The shortest distance from the Pacific Rim to Dallas is to travel east, and if European immigration defined the character of American cities that came of age in the 20th century, Asian immigration is defining the character of those coming of age in the 21st century.  Perhaps nowhere in the Metroplex is this more strikingly evident than in old downtown Richardson.

For months I’ve been passing through the intersection of Greenville Avenue and Main Street/Beltline slowly enough to be intrigued, but too quickly to take a closer look and this week I decided to do a walkabout.  The intersection is about three-quarters of a mile from DART Rail’s Spring Valley Station and about a mile from its Arapaho Station. Asia may be the world’s biggest continent, but it seems that nearly every part of it is represented in Richardson.

There’s MEDITERRANEAN cooking at Habibi, Afrah, and Jasmine  (you can smoke from a hookah there!)

Habibi Cafe, 102 N McKinney, Richardson

Habibi Cafe, 102 N McKinney, Richardson

Jasmine Market Cafe, 107 E Main St, Richardson

Jasmine Market Cafe, 107 E Main St, Richardson

Afrah Mediterranean Cuisine & Grill, 314 E Main St, Richardson

Afrah Mediterranean Cuisine & Grill, 314 E Main St, Richardson

 

 

Within only blocks, three establishments cater to fans of INDIAN cuisine.

Boti Grill, 110 S. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Boti Grill, 110 S. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Boti Grill serves a luncheon buffet, Chameli serves biryani in a fast-casual format, and the Indo-Pak supermarket presumably keeps the kitchens stocked at both!

Chameli, 201 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

Chameli, 201 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

 

IndoPak Supermarket, 323 E Polk St, Richardson

IndoPak Supermarket, 323 E Polk St, Richardson

Cornerstone Chinese Bible Church, Richardson, TX

Cornerstone Chinese Bible Church, Richardson, TX

 

 

It’s the CHINESE, though, who appear to be the best represented here, and not only by restaurants.

First Chinese BBQ and King Noodles are across the street from each other.

King's Noodles, 201 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

King’s Noodles, 201 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

First Chinese BBQ, 111 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

First Chinese BBQ, 111 S Greenville Ave, Richardson

On Greenville about a quarter of a mile or so north of the intersection is a new neighborhood shopping center sporting the conspicuous sign “DFW Chinatown.”

Chinatown, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Chinatown, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

The entrance is imposingly marked by totem-pole-like pillars and concrete chimera dragons.

Chinatown statues, Richardson, TX Chinatown statue, Richardson, TX

 

Lining the main drive are larger-than-life and very lifelike statutes of ancient Chinese from all walks of life.

Chinese restaurants include Canton, Royal Sichuan, and Yung Kee Chinese BBQ

Canton Restaurant, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Canton Restaurant, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Royal Sichuan and Yun Kee Chinese BBQ, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Royal Sichuan and Yun Kee Chinese BBQ, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

 

Taiwan Café and Vivian Bakery

 

Taiwan Cafe, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Taiwan Cafe, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

VIvian Bakery, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

VIvian Bakery, 400 N. Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

 

…and – for anyone who wants to cook their own – the Tian Jian Supermarket.

Tian Jian Supermarket, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

Tian Jian Supermarket, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

While Chinese foodservice establishments predominate, other food to be found includes Japanese…

Sapporo, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

Sapporo, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

Genroku Sushi & Grill, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

Genroku Sushi & Grill, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

 

Korean and Thai (Best Thai is just across the street).

Chang Jing Korean BBQ & Cuisine, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

Chang Jing Korean BBQ & Cuisine, 400 N Greenville Ave, Richardson

Best Thai, 300 Terrace Dr., Richardson

Best Thai, 300 Terrace Dr., Richardson

Just when I think I’ve covered most of the available ground I realize that Richardson’s Asian food district straddles the North Central Expressway, and on the intersection’s southwest corner is a shopping center in which Indian tenants are prominent.

Restaurants here include Udipi Café (vegetarian) and Zyka “The Taste”.

Udipi Cafe,100 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX

Udipi Cafe,100 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX

Zyka Indian Restaurant, 100 S Central Expy, Richardson

Zyka Indian Restaurant, 100 S Central Expy, Richardson

 

 

Taj Mahal Imports, 100 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX

Taj Mahal Imports, 100 S Central Expy, Richardson, TX

…but the richest cultural experience by far is the Taj Mahal Imports store, which stocks everything from Hindu religious icons in bronze and Bollywood DVD’s to a mind-boggling selection of grocery staples and produce.

Shivas and produce, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Shivas and produce, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Grocery selection, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Grocery selection, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Few of these are familiar to American palates, and much of the packaging is at once inviting and cryptic. There’s even a bakery and a quick-service diner that serves hot Indian meals.

Bakery case, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Bakery case, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Hindu altars, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Hindu altars, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Grocery selection, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Grocery selection, Taj Mahal Imports, Richardson, TX

Houston has had a robust Asian community and outstanding Asian restaurants dating back to the end of the Vietnam War.  It’s refreshing to see Dallas finally shedding its meat-and-potatoes, white bread past and embracing cosmopolitan tastes.

Advertisements