What do you eat when you’re homesick?

Plus, check out Centreville’s new food hall, Streat Side—and more food world news.

Calabash African Cuisine & Bar
Calabash (Photo by Rey Lopez)

Taco Bell? The candy bins at IKEA? Calf’s liver and onions at La Chaumiere in DC?

The Washington Post asked ambassadors where they eat when they miss home. It’s an apt question for a region notorious for its transplant population.

As a South Jersey native, it’s been hard to find the immigrant food I grew up on: Italian-American restaurants, pizza-by-the-slice, bagel shops with whitefish salad (though my NoVA neighborhood is getting a new shop, Bagel Uprising).

The many diplomats who answered provided varied, nuanced stories about foods they craved when homesick. It wasn’t only about the foods of their homeland, but foods from a meaningful time in their life.

Daniel Mulhall, the ambassador from Ireland, heads to an Indian restaurant: “I met my wife, who is Australian, when we both lived in India. So to remember our courtship and those early days of marriage, we go to Rasika. I’ll order a chicken dish, prawn for her; we enjoy the cucumber raita and fall in love again.”

If intelligence is the name of the diplomatic game, then trust Otgonbayar Yondon, ambassador to Mongolia: “The Mongolian barbecue you know is not the same in Mongolia. So not that. Thai Eatery, which is owned by Mongolians and has a menu just for Mongolians. It’s weird.”

And then there’s Karin Olofsdotter, the Swedish ambassador, with a hot tip: “Every day in Stockholm for lunch I had sushi, so I eat that a lot. Can I tell you a secret? The sushi at Safeway and Whole Foods is very good.”

And in case any ambassador is following up on this story, I have a few NoVA suggestions:

Dear Elin Suleymanov, the Azerbaijan ambassador, who goes to Blue Duck Tavern and Lebanese Taverna for fixes, try the Azerbaijani-owned Baku Delicious for goods from the Caucasus, Balkans and Europe, plus a rotating, hot lunch from the small kitchen.

For a taste of Ghana, Ambassador Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah should cross over to Alexandria for Calabash, a sweet, small spot for peanut soup, fufu and jollof rice.

And a personal invitation to Cho Yoon-je of South Korea: I don’t know where the best yuk gae jang is, a spicy, shredded beef and vegetable soup, but I am willing to drive you to Centreville and we can go slurping together.

News, events, etc. 

We’re squarely in food hall mania, and Centerville’s Streat Side is the newest to open. [Streat Side]

Adroit Theory will be closing its Purcellville tasting room in a few weeks to renovate: adding more tanks to brew beer, and building a new, bigger, air-conditioned tasting room. [Adroit Theory]

The Lost Fox Hideaway will take over the short-lived Hail & Hog space in One Loudoun. [The Burn]

Alexandria welcomes (with a $30,000 grant from the city) Lost Boy Cider. [Alexandria Living]

Lest you think toast is over, Japan is selling a $270 Bread Oven to perfect the toasting process. [Bloomberg]

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