Opinion: Fresno’s best international flavors ranked

In its truest form, food is an art.

What makes art beautiful is its ability to be experienced differently by each individual. Similarly, the reception of culinary flavors is also unique to a single palate, with different groups preferring different types of international cuisines.

It does not take a lifelong citizen of the Central Valley to realize that Fresno is rich in diverse multicultural experiences. And if you look hard enough, there is a multitude of different international cuisines found all over the county, many of which may leave you in a culturally sprinkled food coma.

Here are my top five favorite restaurants in Fresno with the best international flavors.

1.  Hacienda Tequilas

Hacienda Tequilas is a quaint Mexican restaurant about a 10-minute drive from Fresno State that serves over 80 different Mexican dishes that are absolutely to die for.

The family-owned business also specializes in over 20 different beverages, most of which are traditional cocktails. It is located at 1414 Clovis Ave., and its business hours usually run from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. It opens from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and is closed every Tuesday. 

From the fresh-as-can-be Jalisco salads, to the heartwarming chile relleno combos, all the way to the Hacienda super burritos fit for a king, it is truly an authentic Mexican experience. With one of the 15 available flavors of margaritas to wash it all down, what more could you ask for?

2.  J Pot

J Pot is one of the few Taiwanese hot pot locations available in Fresno. When eating here, prepare yourself for a hearty meal. Choices range from a multitude of mini hot pot choices, Chinese yakitori, boba tea and many more side options. 

J Pot, ranked no. 2 on the list, is located in the River Park Shopping Center. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

Located in the River Park Shopping Center, the eatery also has its very own sauce station where customers can stack up (and sometimes even mix) the numerous different sauces, along with fresh herbs available as well.

Whether it’s noodles or rice, beef or chicken, soup or dry, refreshingly mild or heavily spiced, J Pot has a place for any palate. It is available Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. J Pot is the perfect place to bring friends and family. 

3. Hadramout Restaurant

Middle Eastern cuisine is the definition of comfort food, but it is also one of the hardest cuisines to perfect. The protein has to be heavily seasoned, with just the right amount of charring without losing its juiciness. The rice has to be fragrant, and doused with the perfect blend of dry spices and herbs. The bread has to be fluffy, with a hint of crunch. The list goes on.

Typically, the meals are hearty, full of flavor and made with love. Hadramout Restaurant does exactly that. Home to a multitude of different Arabic flavors, it is a haven for any foodie willing to appreciate the subtle beauty of Middle Eastern flavors.

Located at 4030 N. Blackstone Ave., this little cottage of culinary heaven is open all through the week from 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. So, head over if you’re looking for a satisfying meal without blowing a hole in your pocket!

4. Golden Dynasty

There is usually a Chinese restaurant on every street corner of the Central Valley, with the same trusty dishes available on most menus. Unfortunately, many Chinese restaurants within Fresno are not too great. The food tends to be bland and dry, with little to no love placed into something as simple as egg fried rice.

But when I first gave Golden Dynasty a try, I was blown away. Run by honest and simple restaurant managers, it is clear with the first mouthful that every dish is prepared with love and authenticity. The honey walnut shrimp, the Peking duck, the Foo Young egg, the salted spareribs. It brings me back to Malaysia every time I eat here. And the best part? It is extremely affordable.

Located at 3201 E. Shields Ave., it is open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day of the week except Monday. Golden Dynasty is definitely worth a try if you are looking for some of the best Chinese food Fresno has to offer!

5. Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine

For the final restaurant choice, it would be wrong of me if I went for anything other than Royal Taj Fine Indian Cuisine. With such a prevalent Indian community within Fresno, it is no surprise that Indian food is a prominent part of the Fresno culinary culture.

Royal Taj, ranked no. 5 on the list, is located at 6735 N. First St., Fresno. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

Royal Taj seems to have perfected the meticulous art of Northern Indian cuisine as it has remained one of the more successful Indian restaurants within the county. The tandoor breads, salads, appetizers, entrees,  beverages, desserts – everything here is of a very high Indian standard. Their top-tier customer service is another factor that keeps bringing me back every single time as well.

For an extremely affordable price, visit Royal Taj now as it opens every Tuesday until Sunday from 11 a.m. – 8:45 p.m. The establishment is located at 6735 N. First St., Fresno.

Next time you and your friends/family are looking for a new place to chow down on some good food, don’t be afraid to try out some of these establishments. Fresno is a diverse community with a long history of culture and art, so let’s actively begin to acclimate our palates to the different culinary experiences available here as well. You never know, your next favorite restaurant could be right in your own backyard! 

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