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Old 10-14-2009, 08:51 PM
 
Location: McKinney, TX
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I have moved recently to Ashland from Chicago. There we enjoy tasting different ethnic foods (Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Cuban, Hungarian, German, French, Italian, Moroccan, Libanese, Malasian, Indonesian, etc., etc.). Here in Ashland and in Medford, all the Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Mexican foods that I have tried have the same bland taste, with nothing etnic left on them. I have been told that there is a very small market for real ethnic food in the area and restaurants need to survive. Is that true?

Last edited by tito; 10-14-2009 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: to correct one word
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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I think it depends on whether the restaurateurs are themselves immigrants whose target clientele is made up of immigrant compatriots or whether they are foodie entrepreneurs serving a tourist population.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
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There aren't a lot of people in Southern Oregon to begin with, let alone immigrants who can bring authentic cuisine to the area. So yes, there is a very small market for them and just a general lack of immigration to make it possible. We have some a couple authentic Mexican restaurants in Grants Pass, a place with better sushi than Portland, and oddly a good Thai restaurant. You won't find much other ethnic food around Southern Oregon besides those, basically.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:41 AM
 
Location: McKinney, TX
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Thanks for the information about the absence of real ethnic restaurants in the Ashland/Medford area, it makes sense. I'll go to Grants Pass this week end to check the Shushi.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
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OK, it's been over 3 years since I lived in the Rogues Valley, so keep that in mind, but my favorite Thai Restaurant is "Ali's Thai Kitchen", just North of the Mall in Medford. Ask them for the spicy sauce rack that they only bring out for patrons in the "know". They're wonderful and very kind people, great food too! Oh, and you can ask them to spice it up when they fix your dishes. They keep the spice level down unless you tell them you can handle it :-).

As to Mexican, our favorite was Habeneros, in Medford, as well as La Burrita. The one on Jacksonville Hwy used to have a Mexican grocery store there, but I think they were slowly getting rid of it.

Our favorite place for sushi is a place, I don't remember the name, in a strip mall right next to Win-Co, also in Medford. That's also where the only Asian grocery store is that I know of. There's also a place next to the Greyhound bus station, or close by that has good sushi, as well as a place on N Riverside, heading North from downtown Medford that has good Japanese food. And the "gold standard" for Japanese food locally is in Grants Pass, at a place called "Matsukasi"(sp?).

There used to be a pretty decent place in Ashland, I think it's called Pilafs, that had some more "middle eastern" food.

There also used to be a place along Biddle road that had OK Indian food. Indian food seems to have a really hard time there... many places that have opened and closed.

Also there used to be a Russian place on Main St in downtown Medford. No idea if it's good or not.

Good luck. My husband is also from Chicago, and I lived in New Orleans for many years, and so our standards are pretty high, but that's our favorite list in the Rogue Valley.

You'll notice a lack of Ashland places. For one, we lived in Central Point, so stayed closer to home, but also I think many of the best family-owned ethnic restaurants are in Medford, probably because the rent is cheaper there and people can actually afford to live there.

Also agree with backdrifter. You'll mostly find Mexican and Asian food in S.Oregon. There is a rather large Russian population closer to Portland, but for the mix you described, only a really big city is going to have that, and you're cursed to be from such a culinary giant as Chicago. We learned to cook most of our favorite foods that we missed from our big cities....
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tito View Post
Thanks for the information about the absence of real ethnic restaurants in the Ashland/Medford area, it makes sense. I'll go to Grants Pass this week end to check the Shushi.
Musashi's downtown around SE H and 8th Streets is the one to go to.

Also, as bluebird said, Matsukaze is the gold standard for the Rogue Valley, and it is really good, but I have no idea how authentic it is. It's owned by a Japanese-American family from Hawaii originally, but the food may be somewhat Americanized, I'm not sure.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
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I have a family member who was born and raised in Japan, and she gave Matsukaze a "thumbs up".
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:04 PM
 
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We've lived in Ashland for over 3 years now, and have yet to find a restaurant that would compare, even remotely, to typical good ones in cities like Chicago, NY, or San Fransico. Many passable places, but nothing memorable. All "bland" as the original poster stated. The local Italian restaurant that everyone raves about for some reason, Pasta Piatti, is abysmal, in my opinion.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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Ashland and nearby towns didn't have much in the way of good authentic ethnic restaurants when I lived there--although I always enjoyed Soco's La Burrita in Phoenix for really good cheap Mexican. Most of Ashland's ethnic offerings however are usually either Asian "fusion" or "Nuevo Latino"--trendy food for the upscale tourists. And most of the cheaper Mexican or Asian restaurants are pretty mediocre. I used to eat at Royal Taj, Great American Pizza and Vic's Mongolian a lot in college there however-- which are just real cheap and greasy. And I’ll always love Wiley’s World although I'm probably a bit biased since I used to eat there for free in college. And Peerless and Le Chateaulin were pretty good but expensive--although I can't speak to how they've fared since I left the region a few years back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newt View Post
We've lived in Ashland for over 3 years now, and have yet to find a restaurant that would compare, even remotely, to typical good ones in cities like Chicago, NY, or San Francisco.
That’s surprising...I mean who would have thought that restaurants in a small town of 20,000 in the Siskiyou Mountains wouldn’t compare to restaurants in three of the most world-class cities in the US!
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newt View Post
We've lived in Ashland for over 3 years now, and have yet to find a restaurant that would compare, even remotely, to typical good ones in cities like Chicago, NY, or San Fransico. Many passable places, but nothing memorable. All "bland" as the original poster stated. The local Italian restaurant that everyone raves about for some reason, Pasta Piatti, is abysmal, in my opinion.
That may have more to do with personal preference and/or expectations based on past formational experience rather than the preparation of food that is of higher or lower quality by some objective measure. I have a niece who just got finished spending a semester of school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. When she returned to Phoenix, the first thing she wanted to do was to go to "a good Mexican restaurant"...having been unable to find any eateries in Mexico that could measure up to the expectations for "good Mexican food" she had formed at gringo-pits in Phoenix like Carlos O'Briens and Macayo's.
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