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8 Great Ethnic Lunches

Posted: 07/26/11 05:32 PM ET

The workday is boring, but your lunch doesn't have to be. Rather than hit yet another deli or diner, take inspiration from the wide variety of options that are commonplace in their native lands but delightfully exotic here, a far cry from the turkey club (nothing against the turkey club) and fries you've come to love so much you don't even get excited anymore. That means it's time to switch it up.

Flip through this slideshow of delicious lunches from around the globe that can all be found a quick walk or drive from your cubicle. When your stomach starts to growl, you've found the one.

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  • Arepas

    Arepas are small corn cakes that are split and filled or topped and eaten open-face style. While they're not found in the U.S. in quite the abundance as their flatter cousin, the taco, arepas are just as ubiquitous in their homelands of Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/19/arepa-best-sandwich-youve-never-had?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating" target="_hplink">Arepa - The Best Sandwich You've Never Had</strong></a>

  • Korean Fried Chicken

    Southern fried chicken, this is not. Korean fried chicken is somewhat of an anomaly: Double-fried, yet somehow ungreasy. It couldn't be improved by stuffing it with cheese or skewering it on a stick. It asks for nothing more than a frosty mug of beer or a refreshing soju cocktail, maybe a side of crunchy pickled radishes or some <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/06/02/weird-or-good-kimchi?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">pungent, flavor-enhancing kimchi</a>. And it is spicy, thanks to a toss in sticky, sweet glaze spiked with firey hot gojujang, Korean red chili paste. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/20/korean-fried-chicken-real-kfc?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating"><strong>Korean Fried Chicken - The Real KCF</strong></a>

  • Chinese Buns

    They're not just for dim sum anymore: Chinese buns, made popular by the rise of elevated Asian cuisine, are taking the food scene by storm. The fact that crispy hunks of pork belly or tender, juicy pork shoulder shreds or thick slices of sweet, succulent char-siu pork often find their way in (oh, there's also pork fat in the bun dough) really only serves to fan the flames of our love for innovative swine-based sandwiches. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/08/bao-power-or-love-buns?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating" target="_hplink"><strong>Bao Power! Or, For The Love Of Chinese Buns</strong></a>

  • Kati Roll

    The Kati Roll Company popularized this traditional Indian street food in New York, but even if you live outside a trendy masala metropolis, our bet is that most Indian places will roll you one if you ask nicely. What is a kati roll exactly? Spiced meats and vegetables of varying levels of heat wrapped in Indian flatbread, like naan or chapati. Some of our favorite things making appearances: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/05/chicken-tikka-salad-recipe?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">Chicken tikka</a>, crisp, tasty paneer (a firm, mild cheese similar to mozzarella), spicy mashed potatoes, tender cauliflower and <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/06/30/tomato-chickpea-curry-chicken-recipe?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">tomato-spiked curried chickpeas</a>. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/01/wrap-update-kati-roll?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating"><strong>Wrap Update - The Kati Roll</strong></a>

  • Bento Box

    Take a look at Flickr's Bento Porn pool and tell us you're not the least bit interested in re-creating Pac Man on a bed of rice using everything in your fridge. They even sell some fairly manly-looking kits online. Traditionally, housewives in Japan pack bentos for their husbands and kids to show they care and send them on their day in style. They can range from elaborate depictions of popular cartoon characters to ocean landscape scenes and any number of <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/05/28/7-awesome-ways-trick-out-your-hot-dog?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">carefully styled hot dogs happy to see you</a>. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/06/10/bento-boxes-think-outside-bag?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating" target="_hplink">Bento Boxes - Think Outside The Bag</strong> </a>

  • Quiche

    Think of quiche like an omelet pie. You've got a bunch of eggs' best pals in there: cheese, bacon, broccoli, ham, ...bacon, cheese... maybe some caramelized onions, asparagus or mushrooms — and the toast is built right in. If you're still not convinced, quiche Lorraine is a good place to start. It features generous helpings of heavy cream, bacon and cheese. So the fact that it's typically accompanied by a salad of "lightly dressed mixed baby greens" shouldn't deter you in the least. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/15/give-us-quiche?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating" target="_hplink">Give Us A Quiche</strong></a>

  • Poutine

    Poutine: One regional genius dish with a million delicious variations. Originating in Quebec as a diner staple, poutine translates as "mess." And when was the last time you ate something messy and covered in cheese, gravy or otherwise delicious sauce (or in this case both) that didn't inspire some serious food love? <br /><br /> Want to make it at home? Follow our <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/03/30/poutine-sauce-recipe-french-fries?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">Poutine sauce for french fries recipe</a> <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/11/poutine-where-good-fries-go?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating"><strong>Poutine - Where The Good Fries Go</strong></a>

  • Falafel

    Owing to the chickpeas — and sometimes fava beans — in the batter and hummus slathered throughout, falafel is high in protein and fiber to keep you sated for the rest of the day. Done right (which if you want, you should do yourself by following our <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/05/12/best-basic-falafel-recipe?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">best basic falafel recipe</a>), the fritters are crispy on the outside and fluffy and moist inside, but since perfect falafel is hard to find, we recommend trying dozens of spots until you find the one that's right for you. <br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/06/03/falafel?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=8-Great-Ethnic-Lunches-Youre-Not-Eating">Falafel, It's What's For Lunch</strong></a>

 

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