Rule №1. When in a new town, ask locals for their favorite restaurants.
I am not discovering America here: everybody knows that. But there’s also rule №2 that I hope I invented.
Rule №2. When in a new tourist town, try ethnic food.
When I say “tourist town” I am talking about small towns in which tourists outnumber locals. The logic behind this rule is simple: restaurants targeting tourists don’t care for them to return as much. As a consequence food leaves a lot to be desired. Places serving ethnic food, on the other hand, are most likely targeting local community; they serve authentic dishes and maintain great quality.
I am going to share with you two non-touristy restaurants in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which I fell in love with. I wish I could share more but there’s a limit as to how much I can eat on a short trip. So we are trying Thai and Mediterranean food today.
Thai Pineapple Duck Curry and Sticky Mango rice in Bangkok House
This place according to my friend, who recommended it, is “a hole in the wall, but the house special duck curry is out of this world”. Having lived in Sri Lanka I’ve had a fair share of curries in my life. This one is ranking on the top of my personal list. Tender pieces of duck are cooked in red curry sauce, made with coconut milk, pineapple, cherry tomatoes and bell pepper. What makes it so good is the sweet aftertaste. Served with rice this curry will make a perfect lunch or dinner.
For dessert we had more rice. Don’t be too surprised, it’s Thai cuisine we are talking about. Ask for Mango Sticky Rice. In this traditional Thai dessert rice is mixed with coconut milk to add rich sweet flavor and served with slices of mango on side. It is not on the menu, but they can cook it to order.
The restaurant is small and simple but cute, nevertheless, with traditional Thai deco.
Address: 318 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hours: Mon – Sat: 11 am – 9 pm, Sun: closed
Mediterranean hummus and shakshuka in Jerusalem
You feel Middle Eastern vibe as soon as you step inside. The dining rooms are beautifully decorated with hand-painted tiles, hand-embroidered art work, and authentic Moroccan pottery.
One of the dining halls features lowered tables with comfy colorful poof cushions around.
Hummus is a must-try here, this place has a whole section of menu dedicated to hummus and its variations. We ordered a classic version served with laffa – Israeli flat bread cooked in tandoori oven, and in 5 minutes our table was covered with plates of different caliber: hummus, tahini, white and red cabbage, spicy chickpeas, corn mixed with dill, and pasta salad. It’s always exciting when your order comes with unexpected sides. This was, hands down, the freshest and the most delicious hummus I’ve ever tried. My very first laffa was excellent too, soft on the inside and crunchy on edges, topped with olive oil and sesame seeds.
For main course try Chef’s special shakshuka – poached eggs cooked in spicy tomato stew with jalapeno peppers, garlic and spices. It is served with white bread and the right way to eat it is to dip pieces of bread into tomato sauce and enjoy the mess.
The owners are very passionate about their traditional food and I have even been told that when the owner’s mother comes down to South Carolina from Israel, she prepares food in the restaurant’s kitchen herself. Doesn’t get more authentic than that!
Jerusalem Restaurant & Bar
Address: 205 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hours: Sunday – Thursday Noon-10 p.m., Friday – Noon-7 p.m., Saturday – Closed
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