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A culinary tour of Atlanta’s Buford Highway
To see why Atlanta locals love Buford Highway, set out on a culinary tour that takes you around the world in one street. Discover Vietnam’s deeply rooted culinary influences, find out why Taiwanese food is making waves worldwide, and taste truly authentic Mexican fare. From Cantonese dim sum to Vietnamese banh mi, Buford Highway in Atlanta should be on all epicureans’ itineraries.
This six-mile stretch of restaurants connecting Atlanta to Buford is celebrated by city residents for its gastronomic diversity. Straying away from the region’s classic Southern fare, the focus here is on flavours from across the globe, reflecting the city’s vibrant international population.
A mainstay on Atlanta’s food scene having opened its doors back in 1984, Buford Highway Farmers Market brings together the region’s seasonal produce with hard-to-find ingredients from across the world, with an array of freshly prepared food to try, too. Products from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia can all be found within the expansive store, but this isn’t all; aside from picking up fresh and lesser-known ingredients, visitors can also catch cooking classes and demos hosted by the market’s resident chefs.
Transporting diners to Central and South America and the Caribbean are Buford Highway’s prolific Latino eateries. La Pastorcita (3304 Buford Highway) is said to have some of the most authentic Mexican fare around, with a menu that’s solely in Spanish. This lively restaurant puts out corn tortillas with all the rice, guacamole, salsa and beans you could ask for, alongside fajitas and carne asada. El Potro Mexican Restaurant (3393 Buford Highway) is a worthy choice too, especially if you like to pair your fajita or burrito with a pitcher of margaritas or a craft beer.
If Indian cuisine is the order of the day, stop by Purnima Bangladeshi Cuisine. This Halal restaurant serves up British-style Bangladeshi dishes, with classics like tandoori, biriyani and korma, and has won a loyal following for the authenticity and homemade feel of each dish. In the same building as Purnima, Vietnamese noodle house Pho 24 (4646 Buford Highway) draws diners in for classic Vietnamese plates like goi cuon rice paper rolls, and banh mi baguettes, in addition to steaming bowls of pho. Pho Dai Loi (4186 Buuford Highway) is another favourite for Vietnamese cuisine, known for its generous portions of noodle soup and simple, convivial setting.
With more of an inclination towards the Vietnamese-French specialty of banh mi, Quoc Huong Banh Mi Fast Food (5150 Buford Highway) and Lee’s Bakery both fill their Vietnamese-style baguettes with flavoursome ingredients like barbecue pork, pickles and pate. Co’m Vietnamese Grill has a warm and inviting interior, and more of a restaurant feel, with an extensive choice of modern French and Thai fusion Vietnamese plates, from ‘small bites’ like lobster claw spring rolls, to main meals such as Pad Thai and pot-grilled lamb.
Staying within Asia, why not try some Taiwanese fare? Discover the cuisine’s Chinese influences, flavourful seasonings, and the tradition of eating tapas-like plates called xiaochi, by seeking out Buford Highway’s Taiwanese eateries, such as La Mei Zi (5150 Buford Highway), which serves up both Taiwanese classic plates and Sichuan cuisine.
If you were to travel around China, you’d realize how many ethnicities live within its borders, and as a result, how many different cuisines are included. Naturally, Cantonese food is well represented along Buford Highway; try Canton House for their resoundingly popular dim sum, or Northern China Eatery (5141 Buford Highway) – once recommended by Anthony Bourdain – for their dumplings, savoury pancakes and pork buns. For Szechuan cuisine, try Good Luck Gourmet (5750 Buford Highway), where hot pots and noodle soups are far spicier.
With so many dining spots within such close proximity, why not change locations between courses. For dessert, a wise choice would be Sweet Hut Bakery & Café for its decadent cakes and delectable desserts, which range from a mango mousse cake with fresh mango and whipped cream, to a chocolate ganache cheesecake with an Oreo cookie base.
Hundreds of different eateries are lined up along Buford Highway, covering an eclectic array of cuisines between them. Perhaps the best way to choose where to begin is to simply decide which part of the world you’d like to visit along the way.
Written by Lauren Hill