One of the best ways to celebrate and experience Asian culture in Indy is through food. You can grab a cup of boba tea, meet with friends for some Korean BBQ, or order your favorite Indian dish. You’ll even find a lot of cool Burmese restaurants around town because Indianapolis has the largest Burmese population outside of Burma!
If you want to the support Indy’s AAPI community, check out a local Asian-owned restaurant. No matter what you’re craving, there’s no limit to the types of Asian cuisine you can explore. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots for your next meal.
1. MAMA’S KOREAN
The authentic Korean cuisine of Mama’s has been passed down through many generations straight to your plate. Altogether, Mama’s has been open for over 30 years, providing the Indy community with memorable meals and traditional foods. The Korean BBQ experience is unlike any other dining experience, and it’s a perfect activity for a group of people to enjoy together. All the specialty BBQ meals are prepared over an open flame right at your table. You can also order hot pots and watch your food cook right on your plate!
Must try: Kahl-Bee BBQ for the table. Pro tip: don’t shy away from the banchan (small side dishes). They’re free with the meal and delicious!
Asaka is a Japanese restaurant owned by a family from Kumamoto, Japan. They serve authentic Japanese cuisine and sushi that you’re sure to enjoy. They’re open Thursday through Sunday, but you should plan to arrive early if you’re going during their peak hours. This beloved spot tends to get full very fast! Asaka also offers a number of different specials. If you’re looking to save money, you can check out their happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for sushi on a budget! On Sundays, they exchange sushi for a seafood noodle special. You can order this unique dish with ramen, udon, or soba noodles along with some great appetizers for your table.
Must try: The Asaka Ramen is definitely a go-to, but hit up their Instagram for any other daily specials and deals!
Sakura has been a fan favorite in the Indianapolis area since 1986. Fans are so loyal that the restaurant even developed a “Sakura VIP” program for regulars. They specialize in noodle- and rice-based Japanese dishes as well as sushi, and they pride themselves on their friendly service and loyal staff. So, you’ll find yourself in a welcoming environment if you stop in for a meal. Sakura has even announced that they’re planning to launch their first food truck this summer!
Must try: Sukiyaki—a traditional Japanese dish that consists of noodles, veggies, broth, and rice. It can be difficult to find places that even serve this dish, and Sakura’s version hits the spot!
Few things in life are better than a warm bowl of ramen and a glass of boba tea. Lucky for us, Yujo specializes in both! Their staff is trained to work with you to figure out which of their ramen and boba tea options you will most enjoy! The owner, Paul Yu, even attended the Tokyo Ramen Academy in Japan and brings those authentic flavors and techniques right here to Indianapolis. Yujo says their secret to the perfect bowl of ramen is a balance and synergy between its five essential elements: broth, tare, oils, toppings, and noodles. Check them out and find your perfect pairing.
Must try: Don’t ask us… Ask one of the staff members trained to figure it out for you!
5. TEGRY BISTRO
Tegry Bistro combines classic Asian cuisine with modern techniques to create a fresh and unique dining experience. The restaurant’s pristine interior gives guests a night to remember, and their innovative dishes taste like luxury while still maintaining a reasonable price tag. Tegry is an unbeatable spot for a dine-in experience that will satisfy your tastebuds.
Must try: Crunch Spicy Tuna Roll. This one is a picture-perfect fan favorite! We still have dreams about this roll….
6. INDIA GARDEN
India Garden’s menu offers a variety of delicious North Indian delicacies. They even sear their meat in a traditional tandoori clay oven. Each dish has a rich blend of spices and herbs that make every bite memorable. You can order multiple entrees for the table and share it family style. The garlic naan pairs beautifully with essentially any entree you load onto your plate, so you’ll likely find yourself coming back for more!
Must try: Chicken Curry. Just choose your spice level wisely, folks.
7. CHAO VIETNAMESE
Chao brings you the best of the best of Vietnamese street food… minus actually being on a street in Vietnam. Instead, they’re bringing these authentic flavors right to our home in Indiana. The owners have traveled the world and eaten at five-star restaurants, but they realized that their favorite meal was always the cheap street food they got back in their hometown in Vietnam.
Must try: Pork Banh Mi. This flavor-packed sandwich is a Vietnamese street food staple. Close your eyes tight enough, and you might even feel like you’re there!
8. BODHI THAI
Who doesn’t want a craft cocktail with their pad thai? Bodhi Thai is just as much of an expert in drinks as it is in Thai food! Three generations of Thai women own this restaurant, passing down the grandmother’s family recipes. Meanwhile, the younger generations help create their delicious cocktails with a Thai twist. The family works together in the kitchen every day, concocting new dishes and drinks while staying true to authentic methods and flavors. But be warned: if you’re looking to dine-in, this restaurant is a 21 and over establishment!
Must try: Thai Iced Tea Cocktail with bourbon, rye, spiced ginger liqueur, demerara sugar, orange peel, and housemade Thai iced tea. Yum!
9. What The Phở
What The Phở doesn’t just have a clever name—its menu also offers a a creative blend of Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine. This restaurant is sure to have the perfect meal for you, whether you’re craving a bowl of their steaming Vietnamese noodle soup or some savory Chinese pot stickers. You can fill your phở with beef, chicken, shrimp, or crab, but don’t forget to try some of their delicious appetizers! Their menu features starters such as fresh spring rolls, Vietamese pancakes, and crab rangoons.
Must try: The Banh Mi Vietnamese Sandwich is offered as a special during lunch and dinner and can be served with your choice of protein.
10. SHALIMAR INDIAN RESTAURANT
Shalimar is a family-owned restaurant that has been operating since 1994 and boasts high-quality dishes inspired by Northern Indian cuisine. Their unique spices and aromas take center stage at this spot, transporting customers across the world for a traditional Indian meal. The menu here is highly customizable for your spice tolerance, although we encourage you to challenge yourself to some legit Indian heat.
Must try: Vegetable samosas. No entree dish is complete without a pile of these on the side—trust us!
If you enjoy any of these spots, be sure to share with your friends! It’s important to show love and support for Asian communities, just like we do for their food. Consider donating or check out more resources on supporting the AAPI community here.
You Might Like
On June 28th, Eli Lilly and Company sponsored a collaborative event with Visit Indy called the Learn About Indy and Brand Yourself Workshop. During this event, we were able to learn about some incredible new developments and events coming to Indy. Many people in our...
A LOOK BACK AT THE ENTIRE 2023 INDYFLUENCE PROGRAMIndyfluence is a four week internship program based on three pillars: MEET INDY, LEARN FROM INDY, and GIVE BACK TO INDY. The MEET INDY program pillar connected interns to important local events and organizations to...
Congratulations to all of our interns on completing the 2023 Indyfluence program! The last four weeks have been jam packed with amazing events, activities, and content to help you MEET INDY, LEARN FROM INDY, and GIVE BACK to INDY! Time has really flown by, but we hope...
After a long day of work, you might want to get out and enjoy a night in the city with your friends. Whether you prefer a drink at a bar, some high-energy concert music, or even a magic show — Indianapolis has everything to offer. Here are a few of the best ways to...