Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The International Market

The best thing about dinner this week is that we didn’t have to choose the restaurant! Thanks to everyone who voted, we appreciate your support. The International Market & Restaurant won with 50% of the votes.

As we walked into the restaurant, the first thing Tracy noticed was the incredible smell. The first thing Brian noticed was the tea. The International Market & Restaurant is half Asian restaurant and half Asian market. Brian looked like a kid in a candy store as he smelled all of the tea for sale and picked his favorite. Tracy couldn’t wait to see where her nose would lead her as she made her way towards the food. The food is served cafeteria style in the back of the restaurant. Everything is in front of you, which makes it very easy to pick what you want (or extremely difficult if you are of the indecisive persuasion).

Tracy went for the fried rice to start. It looked delicious and fluffy, and not dry and sticky like you would find in a food court. It tasted just as good as it looked. The sweet corn was the perfect ingredient and made the rice sweet and savory all at the same time. Tracy followed a rice trend and chose rice noodles with broccoli as her second item. With a little soy and chili sauces, this dish was satisfying and so tasty that she had to fight the urge to go back for seconds! Luckily, she also ordered an egg roll, the staple of a Chinese meal. It was definitely the lowest point of the meal, but in no way bad. Tracy would be happy to recommend all of these dishes to anyone. All together, the meal was around $6.

Brian also started with a base of the fried rice accompanied by hearty portions of spicy beef with bamboo shoots and chicken with mushrooms. The fried rice was tremendous. Were it not for the consistency, Brian could have closed his eyes and been certain he was eating the sweet cornbread of his childhood. Either way, rice or cornbread, he was guaranteed to have something on his shirt after the first bite. Thank goodness for the plentiful corn and peas, otherwise his choices would have been severely lacking in color. The beef had just the right amount of spice and tangy flavor. It wasn't stringy like you might experience from cheap takeout. What was interesting was that The International Market used jalapenos to accompany the red pepper flakes- not customary in Asian cuisine. The chicken was as good as the beef, with plump white meat pieces and two-dozen perfectly cooked mushrooms and sweet onions. To wash it all down, Brian finally had the sweet tea he had been craving since last week, a traditional black and green blend with jasmine.

For dessert, Tracy picked out the rice pudding. There were four small servings, which she decided to have heated. After Brian burned the roof of his mouth on the first bite, the flan-like consistency of the pudding was comforting, as was the taste of the sweet confection. It was a reasonably priced, very satisfying meal. Brian even got a tin of loose leaf jasmine tea to steep at home and the whole thing cost a little over $14.

The International Market & Restaurant is a delicious cornerstone of the Belmont area. It is often overlooked due to the trendy restaurant growth across the street but will definitely never be again by these two writers! REAL Chinese food is often hard to find in the south but The International Market is authentic, affordable and absolutely amazing!

Pros: Free refills on tea, Restaurant and market in one, casual

Cons: Sometimes parking can get a little tough, parallel knowledge is a must!

Price: $ An Alphabedible record!

Location: Belmont Boulevard right off Belmont’s campus

Food Quality: Excellent, authentic

Drink Quality: Assorted teas were delicious

Service: Friendly Buffet

Ambiance: Casual and fun for friends to catch up

We're "j"umping for "j"oy "j"ust thinking about next week!


  1. I was pleased to realize when I first moved here that the owner will sell you ingredients not found in the market from the back, like lime leaves or fresh lemongrass. Invaluable for the home cook.

  2. It's a great little market but the food got me really sick one time, so I never go there to eat anymore.

  3. To me, the food was rather food-courtish. Maybe it's because I went there at 8:45 on a Friday, but everything looked like the chafing dish cooked the life out of it. The fried rice DID taste like cornbread, though :)

  4. Again, my comment did not post, it just went blank...
    But, as I was saying, I agree with EH that the steam table is kind of bad Americanized food court food. But, order off the menu, pad thai, stir fried veggies, soups etc and it is good.