1231 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando | mamakeats.com
Try this: Roti Canai and Kari Meatballs
You won’t be able to resist this stylish stop offering some of the tastiest Southeast Asian street-style fare around. The concept’s namesake, pronounced “Mah-Mahk,” comes from the term for a street vendor or food stall in Southeast Asia. These stalls are owned and operated by chefs putting their own spin on traditional recipes. The Lo Family built Mamak upon this idea and brought their homegrown recipes to the table, many of which came straight from their grandparents. Don’t leave without trying dishes like their Roti Canai ($3.00) a traditional crispy Malaysian flatbread toasted till golden brown, crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, served with their signature spicy coconut kari gravy, or the charcoal-grilled Satay chicken or beef skewers ($7.50) The Kari Mee noodle soup ($10.50), a Malaysian staple, is hearty, filling and generous enough to share (if you want to). -C.W.
1555 FL-436, Suite 1171, Winter Park | kaistreetfare.com
Don’t miss: Crispy Wings and Gojira
These two brothers from different mothers lean on their Vietnamese, Thai and other Asian influences to come up with flavorful dishes to satisfy any craving. Everything at Kai Asian Street Fare is cooked to order and is mouth-wateringly delicious. Kai Asian also boasts the awards to back up their claims, winning the 2019 Ramen Rumble Championship and winning back-to-back Foodie Awards for Best Wings in Orlando. Try their Spicy Tang Wings (5 for $10.50), and add Korean gochujang, a crowd favorite for those who like it spicier. Their chili soy wontons are a can’t-miss dish ($8.00). Ramen here is big enough for two, so tuck into the Tonkotsu Ramen ($18.00) available for dinner only. -C.W.
45 W. Crystal Lake St., Suite 180, Orlando | aoscastle.com
Try this: The Toadfu
This SODO district darling is nestled on the ground level of the Target Shopping Plaza on Orange Avenue, and has a unique and fun Nintendo Bowser-themed interior. Bao’s Castle serves up a wide range of bao, a warm fluffy bun stuffed with amazing ingredients. Try the Sidestepper, a fried soft shell crab with apple-kimchi and dressed arugula ($4.75). Fair warning: it’s spicy! The Fiesta, a bao filled with braised short rib and topped with pico de gallo, and mojo sauce ($4.25) is flavorful and filling. Vegetarians and meat eaters alike can tuck into the Toadfu, featuring panko-crusted tofu served with kimchi cucumber, pickled onions and sake aioli. -C.W.
217 N. Magnolia, Orlando | orlandothaicafe.com
Don’t miss: Tom Yum Soup and Spring Rolls
This unassuming downtown spot on Magnolia serves up some of the most delectable Thai food in the city. Family-owned and -operated since 2001, Thai Cafe has become a well-loved fixture in Downtown Orlando’s food scene. Head Chef Noi, known affectionately as ‘Mama’ to regulars, brings you comforting family recipes in an intimate setting in the heart of Orlando. Tom Yum Soup ($4.95), Peanut Chicken ($9.95) and Spring Rolls ($2.95), should be on your list to try. Mama’s Drunken Noodles, with Thai basil, onions, bell peppers, wide flat rice noodles and your choice of protein ($9.95-$10.95) also hit the spot. -C.W.
1216 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando
Don’t miss: Banh Mi Dac Biet: House Special Sandwich
This cash-only hidden gem in Mills 50 is worth the effort of finding it! Nha Trang Subs is run by a local family with some serious sandwich-making skills. After you receive a friendly greeting, order from the menu on top of the display case. Banh mi subs are $3.50 each unless you want extra meat ($4.00). If you prefer to have your sub toasted, let them know ahead of time. One taste is all it takes to be hooked on these amazing sandwiches, featuring contrasting flavors and textures, all prepared in-house. They also have a special if you purchase five sandwiches, you get one free, so by all means—load up. -C.W.
710 N. Mills Ave., Orlando | king-bao.com
Don’t miss: Inner Harbor and Mr. Potato Head with Truffle Tots.
Long live the King! King Bao popped up in Mills 50 at the corner of Colonial and Mills in 2016, and word quickly spread about this unsung fast-casual gem with gourmet steamed buns, amazingly good tots and great specials (if you ever see the Lobster Roll on the menu, GET IT). Walking in is a treat, as the smell of all the fresh ingredients and flavors hit you all at once. They recently updated their interior with new murals and seating, and replaced the old whiteboard menu with a digital one.
Where to start? King Bao’s Hogzilla is a no-brainer: thick-cut braised pork belly, pickled carrots, daikon, ground honey roasted peanuts and cilantro in a bao bun ($3.50) will leave you satisfied. Or opt for the Glen Rhee Bao filled with braised, marinated Korean beef, Fuji apple salsa, and cilantro (also $3.50). But whatever you do, don’t forget about the tots! If truffle is your jam, an order of the Truffle Tots will do you good ($3.00), or try the Fire Tots ($3.00), tossed in sriracha aioli, jalapenos, togarashi and chives. -C.W.
3922 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando | peterskitchencb.business.site
Try this: Taro Dumplings and Siu Mai
Peter’s Kitchen is a staple in Orlando, located on Colonial Drive. They specialize in Hong Kong cuisine like Chinese barbecue and fresh seafood, but it’s their dim sum that really shines. Options are plentiful, and so is the food. Shrimp dumplings ($4.95), Pork & Shrimp Siu Mai ($3.85), and the Steamed Roast Pork Buns ($3.85) are great forays into the world of dim sum. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Get the Crispy Taro Dumplings ($3.85), only available until 3:00 p.m. daily. -C.W.
6215 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando | bombaykitchenorlando.com
Try this: Chura Vada Pav and Kale Chaat
Come explore the spirit of Indian Street Food Culture from the moment you enter Bombay Street Kitchen to the moment you leave and start planning your return! The eatery has recently relocated to a beautiful new spot on Orange Blossom Trail in South Orlando, and offers some of the best examples of unique Indian culture direct from the streets of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and beyond. Get the Dahi Bhalla Papri Chaat, lentil balls with spiced yogurt and chutneys ($7), or the Tandoori Vegetable Momo (grilled vegetable dumplings) for $8. On a recent visit, we couldn’t get enough of the Kale Chaat ($6), a vibrant and colorful mix of crispy-fried kale, yogurt and chutneys, topped with jewel-like pomegranate seeds. Save room for dessert, because Bombay offers a Gola Station (all flavors are $5). -C.W.
1915 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando | www.facebook.com/StickyRiceStreetFood
Don’t miss: Shrimp Chips and Sai Oua
If you drive by too fast you just might miss Sticky Rice Lao Street Food, a tapas-size Laotian restaurant on Colonial Drive in the Mills 50 district. Bucket list-level items include the shrimp chips ($3.00), and Sai Oua, or Lemongrass Pork Sausage ($6.00). Popular in Laos and northern Thailand, the sausage is usually served alongside another regional favorite, sticky rice ($2.00), to create a contrasting and layered dish, so order a side to complete the experience. -C.W. -C.W.
1212 Woodward St., #6, Orlando | mingsbistro.com
Try this: Roast Duck Sampler and the Pineapple Bun
When you see the line of people standing outside, you know you’ve arrived at Ming’s Bistro. Offering authentic Chinese cuisine and delicious dim sum in the heart of Mills 50, Ming’s affordable prices and large menu are as appealing to locals as their fresh, high-quality ingredients are. Insider Tip: Go to the desk at the back of the restaurant to request to be seated. Once you settle in, try the Baked Pineapple Bun ($3.75), Roast Duck Sampler ($7.95), and Steamed Roast Pork Buns ($3.75). Ming’s Bistro is dine-in, or order online for takeout; they don’t currently offer delivery. -C.W.
Go back to the Cheap Eats Guide