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Foodie Spotlight: Savor the International Marketplace

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Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.

Review by contributor Dustin Heller

Everyone knows the only reason to visit Disney World is to eat the international cuisine at Epcot Center, right? Well, save the thousands of dollars that you’d spend on that trip, and head to the Northwest side of Indianapolis where we have our very own mini-Epcot. Okay, that was a huge stretch, but the International Marketplace (38th and Lafayette surrounding area) is a thriving area on the international food scene and all you foodies out there need to take notice.

Savor the International Marketplace is a new two-week event that brings the world of food to your fingertips. Over twenty participating restaurants are offering special meal deals with a wide variety of ethnic options. This is Indy’s best global cuisine we’re talking about here. So, let’s all take the plunge and step out of our comfort zones and try something new and different.

Savor is giving you the opportunity to take a food adventure that spans the world over. Just get a load of some of the countries offering up their authentic fare… China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Cuba and Yemen (Isn’t that a Barbra Streisand movie?). Not only is the food on display, but the different cultures of these far off lands take center stage, from the décor of the restaurants to (more importantly) the people. If that’s not enough to get you excited, I’ve taken the time to comb through all of these menus, and I’ve come up with the top 5 dishes I’m most excited to try. Keep in mind, I’m feeling pretty adventurous…

*restaurant in parenthesis

5. Peanut Butter Sauce (Madina)…that’s the name of the dish, but the description says rice and mild African sauce with beef. I’m not sure where the Peanut Butter comes into play, but I can’t wait to find out.

4. Moi Moi (EKO African Restaurant)…this is a staple food in Nigeria and it happens to fall under the dessert section of the menu. Although, this isn’t your grandma’s pudding. It is bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed peas, onions and fresh ground peppers. Sign me up!

3. Awaze Tibs ‘spicy’ (Abysinnia Ethiopian Restaurant)… Special cubes of selected lean lamb meat sautéed with onion, spicy green peppers and spicy Awaze (specially prepared red pepper). I love lamb and I love heat, this is a match made in heaven.

2. Goat Beets (Chapati)…just as the name suggests, shredded root-beets cooked with dry masala then mixed with chunks of goat meat on the bone after deep marination. I’ve come to appreciate beets as an adult and pairing them with goat meat just seems to make sense to me.

1. A La Diabla/Devil Style (El Puerto de San Blas)…shrimp or fish filets sautéed in special spicy Diablo sauce. They had me at Devil. I knew I needed to be eating this the moment I laid eyes on it.

There you have it…and you might not care for my choices above (I’m guessing some won’t), but don’t worry, because there are many other exciting dishes and restaurants for you to Savor (get it?). In the end, we could all probably use a little more culture in our lives and at the same time support some very nice people in the community. Savor the moment and go check out the event that celebrates international cuisine!

Tell Dustin your thoughts about Savor the International Marketplace. You can follow him on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.

Check out more restaurants featured in our Foodie Spotlight section.