November 29, 2021

Portal Turist Coecua Toriano

Explore The World

Taste the world at Milwaukee’s international restaurants

Going to the annual Holiday Folk Fair International at State Fair Park means trying foods from dozens of cuisines around the globe. Folk Fair is virtual again in 2021 because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sample the world in the Milwaukee area.

You could even pick up some takeout before settling in with a virtual Folk Fair session. 

A couple of notes: Immy’s African Cuisine, which previously served at Folk Fair, is to resume offering takeout sometime in mid-November, after a summer of markets and festivals; follow the company on Facebook to keep tabs.

And by no means is this a complete list of the area’s international restaurants, or of all the cuisines a Folk Fair visitor would find in a typical year. It’s a starting point for finding some of the world’s delicious foods here at home: 

The stews and sautes of Ethiopian Cottage, 1824 N. Farwell Ave., are surrounded by rolled strips of injera, the sourdough flatbread used to scoop up bites of the dishes. Diners share the meat and vegetable dishes, which sit atop another injera that absorbs the sauces.

ETHIOPIAN

Ethiopian Cottage

These stews and sautes of meats (lamb, beef and chicken plus seafood options) or vegetables (like excellent collard greens, legumes and mixtures such as cabbage, carrot and onion) are meant for sharing. They’re placed atop pliant injera, the sourdough flatbread that’s both tasty platter and utensil. If it’s a snack you’re after, the beef or lentil sambusas are crisped, savory pleasures, as is kategna, simply warm injera with melted butter and spices, but utterly delicious.

Hours:  5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday during the pandemic; takeout only for now because of COVID-19. 1824 N. Farwell Ave. (414) 224-5226. ethiopiancottagerest.com.  

The Sinigang bowl, Filipino sour soup with pork, cabbage and tomato, served with rice, is available at Meat on the Street restaurant, 1125 N. Ninth St.

FILIPINO

Meat on the Street

Filipino flavors are tangy, funky and subtly sweet, often all in one dish. Consider sinigang, a sour soup of pork cabbage and tamarind. There are meat skewers and fried rolls among the dishes, and Meat on the Street has designed burritos that fuse Filipino flavors into a familiar package. Here’s your chance to try ice cream in flavors of ube (purple sweet potato) or pandan (an herb reminiscent of vanilla). Meat on the Street, a counter-service restaurant, also operates a food truck renamed this year to Tatay’s Truck.

Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday. 1125 N. Ninth St., in the mini food hall at the Eleven25 Building in the Pabst complex. motscatering.com; online ordering only.

Santorini Grill in the Mequon Public Market, 6300 W. Mequon Road, serves skewers of chicken souvlaki with rice, pita, Greek-style potatoes and salad or egg-lemon soup. It's garnished with feta, olives and a pickled pepper.

GREEK

Santorini Grill

The dishes here seem to evoke the sunshine of the Greek island for which this vendor at the Mequon Public Market is named: tender grilled octopus, skewers of chicken souvlaki that taste of lemon and herbs, crisp spanakopita. Pull up a seat at one of a couple of little tables right at the stall (they can be reserved) or head to the market’s spacious second floor. 

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. 6300 W. Mequon Road, Mequon, in the Mequon Public Market. (414) 716-5723. Order in person, call ahead or order onlinesantorinigrillmequon.com. 

Chicken pipian is a Guatemalan dish from Mara's Grill, 3441 N. 84th St. The sauce is made from roasted tomatoes, red peppers, sesame seeds, pumpkins seeds and onions.

GUATEMALAN

Mara’s Grill

Tucked alongside a larger menu of Mexican dishes and sandwiches are some Guatemalan plates. Consider the chicken pipian, in a complex mole of roasted tomatoes and chilies and ground pumpkin and sesame seeds, or the chicken flautas, which would be called tacos in Guatemala. Mara’s has a few small tables, but orders mostly are taken to go.

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 3441 N. 84th St. (414) 810-0031. Call ahead to order. marasgrillwi.com

A Hmong dish of crushed catfish is aromatic with plentiful basil from Thai Bangkok and second location Thai Bangkok Express, both on Milwaukee's northwest side.

HMONG

Thai Bangkok

Don’t let the restaurant’s name fool you — several excellent Hmong dishes are on the menu of this small diner and takeout spot, like the sausages served with sticky or white rice and the catfish that’s crushed and aromatic with lemongrass, basil and chilies. The restaurant also has a second location, with a briefer menu but many of the same dishes, called Thai Bangkok Express.