Tempe is filled with a diverse mix of people from all over the world, and it’s quickly becoming known as a hub for truly authentic ethnic cuisine. Apache Boulevard lies at the center of it all, encompassing a veritable spice trail of flavorful food finds clustered between Rural and Price Roads, close to Arizona State University (ASU). From dishes hailing from unique regions in China to foods fusing flavors from Pakistan and India to delicious Middle Eastern favorites and tempting delicacies from Vietnam, Tempe has it all. The menus are authentic and loaded with dishes that are rich in both flavor and tradition. Here are just a few favorites to satisfy your international cravings.
1250 E. Apache Blvd. Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 557-8888
Chou’s Kitchen touts itself as a place that serves authentic cuisine from northeastern China where, interestingly, the staple crop is wheat. And you’ll find plenty of it on the menu at this no-frills spot. Look forward to noodles, steamed buns and handmade dumplings ranging from steamed squash and egg to chives, shrimp and pork. The menu also features plenty of Chinese-restaurant menu staples, including fried rice, vegetarian, seafood, beef, lamb, pork and chicken clay pot dishes.
1872 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 557-8800
Located in Arizona’s largest South Asian shopping center, The Dhaba is a family-owned and operated award-winning restaurant specializing in the culinary customs of the Punjab region of northern India. Offering cuisine steeped in culture and tradition, you can indulge in fresh-baked bread straight from the tandoor oven; tender and savory meats including chicken and lamb; fragrant rice dishes; hearty vegetarian selections; and deep-fried Indian street foods. The menu also offers suggestions for the perfect wine pairings with each dish. Dining at The Dhaba is more than just a fine meal; it’s a cultural experience thanks to the owners’ devotion to sharing both their culture and extraordinary cuisine.
1513 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 894-1905
Haji Baba is a Middle Eastern restaurant and grocery store serving budget-friendly ethnic cuisine. Pull up to the counter and order from the simple yet mouth-watering menu that includes gyros, kebabs, falafel and shwarma—all served with Arabic bread. For something a little lighter, treat yourself to the house-made tahini, a plate of feta cheese and pita bread, or a refreshing Greek salad. Afterward, pick up a few market items to take home, such as authentic spices, sauces, cheeses and desserts.
1537 E. Apache Blvd., Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 829-7118
Offering truly authentic Vietnamese fare, Khai Hoan Restaurant has garnered a substantial reputation as one of the Valley’s best. From bun (rice vermicelli) to banh cuon (stuffed rice crepe rolls) to banh hoi (mini rice sticks), Khai Hoan has an extensive menu that has been impressing locals for years. Khai Hoan also offers a pho menu, featuring beef, beef tendon, beef ball, tripe, chicken and seafood. For some variety, order from the Chinese menu, which offers such favorites as fried rice, lo mein, kung pao, orange chicken and Mongolian beef.
1250 E. Apache Blvd. Suite 112, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 912-6283
Mango Rabbit is locally owned and operated by Peggy Huang, an ASU Alumni and lover of Tempe. Serving up a wonderful selection of bubble waffles, authentic milk teas and a hefty menu of Asian and Asian-inspired drinks, desserts and snacks, Mango Rabbit is an Instagrammer’s dream. Their milk tea is a stand-out item that can be customized with toppings including boba, coconut jelly and cheese foam, a delicate sweet-salty froth. The must-have, however, is the bubble waffle, known for its over-the-top Instagram appeal. The namesake bubble waffle, Mango Rabbit, includes two scoops of ice cream, chocolate cookies, two Pocky sticks, a crown of berries, whipped cream and edible gold flakes. Mango Rabbit also offers limited-time items for seasonal changes, so odds are you will find yourself at the counter ordering something new every time. Check out our Mango Rabbit blog for more on this sweet store.
We encourage you to check out all stops on this “spice trail,” as you may be surprised to find such a well-rounded international experience located right here in Tempe, AZ. As a bonus – all locations can easily be accessed via the Valley Metro Rail.
Did we miss one? If there’s a restaurant that should be added to this list, please let us know and we’ll be happy to add it.