Local Eats: A World Of Flavors
Many, myself included, are craving a getaway. Travel plans may be postponed, but a world of flavors are just waiting to be explored in our hometown. Let’s take a tour of a few of Edmond’s outstanding ethnic restaurants and meet the owners whose passion goes beyond just great food.
Mt. Everest Cuisines came to fruition after a discussion that took place at a gathering of five friends. Prabhu Acharya, a native of Nepal and now sole owner says, “There were a couple Indian restaurants, but Nepalese cuisine could not be found anywhere near Edmond.” In 2015, The friends decided they would open a restaurant combining flavors from both. The two countries share a border and their cuisines compliment each other well. Nepali food is a flavor bomb with similarities to Chinese and Tibetan food, but is most closely related to Indian food.
A significant population of Nepali students attend UCO. The friends envisioned hiring students, giving them not just a place to work, but a place that felt and tasted like home. Prabhu says the majority of customers are families. Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken are overwhelmingly the Indian favorites. Momos and Tali are the most ordered Nepali dishes.
Prabhu says, “Have your own experiences. With different tongues come different tastes.” Prabhu asserts that Mt. Everest Cuisines is centered on the customer. “We want to make our guests feel comfortable, especially in times of pandemic. We offer curbside, take out and dine-in. A satisfied guest is the best advertisement. It warms my heart when someone says a friend sent them.”
Nadir Aleisawi and partner Ahmed Aladass bring a taste of Palestine to Edmond at Bethlehem Mediterranean Grill and Gyro House in 2019. The two also opened Jerusalem Medtiterannean Cuisine in 2016, Nadir’s sister has since taken over operations. Nadir “Nick” and Ahmed “Alex” are old friends, they attended university together. After moving to America, they each put their skills and time into restaurants. They share a common desire to make delicious, healthful meals accessible.
Nadir says his favorite meal is maqluba, a Palestenian tradition literally translated as “upside down.” Chicken, veggies, pine nuts and lots of spices are layered in a pan and topped with rice. The pan is flipped onto a plate, forming a mountain of fragrant flavors. When asked what the most ordered dish is Nadir says, “Lamb, for sure. Gyro, shanks, kabobs… we serve lots of lamb.” Guests often order a side of Hashweh, a rice dish made with lean ground beef, toasted nuts and dried fruit.
“We consider ourselves to be ambassadors of Palestine. In our country, we treat whoever comes to our home as a part of our family.” Nick says relationship development is key in retaining customers and turning them into friends. To those who have not been in, Nick says, “Give it a shot. You won’t leave regretful. We have something for everyone. We use healthy olive oil. Our ingredients are good for the body, soul and mind.”
Chang Sik Yi, of South Korea, opened the first All About Cha in 2010, on 33rd and Broadway. In Korean, “Cha” means tea and is pronounced like the “cha-cha”, though Chang says he’s heard many pronunciation variations. Chang wanted to introduce Edmond to health conscious food and drinks, specifically black and green tea. All about Cha offers 15 different coffee drinks, 22 varieties of green and black teas, and 30 healthy Korean specialty drinks.
Chang says his favorite Korean dishes are Bulgogee, a beef dish marinated in special Korean sweet spice and Dakgarbee a chicken dish marinated in special Korean Hot spicy chili sauce. These happen to be his guest’s favorites as well. All About Cha can be found in South Korea, throughout the OKC metro and now in Texas.
Chang attributes the success of All About Cha to their values, “We follow a guiding vision that ‘Sincerity Moves People’, we seek to lead the modern café culture with a style and taste found only at All About Cha. We strive to prepare every single beverage and meal with a sincerity that connects with our customers, all while using high quality ingredients to promote their health and well-being.”