Think globally, eat locally.

What’s for dinner? Pick a country, any country. OK, OK, maybe the Lehigh Valley’s food landscape isn’t quite that diverse, but there are plenty of spots worth checking out to help bump you out of your culinary comfort zone. While we’d never be able to cover all of the options, here’s a delicious sampling of our region’s Ethnic Eats.

By Amy Unger | Photography by Marco Calderon


Jose and Nilda Pinargote opened Adobo Latin Kitchen in 2017. Both have deep roots in Puerto Rico but moved to the Lehigh Valley years ago and had been exploring ways to share their love of Latin food and culture with the community around them. Jose says the couple opened up shop in the Easton area because it’s close to where they live, and because of the dearth of other Latin restaurants in that immediate area. “Our approach was simple: serve authentic Puerto Rican dishes in a clean and fast-casual setting that would welcome everyone.”

What to try:

Their number one dish is rice with beans and roast pork (arroz con gandules y pernil), a traditional Latin entrée. “You haven’t had Puerto Rican food until you have had this dish,” Jose says. The pork is seasoned with a house blend of spices and then slow roasted for five to six hours until it falls apart. Adobo also features other traditional dishes like mofongos and the classic empanadas.

2429 Nazareth Rd., Easton | 610.438.5210 |


A taste of Southeast Asia is on the menu at Jenny’s Kuali in Bethlehem. The restaurant’s namesake—Jenny Lim—opened the place with her husband, Roy, in 2012. Natives of Malaysia, and veterans of the food and restaurant industry, the couple has used their extensive know-how to put their own spin on the traditional recipes of their homeland. They also credit their kids, Mei Yi and Ka Seng, as two major ingredients in their success story.

What to try:

“Our noodle dishes like Mee Goreng, Chow Kuey Teow and big bowls of Curry Mee Soup and Prawn Mee, plus our famous homemade appetizers are some of our customers’ favorites,” Jenny says. And don’t forget to grab a bottle of Jenny’s famous Ginger Garlic Sauce to recreate the magic at home.

102 E. 4th St., Bethlehem | 610.758.8088 |


Restaurants serving up authentic African food are in short supply in the Lehigh Valley. Bethlehem’s Coal seeks to fill that void. Co-owner and executive chef Kofi Armah was raised in Ghana before he settled in the Lehigh Valley. He says he got tired of having to travel to bigger cities to get a taste of the cuisine that colored his childhood.

What to try:

“Our Kelewele, sweet and spicy fried plantains, are the best appetizer on the menu,” Armah says. “It’s a snack very popular in the streets of Accra, Ghana.” He also recommends the Chicken Khebabs and Peanut Butter soup.

81 W. Broad St., Bethlehem 484.456.1192 | @coalloungeandgrill


Authentic Polish delicacies are no longer a plane ride and thousands of miles away, thanks to Kavva’s Polish/European Market, right in the heart of historic Bethlehem. The business was founded in 2018 by Kacper Waskiewicz and his father, Wojciech Waskiewicz, who emigrated from Poland in 1996. They opened the market to make some of their favorite food items more readily available in the Lehigh Valley.

What to try:

Any of the various kielbasas or pierogis. Kavva’s also offers baked goods and lunch sandwiches.

99 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.419.2040 |


Lessons learned in the family kitchen paid off for Zuhal Lambrugo and her siblings, Murat Suryel and Tulin Emek. “My family and I grew up with the food that we serve,” she says. Born and raised in Turkey, the trio moved to the United States as young adults. They say friends pushed them to open a restaurant to share their cuisine with the Lehigh Valley. The end result is Limon, which opened in Hellertown in 2016, and was recently named by BuzzFeed as the best budget restaurant in Pennsylvania.

What to try:

“We definitely recommend our Appetizer Combination which gives you a great taste of what we do,” says Lambrugo. Also high on the “must” list: the Mix Kebap platter, which Lambrugo says delivers a “mouthful of flavor.”

1111 Main St., Hellertown 484.851.3269 |


It’s no accident that Allentown’s Asia welcomes its guests to a home that’s been converted into a restaurant. “It really emphasizes my goal that our customers feel like friends and family coming to dine at our house,” says owner May Wong. A family atmosphere dominates behind the scenes, too; “I do most of the cooking and my mom helps me out in the kitchen,” Wong says. “My daughters help out in the front of the house.”

What to try:

“I’m all about flavors and textures,” says Wong. For an appetizer, she recommends Chicken Lettuce Cups, which come with your choice of three sauces. As for the entrées, Jia Jiang Noodles (“This is the Chinese version of spaghetti and meat sauce,” says Wong), Spicy Sichuan Shrimp (heat level: intense) and Chicken with Eryngii Mushrooms are among Wong’s favorites.

1102 E. Susquehanna St., Allentown | 610.798.7777 |


Foodies can thank the collapse of Circuit City for giving them True Blue Mediterranean Cafe in Emmaus. Ziad Hariry found himself out of a job when the electronics retailer went belly up more than a decade ago. “I was very scared. Very scared,” he recalls. In search of a new beginning, in 2009 Hariry bought a coffee shop on Chestnut Street and slowly began to add food items inspired by his upbringing in Kuwait.

What to try:

For vegetarians, Hariry recommends anything cauliflower based, like the Cauliflower Basmati or Fried Cauliflower. For the carnivores, he suggests the lamb dishes, like Lamb Basmati or Lamb Kabobs. True Blue also makes its own signature sauce called lemonaize (garlic, lemon purée, yogurt and mayonnaise) that can be purchased in a bottle to go.

1301 Chestnut St., Emmaus 610.966.8555 |

La Perla Tapatia

La Perla Tapatia was founded by the Ramirez family in Easton in 2012 and moved to its current home in Forks Township six years later. The restaurant’s name has ties to Guadalajara, the capital of the western Mexican state of Jalisco; the Ramirez family has roots there. It’s also the inspiration behind the restaurant’s cuisine. Miguel Alejandro Ramirez is the head chef, and his wife, Mariana Ramirez, is La Perla’s manager. They continue to grow their business with the help of their three children.

What to try:

“The Birria is our signature dish,” Miguel says. It’s a stew made from beef cooked in a guajillo sauce served with rice. He also recommends Carnitas Mexicanas and Carne Asada, and don’t miss Taco Tuesday, where you can score 10 tacos for $20.99.

308 Old Mill Rd., Easton | 610.438.3796


Aladdin has been a mainstay of the Lehigh Valley dining scene since 1981, when Ed and Violette Younes, natives of Syria, opened for business on Allentown’s 2nd Street. Some things have changed since then: The restaurant moved to its current home on Union Boulevard in 1999, and now the couple’s four daughters shoulder a lot of the operational responsibilities. But many things have remained the same, too, like the cooked-from-scratch, made-to-order Middle Eastern food that keeps regulars coming back year after year.

What to try:

Ed’s Favorite—a combination of shish kabob and shish taouk served with a side of babaganoush.

651 Union Blvd., Allentown | 610.437.4023 |


Tacos Y Tequila moved into the spot vacated by Centro in Downtown Allentown in December of 2018. As one might suspect from its name, the restaurant specializes in Mexican food and drinks. Says owner Ramiro Bravo: “This is as authentic as you can get without going to Mexico.”

What to try:

Their specialty is their authentic Street Tacos, which are served eight different ways and can be paired with a variety of salsas. And Bravo says the tequila selection is the most extensive in the Lehigh Valley.

530 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.351.8226
20 Kunkle Dr., Easton | 610.438.4554


When it opened its doors in Easton in 2013, Daddy’s Place was a grab-and-go, eat-it-and-run kind of place, serving breakfast, appetizers and a few entrées. But, high demand for its carefully crafted Mediterranean fare dictated a change of plans for owners and sisters Lena Koorie and Odil Koorie, who were born and raised in Lebanon. Now Daddy’s Place is a full-service restaurant—reservations are recommended. “Everyone working there is family, and if not related by blood our staff truly feels as if they are family and I think our customers can feel that as well,” says Lena.

What to try:

The go-to dish is the Daddy’s Special Platter, a three-course meal that can be customized with the greatest hits from the menu. The kabob entrée is another popular choice. It’s available in chicken, beef, lamb or kafta, or try them all in the Daddy’s Mixed Grill.

650 Northampton St., Easton | 610.438.4442 |


DiMaio’s has been a staple on Hellertown’s restaurant scene since the mid-1980s. Founded by Maria DiMaio, a native of Sicily who came to the United States in 1968, the restaurant serves up—as one could probably guess—an array of belly-filling Italian dishes. DiMaio’s three daughters—Rosaria, Anna and Daniela—now also help to call the shots.

What to try:

There are classics like Chicken Francese and New York Style Nonna’s Pizza. And don’t miss the Stracciatella soup (often referred to as Italian egg drop soup), which, according to Maria, may be hard to say, but easy to enjoy.

27 Main St., Hellertown | 610.838.8004 |