Beyond Southern Cuisine: An Introduction to Global Dining Experiences in Atlanta

Jamie Schenk, 2nd-year Environmental Health Student

BBQ, collard greens, and grits may be some of the first foods that come to mind when thinking about cuisine in Atlanta. Since Atlanta is located in the South, people typically think of it being associated with solely Southern cuisine. While there are great places to get wonderful Southern food, there are times when I crave the comforts of home.

Home for me is Southern California, and the comfort foods from this region vary from Mexican to Chinese to Vietnamese. Fish tacos, dumplings, and bahn mi sandwiches symbolize what being home is all about. Fortunately, there is a place where I can get my fix for international cuisine in Atlanta, even though I am over 2,200 miles away from home—Buford Highway!

Buford Highway is an international community that spans multiple miles and multiple counties. Creative Loafing’s Atlanta edition named Buford Highway Atlanta’s “Best Neighborhood for Diversity.” It is located just a handful of miles away from the Rollins School of Public Health and is easily accessible.

The following is a list of some of my favorite places on Buford Highway:


Casa Vieja: Sometimes, you just need a good South American steak. Casa Vieja delivers.


Havana Restaurant: Yuca con mojo, maduros, arroz con pollo…oh my! This is the closest you will get to Calle Ocho in Atlanta.


El Señor Taco: The best fish tacos you will get in Atlanta, hands down. Phenomenal salsa bar and jugo de tamarindo!

Nothing like a fried fish taco with fresh, diced tomatoes and crisp cabbage to satisfy my Mexican food cravings.

Taquería El Rey del Taco: Authentic food and atmosphere, and open for (almost) 24 hours a day! You can get your tacos with handmade corn tortillas and accompanied by a nice glass of refreshing Mexican horchata. ¡Qué rico!



Canton House: A wonderful place for a dim sum introduction with its wide variety of dishes and cart service.

Chef Liu: Amazing pastry, from their homemade noodles to their dumplings. The Shanghai juicy pork dumplings are a must, along with the leek pie!

Gu’s Bistro: Spicy Szechuan-style Chinese food…need I say more?!

Kung Fu Tea: Best boba (or bubble tea…depending on where you’re from) in Atlanta. Fresh ingredients, variety of choices, and easily customizable.

Ending any Buford Highway adventure at Kung Fu Tea is always a good idea.

Mini Hot Pot: An amazing Taiwanese adventure! You get to cook your own food in a pot of boiling flavored broth. Come hungry because this is one filling and utterly satisfying meal.

A heaping plate of veggies and tofu, assorted meats, and a boiling pot of flavored broth make for a satisfying and fun eating adventure.


Oriental Pearl: An authentic dim sum experience, complete with cart service.

Sweet Hut: Decent boba with an overwhelming selection of sweet pastry items. There’s free Wifi, which makes it a potential study spot on the weekends.



So Kong Dong: Soon (soondubu jjigae) tofu! Who doesn’t love a spicy bowl of delicious tofu soup on a cold winter day?!

White Windmill Bakery & Cafe: Great Korean bakery with a variety of tasty pastries. There’s free Wi-Fi and it isn’t too loud, so it is also a great study spot.

Woo Nam Jung- Stone Bowl House: Amazing bimbimbop and pancakes! The overwhelming amount of condiments make it an experience to remember.

Endless condiments accompany the piping hot stone bowls for bimbimbop.



Sushi House Hayakawa: Best sushi in Atlanta. Be prepared for a wait though, because the word is out!


Satisfying that sushi craving.


Lee’s Bakery: Best bahn mi sandwiches, and very affordable

Nam Phuong: Amazing vermicelli, pho, and spring rolls. The expansive menu will satisfy every Vietnamese craving you could ever have!

Pho Dai Loi 2: The lack of ambience will be more than made up for with the best pho in Atlanta.

A warm, comforting bowl of pho on a balmy winter day in Atlanta.



Buford Highway Farmers Market: Hard to find delicacies from around the world, from Russia to Australia to Japan!

Chicago Supermarket: Latin American supermarket with a taquería at the back of the store. Tamarind candy and chili spiced dried fruit anyone?

H Mart: Korean supermarket that has a wide variety of Asian delicacies.

And after you eat all of the delicious foods, make sure to sing your heart out at Karaoke Medley 2.

Happy exploring!

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