Coming from another hemisphere, eating Asian food in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area is one of the best ways of relieving my homesickness and cheering me up. But as a foodie, I’m super upset when I try a restaurant and the food is so-so. What surprised me was that our town has a lot of options for delicious Asian food.
So if you are a first time visitor here, or want to try some international food but you have no idea what to order out at an Asian restaurant, I have some restaurant managers’ favorites to share with you.
Located in the heart of downtown Lafayette, Yatagarasu is a Japanese noodle shop featuring a variety of Japanese ramen and grills. There are lots of traditional Japanese paintings and pictures of Japanese movies or celebrities on the wall, which made me feel I was dining in a local restaurant in Japan.
Ethan Watt, manager of this noodle restaurant, recommended paitan spicy ramen, one of his favorites to me because it combined pork broth with spicy flavor creating a rich, creamy, and spicy taste. “We cooked our pork broth and chicken broth for 6-8 hours, with multiple ingredients including pork bones, pork feet, chicken bone, chicken feet, and a lot of vegetables. And our eggs, we marinade eggs in a special marinade for two days before serving the customers. And our portions are also doubled, compared with other ramen restaurants in Chicago and Indianapolis,” Watt said. I was surprised by this creamy, spicy soup, and I finished the entire bowl. He mentioned rich garlic tonkotsu was also a good choice for classic Japanese ramen.
Address: 533 Main St., Lafayette, IN 47901
Hours: Monday through Thursday – 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m./ 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday – 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m./ 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
KIMCHI Korean Restaurant
KIMCHI is an authentic Korean restaurant in West Lafayette. It serves various options of traditional Korean food: appetizer, stir fry, soup, hotpot, and more.
According to Peter Park, the manager of KIMCHI, they serve six side dishes, which are free appetizers coming before your entrée, including kimchi, fish cake, and different kinds of pickles. However, other Korean restaurants in town don’t offer so many side dishes. One of his favorite dishes he recommended to me was hotpot because there are high-quality meat and ingredients in it. Korean style hotpot is actually a fusion stew of meat, kimchi, tofu, ramen, and much more in a large and hot pot. People usually order and share it. This culture of sharing makes hotpot play an essential role in Asian culture. Finally, we decided to order a bulgogi octopus hotpot, and it was really delicious! All of my friends and I thought the marinated beef in it was very juicy and sweet. Also, the ingredients were fresh and plentiful.
Address: 1904 Sagamore Pkwy W, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Hours: Monday – Closed; Tuesday through Sunday – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Taste, located at Levee Plaza, is one of the popular Chinese restaurants in West Lafayette.
Xiangbin Zhou, the manager of Taste, recommended one of his favorite dishes, Chinese hotpot, to me. According to him, hotpot provides the possibility of eating two different flavors and many kinds of meats or vegetables at the same time. Meanwhile, the spicy broth was made by the chef, which was quite different from the one we can buy from the Asian market. You might be curious about the differences between Korean hotpot and Chinese one now. Well, one of the differences is the soup. The soup of Korean hotpot is usually made from Korean paste, and the Chinese hotpot has various types of flavor, including spicy soup (made from hot pepper), tomato soup, mushroom soup, and so on. In addition, for Chinese hot pot, there was no ingredient in it before it starts boiling, and people keep adding meat and vegetables into the soup while the hot pot is kept simmering. For the Korean one, all ingredients have already been placed in it before the hotpot comes to your table. It is very interesting.
Address: 360 Brown St, West Lafayette, IN 47906
Hours: Sunday through Thursday – 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday through Saturday – 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Purdue University student, Ranxin Quan, shares this blog.