Best of Denver

Denver's five best non-translated menus

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5. African Grill & Bar A quick glance at this restaurant's menu is enough to make you panic: It lists dozens of dishes, with few of them described in English. (And the pictoral menu, with its grainy photos, isn't a lot of help.) Fortunately, the Ford-wuos, the amicable couple who own the place, are happy to help, and will patiently walk you through every single item on the menu if you like. The effort will pay off with an array of West African specialties that are worth your time. 4. Lao Wang Noodle House You'll find plenty to love on the laminated, double-sided menu that you're handed when you sit down at Lao Wang. But if you're craving something really Taiwanese, those menu slats on the walls covered with Chinese characters list additional dishes. And with a little back and forth conversation, one of the Wangs will help you score innards, beef tendon and pig's ear of that non-translated menu, if you so desire. 3. New Saigon It could take a lifetime to eat through the delightful menu at New Saigon, one of our favorite places to head when we're looking for Vietnamese food that isn't pho. And while we'd be happy to stuff our faces with pork, beef and frogs legs from the English menu, if we didn't venture further afield we'd miss out on beef noodle soup with beef blood, a variety of bun dishes made with bouncy vermicelli, strange preparations of pork ribs, family-style stir frys and special Vietnamese rice cakes.
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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk