In the not-too-distant past, the West Side Bazaar was mostly just a bustling cultural hub. What if we told you that it now has some of the best food in the city?

by Max Fisher

The Westside Bazaar has great food, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a secondary function of the Bazaar — their primary function is bringing people together

What if I told you that across the street from a Rite Aid on 25 Grant Street, there is a place that arguably has some of the best food in the city? At first glance upon reading this you’d surely think I was sprinkling a pretty heavy dose of hyperbole on this article just to make it more exciting, but in all honesty, I wholeheartedly stand by my claim and assure you that no amount of hyperbole was used during the creation of this piece. In my humble opinion, The Westside Bazaar really is just that good!

In the not-to-distant past, the Bazaar was not just an unassuming top-notch eatery but nothing short of a bustling cultural hub. Upon walking in its doors you’d see people of all races selling homemade clothes as well as jewelry. As you walked back to the food section, you’d hear different languages bouncing from one conversation to another and all different types of people sitting together eating unusual foods that you couldn’t fine in most restaurants in the city. It was truly something to behold.

What you’ll find on any given day at The Westside Bazaar: a bustling mix of people and cultures enjoying an amazing selection of food

The Fooood

Fast forward to present day, and it goes without saying that the Westside Bazaar isn’t bustling in quite the same way as before, but one thing remains strong as ever: the food. The Bazaar currently has eight restaurants open; I’ll be focusing on three of my favorites. (But they’re all good, trust me).

Nine & Night

Nine & Night Thai Cuisine has a varied menu with items ranging from delicious stir-fries to coconut noodles. The portions are always a good size and you can always order more protein, noodles, eggs, etc. if you like, so it’s always nice to have the option. The owner (also head chef) is a master at the subtlety of flavor; so don’t be surprised if you have your mind blown by the mosaic of flavor he creates with each and every dish.

M Asian Halal

M Asian Halal is an Indian restaurant that brings authentic Indian cuisine to its customers; from the spices used to the way each dish is prepared. Choices range from Lassi’s  (a blend of yogurt, water and spices) to different types of curry and chicken dishes among other things. M Asian Halal really turned me on to the idea of curry, prior to which I was not a fan of. Now one of my favorite dishes of all the restaurants is Goat Curry. That’s got to be some pretty persuasive curry right?

Thang’s Family Restaurant

Thang’s Japanese Ramen delivers just what the name implies. If your only exposure to Ramen noodles is the cheap stuff found in college dorm rooms across the country (which was sadly the case for me before I found Thang’s Japanese Ramen) then you are in for a treat. The variety is nothing to scoff at having ramen dishes with a medley of ingredients including seafood to chicken to Unagi  (Japanese for freshwater eel). The noodles and broth are all hand made and you can really taste it with every bite! Thangs goes far beyond just delicious Ramen; they also make great dumplings and Salmon with a sweet chefs sauce that has to be experienced to be believed!

A Foodie’s Must-Try

Yes, the Westside Bazaar has great food, but in the grand scheme of things that is a secondary function — their primary function is bringing people together. Allowing people to taste an authentic expression of someone else’s culture and possibly have a few otherwise hidden doors open up because of it is something truly special. Before the world did a 180 the Westside Bazaar was just as much a communal place as an eatery and even though it’s strictly curbside for the foreseeable future the conversations that spring up when you have good food in front of you continue to go on!

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