12 exotic cuisines to try in Birmingham

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Birmingham has cuisine from six continents and it’s not all pizza and steak. Here are 12 restaurants you probably didn’t know about!

Korean | Topokki

Topokki

Taking its name from a popular Korean dish, find Topokki in the city’s Gay Village. The minimalist interior with high ceilings and industrial lighting is as stylish as the food. Try the restaurant’s namesake, a bed of spicy paste for crisp fishcakes or their signature sweet potato noodles. As kimchi pops up in eateries around the country Topokki offers the real deal, traditional korean pickled cabbage served alongside fried rice, pancakes or bibimbap salad.

Ethiopian | Blue Nile

Taste hot lentil sauces with sourdough flatbreads at this East African specialist restaurant. Find Blue Nile in the Jewellery Quarter serving humble Ethiopian and Eritrean fare. Bright walls covered in authentic artwork set the tone. Top picks on the menu include fried tilapia and kitfo, a minced beef recipe served with herb infused butter and Ethiopian chillies. Vegetarians can swap out meat for cottage cheese in many dishes.

Lebanese | Al Bader

Al Bader

Barely five minutes outside the city centre in Sparkhill is Al Bader. This gem offers a true taste of the Middle East specialising in Lebanese and Moroccan small plates,. Step into the chic bedouin-style restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. From pastries brimming with cheeses, herbs and lamb to traditional fattoush salad and charcoal-grilled kaftas, the tasty choices are the perfect way to expand your horizons.

Polish | The Karczma

The Karczma

Serving Polish and Eastern European cuisine with an ultra-modern twist, The Karczma is tucked away in Digbeth. On entering the wood and wool decor means you could be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into a mountain lodge. Claim a cosy booth then dive in. Some of the most exciting dishes include duck filet in red wine with cranberries and apples flambéed in Żubrówka (herb flavoured vodka). We also recommend trying some of the vast array of dumplings stuffed with meats and cheese, or the potato pancakes. It’s so hard to choose from the extensive menu, you’ll be sure to make repeat trips.

Nepalese | Jojolapa

Jojolapa

A short walk from Snow Hill, Jojolapa is nestled among some of the city’s best restaurants. Try the Nariwal Jal Turay, shallow fried cod cooked in coconut milk and garnished with cream, or the Mughlai Kofta, spiced veggie balls. For those who want to take a taste of the Himalayas home with them, the restaurant also offers cookery classes.

West African | Klassic Grill

Klassic Grill

For an authentic taste of Africa’s west coast, look no further than Klassic Grill in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. They are committed to serving only the best, using authentic ingredients in their classic dishes. The chicken and fried plantain mixes sweet and savoury unlike any other. Pair meals with jollof rice to create a Nigerian staple with a hint of spice.

Filipino | Manila Munchies

Filipino street food vendor Manila Munchies is always on the move. Find them at food festivals across the Midlands and beyond. Try lumpiang, the Philippines’ twist on spring rolls and dipping sauce, or tangy chicken asado stew. Then go back for a dessert of buko pandan, shredded coconut with cream, condensed milk and cubes of pandan-flavoured jelly.

Cajun and Creole | Soul Food Project

Soul Food Project / Jack Adams Photography

Doing New Orleans proud is the Soul Food Project, based at The Church in the Jewellery Quarter. There’s nothing you can get at Mardi Gras that you can’t find here. Try everything from blackened fish to jambalaya to gumbo and wait for the explosion of taste. Modern takes on dishes include a celeriac remoulade, and vegan grits made with almond milk and served alongside herbs and summer greens.

Singaporean and Malaysian | Blue Ocean

Blue Ocean

In Acocks Green, Blue Ocean specialises in a mix of Southeast Asian cuisines. To start, why not experience a Malaysian curry-filled deep fried pastry filled or a Singaporean fried rice cake topped with radishes and sweet chilli sauce? Mouth-watering mains on offer include hokkien mee: prawn, squid, chicken and egg covered in sambal sauce.

Caribbean | Carib Grill

Carib Grill

This one’s a bit of a cheat. You probably did know about Caribbean restaurants in Birmingham as their popularity has exploded over the past few years. The Carib Grill in Moseley has been around since before the boom. Service with a smile is guaranteed at the vibrant eatery which offers Caribbean delights from classic jerk chicken to curry goat and escovitch. Seasoned diners can push the boat out with more adventurous dishes like oxtail and butterbean stew.

Sri Lankan | Dosa Village

Who knew that devilling everything from crab to cheese is the order of the day in Sri Lankan cuisine? Sample this and more at Dosa Village in Shirley. The menu packs in punchy flavours with mutton gravy in thick crepes and tamarind-infused soups. It can’t fail to hit the spot. Introduce your family and friends to this amazing style of cooking as they also do catering for special events.

Afghan | Ashiana

Ashiana

For an authentic feel and chefs specialising in Afghan and Persian food, order in or eat out at Ashiana in Moseley. Featuring boiled lamb shank and ashak, a kind of ravioli encasing leek and chickpeas with a yoghurt and mint sauce – the menu showcases familiar ingredients in exciting ways.

Check out our post on foodie hotspots for more great ideas on where to eat. Find out more about the city’s restaurant scene at Visit Birmingham.

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