Feel like a trip around the world in 80 feet? Check out the West Side Bazaar. That might be a slight exaggeration but if you’re looking to broaden your culinary horizons a little they have a lot to offer, like six culturally diverse cuisines under one roof. I love the possibilities that this setup brings to diners. What are you in the mood for? You’ve got options my friends.
The West Side Bazaar consists of 6 different cuisines, each with their own ordering window/booth:
- Kyen Sein Hein – Burmese cuisine
- Abyssinian Ethiopian Cuisine – Ethiopian cuisine
- Cherry Thai – Thai cuisine
- Pure Peru – Peruvian cuisine
- A&A cookies – cookies and canoli, traditionally made fresh brewed coffee and coffee beans, bubble tea and smoothies, soft drinks and assorted snacks
- Rakhapura Mutee & Sushi – fresh, hand rolled sushi, made from the freshest ingredients, as well as Mutee – a healthy, organic soup with the flavors of fish, garlic, and pepper, an authentic Taste of Arakan!
They all take cash and credit card.
First Step: Coosing a cuisine, you pay separately at each business. We chose Burmese and Peruvian. (We visited Gatur’s Ethiopian in Allentown not too long ago so we went for two we had never tried before.)
Next step: Walk up to the cuisine of your choice and pick something from the menu on display at the counters. At least, this is what we did. I’m pretty sure you are supposed to order up at the windows instead of sit down. I could be wrong of course.
At the Burmese window, with little knowledge and no idea what to expect, I ordered Chicken Coconut Noodle Soup – soup with chicken, egg noodles, eggs and coconut ($5) and Fried Noodle with Vegetables or Meat –noodles with green bell peppers, red bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, broccoli crowns, green onion, red onion and cauliflower and pork for me ($5.99). I generally figure price to be correlated with portion size, and order based on that. Here, you should expect a lot of bang for your buck. The bowl of soup was really big and rich. It wasn’t my favorite dish – lacking a bit in flavor. You could taste the coconut, but there was a buttery layer that took over. The Fried Noodle with Pork was excellent. There was a lot of it, and not too oily. It came out on a tray with unexpected soup and salad – bonus! The soup was simple, consisting of broth and green onions. The salad was small cucumber pieces with some kind of hot (and I mean HOT) sauce and topped with a lot of cilantro. I loved it. I only wished I could handle more heat, but it was mighty tasty and fresh. All of my food was brought out to the table about 5 minutes after I placed the order.
My companion went with Peru and ordered Seco de Carne – beef with potatoes, peas, red pepper, carrots in cilantro sauce ($7). The beef and potatoes came doused in the oil based Peruvian lime/cilantro (?) sauce which was amazing. We spent the whole time trying to figure out how we could recreate it at home. The flavor was bold and the meat and potatoes went well with the citrus base. Fried rice was served as a side, also unexpected and pretty good. Again, a decent portion for $7.
I really enjoy the fact that they bring you a meal when you order a dish. Of course we only ordered food for two from two of the booths, but I get the feeling that it’s more common than not to receive the sides. It makes for a warm, filling meal. Perfect for these snowy Buffalo days. And in the summer that cilantro topped salad will be calling my name. Stop in to try some flavorful cuisines and a peek into different cultures. If you love food and love trying new things, you’ll want to experience the West Side Bazaar. The shops on the other side of the space have some cool stuff as well! I think WNY could really use more of this type of eatery. Who agrees?
West Side Bazaar Details:
25 Grant St, Buffalo, NY