantro and onion, and in addition to meat fillings like al pastor, carnitas, chorizo, and shrimp, there are vegetarian tacos filled with grilled cactus.
Wrap up your weekend of international eats with a special occasion-worthy dinner. Lat14 Asian Eatery in Golden Valley offers critically acclaimed Asian fine dining by Chef Ann Ahmed. The restaurant is inspired by the cuisines of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, and their neighboring countries, with elegantly plated dishes including Thai basil wings, bacon pineapple fried rice, and braised duck ramen. There’s also a craft cocktail menu that incorporates Asian spirits and flavors.
Chef Ann Ahmed also operates Lemon Grass Thai & Sushi in Brooklyn Park, an upscale Thai and sushi restaurant. Try one of the house specialties, like the red coconut curry with roasted duck, and order a tropical tiki cocktail to toast your delicious weekend of globe-trotting cuisine.