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Five best bites along international Albemarle Road

by Tom Hanchett

Charlotte food adventurers know Central Avenue and South Boulevard as hot spots for international eating. But have you discovered the Albemarle Road corridor?

The east Charlotte avenue, shooting off from Independence Boulevard, is what I call a “salad bowl suburb.” Businesses aren’t sorted by ethnicity but instead mix randomly like veggies in a tossed salad. Delve into the jumble of unremarkable looking suburban plazas and you’ll discover a global array of mom-and-pop eateries.

Here are my personal favorite small bites along the Albemarle Road corridor — each under $5.

And this is just a start. Explore the Bhutanese groceries at Central Market. Sit down to an Indian feast at Woodlands Pure Vegetarian. Sip Turkish coffee at new Layaly Cafe. The world awaits you.

Alambre tacos with bacon and beef at Las Meras Tortas are just $1.90 each.

Mexican bacon tacos: Las Meras Tortas.
The menu calls these Alambre and says they are kabobs. But it’s bacon, lovely bacon, with grilled onions, bell peppers, ground beef and a whisper of melted cheese. The corn soft tortillas are small, only $1.90 apiece, so get three or four if you are hungry.

Las Meras Tortas
Seven days a week 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

5661 Farm Pond Lane
Charlotte, NC 28212
(704) 563 – 0073

Zech Azazi at Golden Bakery serves up a plate of fatayeh meat pies.

Syrian meat pies: Golden Bakery
Open every day, but the best time is Friday afternoon after midday prayers at Charlotte’s mosques. That’s when sambousas sometimes appear. They look like empanadas — delicately spiced beef or chicken in a crescent of thin pastry. No sambousas? Get the four-cornered meat pies called fatayeh.

Golden Bakery
Seven days a week 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

3145 N. Sharon Amity Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 537 – 4857

“Showing off a Jamaican meat patty.”

Jamaican patties: Island Grocery
Super-flakey rectangles of golden pastry filled with a slurry of beef or chicken. I love going on Saturday, their busiest day, to hear Caribbean accents as I wait in line.

Island Grocery & Restaurant
Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Closed Sunday

5861 Albemarle Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28212
(704) 532 – 0322

At Delicias Restaurant Latino, a Honduran baleada, left, is just $2. At right are two Salvadoran pupusas, $1.90 each.

Honduran baleadas: Delicias Restaurant
The baleada is the Honduran cousin of the quesadilla, a folded flour tortilla loaded with beans as well as cheese. It’s not a small bite, technically, because a single $2 baleada will fill you up. Seeking something smaller? Go with a pupusa. It’s a Salvadoran staple, a corn pancake stuffed with chopped pork and cheese.

Honduran-owned Delicias Restaurant Latino at 6341 Albemarle Road specializes in food from Central America.

Delicias Restaurant Latino
Seven days a week 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

6341 Albemarle Road
Charlotte, NC 28212
(704) 568 – 7766

Meena Chamlagai shows off South Asian style ice cream bars, $1.99 each at Rohan Grocery.

South Asian ice cream: Rohan Grocery
Charlotte’s most recent immigrant wave comes from Himalaya mountain countries adjoining India. Rohan offers traditional clothing, hand-hammered cookware and familiar foods. You’ll want to dip into the freezer by the front door for ice cream bars in flavors of mango, almond, pistachio or coconut.

Rohan Grocery, just off Albemarle Road, offers a wide array of goods from south Asia including Shahi Kuffi ice cream.

Rohan Grocery
Seven days a week 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

3125 Driftwood Drive
Charlotte, NC 28205
(980) 218 – 9008

Center City & nearby
Carolina apple cider
Indian street food
Greens from South Carolina
Upstate NY Italian sausage
Swiss-German bakery
Blackberry memories of Brooklyn
Puerto Rican kabobs
South Boulevard, South Tryon & southward
Mexico + Greece = holiday treats
Cuban box pig
Snack foods from India
SC meets Vietnam
Little corner of El Salvador
Arepas from Venezuela
Indian sweets for Diwali
Colombian soup
Korean at China Wing
Indian food in south Charlotte
Mexican take-out
Mexican Tamaleria
Fort Mill — real Chinese
Ready for Laotian food in Charlotte?
Psst! There’s a European Market hidden just south of Ballantyne
Independence Boulevard, Monroe Road & environs
Nigeria in east Charlotte
Korean BBQ
Brazilian bakery
Secret Greek grocery
Colombian BBQ & snacks
Detroit hot dogs
New York bagels
Halal Latino
Russian-Turkish Grocery
Iran Kabobs in Matthews
Ramen in Matthews
Russian picnic fare
Armenia in Matthews
Katayef – holiday dessert at Pita Kabab in Matthews
Crispy NJ pizza comes to east Charlotte
Central Av, Albemarle Road & vicinity
Family-style Ethiopian
Dominican street food
Jamaican black cake
Somali stew and sides
Schawarma from Jerusalem
Oriental buns
Greek pastries
Bosnian sausages
‘Tis the Season for Champurrado
Latino bakery feeds a region
Taste Monterrey, Mexico
Tamales in Plaza Midwood
One restaurant, three Latino traditions
Guatamala in east Charlotte
Mexican Seafood
You buy – We fry
Dominican Deli
French/Vietnamese pastry arrives in east Charlotte

North Tryon, UNCC area & northward
Asian Moon Cakes
Mexican carnitas
Beef on Weck from Buffalo
Dominican fruit shakes, pressed subs
Mexican ice cream
Louisiana Viet crawfish
Salvadoran comfort food
NYC pastries – Lake Norman
Vegetarian eats from south India
Indian Dosa Night
Middle East via Lynx
Bahn Mi Brothers
Ethiopian sandwiches
Turkish near UNCC
BBQ from Pakistan
Find a taste of Hyderabad at Nawabs Kebabs
The Patio at Our Lady of Guadalupe
NC fish camps
Fried baloney
Grits & cornmeal
El Tamarindo
Laos in Kings Mountain
Lawrence Caribbean
Multiple Places & Food Trucks
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Charlotte’s International food scene
South’s Love Affair with Soft Drinks
5 Places to “Eat Northern”
Northern Favorites: Six More Eateries
Curry journey: Vietnam, Trinidad, India
Spiedies – Food Truck
5 best bites on Albemarle Road
Lao Sausages – Food Truck
Western Indian – Food Truck
Himalayan flavors – Food Truck
Shaved ice goes global in Charlotte