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Sacramento Boomer

Stay Local, Eat Global: 6 Must-Try Dishes

Few people outside of our area recognize Sacramento as a mecca for global cuisine. No, it’s not on the level of Baghdad by the Bay, but there are definitely some nuggets waiting to be discovered for the adventurous that are willing to search. Here are six we feel are worthy of the quest.

1) Stone Pot Bibimbap at Blue House Korean BBQ

Stone Pot Bibimbap

A sizzling pot of aromatic seasoned vegetables, sesame oil, tongue-singing chili paste, and a fried egg over rice. The vapors wafting up from this Korean comfort food are intoxicating. Originally a vehicle for disposing of leftovers before the lunar new year, bibimbap has become a favorite in Korean-American restaurants. 1030 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, 916-646-2004,; 2030 Douglas Boulevard, Roseville, 916-472-6598,

2) Nasi Rames at Bali Kitchen

Nasi Rames

Bali Kitchen is “The only Indonesian restaurant in the Sacramento area,” according to their website, and even if they had competition, I have a feeling they’d still be number one. I reached out to my Indo-food-loving friends for their favorite dish and got the same answer: nasi rames. I tried it and can confirm that the combination plate of spicy rendang (coconut beef stew), lodeh (vegetables in coconut curry), and pork or chicken satay skewers is indeed lezat (delicious). 1100 Front Street, Suite 150, Sacramento, 916-446-4008,

3) Paella Valenciana at Aïoli Bodega Española

Paella Valenciana

This classic, saffron-infused Spanish rice dish—featuring shrimp, mussels, calamari, chicken, and pork—is served family-style (though it’s so good you may not want to share). The combination of smoked paprika, luxurious seafood stock, and saffron rice conspire to create immense flavor and one of the finest textural components in the culinary world: soccarat (crunchy rice). 1800 L Street, Sacramento, 916-447-9440,

4) Kabeli Palow at Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant

Kabeli Palow 

Known for its friendly service and unique meat dishes, this family-owned dine-in or takeout Afghan eatery is also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly with a full bar to boot. Even the most carnivorous diners can’t get enough of the Kabeli Palow—a cardamom-spiced dish with seasoned almonds, plump raisins, carrots, eggplant, pumpkin purée, and fluffy rice. 1121 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-8787,

5) Magret de Canard a L’Orange at Brasserie Capitale

Magret de Canard a L’Orange

Translated to “duck breast in orange sauce,” this classic French dish is always a favorite. Prepared with farm-raised duck, orange marmalade, Grand Marnier, and a little sherry, once you try it, you’ll marvel at its delicious complexities…and crave it again and again. 1201 K Street, Suite 100, Sacramento, 916-329-8033, 

6) Pork Belly and Uni at Kru

Pork Belly

The ability and vision to incorporate a sansho pepper gastrique with sturgeon “chicharrón” and California uni separate top chefs from us mere mortals. Chef Ngo’s piquant pepper sauce with crispy sturgeon skin, buttery pork belly, and briny uni combine elements of French, Spanish, and Japanese for the rest of us to savor. 3135 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, 916-551-1559,  

By Lorn Randall