Tasting the World

Posted on May 1, 2023 by Grace Olson

Experience Multicultural Cuisine in the Fox Cities

According to the World Food Travel Association, food tourism is “the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.”

Of course, it’s not just the flavors and unique pairings that create the memorable time, it’s the whole package: ambiance, company and the shared experience of trying something new with loved ones.

Thankfully for us in the Fox Cities, we don’t have to book a plane ticket to enjoy traditional fare from around the world. It’s a multicultural haven for those who want to try ethnic dishes and explosive flavors.

From spicy and sweet to savory and satisfying, our area has some of the best of the best:


Big Pot & Grill, Appleton

Lang Lee Lee is no newbie to what it means to be a part of a beloved restaurant in the area. His parents, Fong Lee and Mai Vang own Mai’s Deli in Appleton.

He currently owns Big Pot & Grill, he describes as a “flavor bomb of both Southeast Asia and Cajun seafood flavors.”
“’Viet-Cajun’ has its origins from the Vietnamese communities down south in Texas and Louisiana,” he explains. “The flavor profile of Viet-Cajun combines the aromatic and citrusy vietnamese flavors with great cajun seasonings and spices. The combination of these flavors blend so well that it has become an instant success in both Asian and non-Asian communities in the south.”

“However, Big Pot and Grill takes this flavor profile one step further by drawing upon a heavier influence of Thai flavors; thus, making this restaurant a “Thai-Viet-Cajun” Seafood boil by combining all three elements. Thai flavors can often be sweeter and more sour, which is apparent in some of our seafood sauces.”

Most popular dishes: Seafood Boils. “We offer a wide variety of combos that come with a mix of different seafoods, or anyone can order the Build-Your-Own, which allows for more customization of preferred seafood choices. One popular combo seafood boil is the Dinner Pot Combo, which comes with 1 pound of shrimp, 1 pound of crawfish, 1 pound of mussels, 1 cob of corn and 2 potatoes.

“Other competitors tend to use spice extracts, which can often be overwhelming or completely change the flavor of the sauces. Outside of seafood dishes, we offer raw oysters from Wednesdays through Saturdays (with a limited quantity). We rotate the brand of oysters on a weekly basis to ensure that we get the freshest possible oysters. Many people are still hesitant to try oysters, but we recommend trying them at least once at our restaurant.”


Apollon, Appleton

A Greek and Mediterranean restaurant founded by the late Stavros Kodis, Apollon in Appleton offers four-course fine dining in an intimate Mediterranean themed environment.

Current owner and executive chef, Modesto Santander, was mentored by Kodis and continues to keep his memory alive.

“I have carried on with traditional recipes he brought from Greece such as Avgolemono Soup, a Greek eggplant and lamb casserole called Moussaka, and homemade Galaktoboureko, which is a dessert made from custard and layers of filo pastry,” Santander explains. “For a true Greek experience we offer Saganaki, which is a hot Greek cheese lit on fire right in front of the guests or have a rack of lamb flamed tableside.”

Most popular dishes: Spanikopita (spinach pie) or lamb. “It’s prepared in numerous ways such as the traditional rack, lamb tenderloins with saffron sauce and lamb sofrito, which is slow cooked or braised several hours with vegetables and balsamic,” Santander says.

“Our experienced team will create a relaxing and intimate time for guests, making suggestions on pairing our homemade entrees with our diverse selection of Greek wines and more.”


Sharays Ghana Style Brittle, Various locations

Yaw Asare and Orson Fournillier, Owners of Gold Coast Candy and, specifically, Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle describe the sweet snack as being based on a traditional West African snack called nkate cake, which translates into “peanut cake.”

“The purpose of Sharay’s Ghana Style Brittle is to provide a nutritious and delicious snack that brings people together, promotes cultural understanding and celebrates the rich heritage of traditional West African cuisine,” they say. “Through its products, Sharay’s seeks to make a positive impact on people’s lives, health, and well-being, and to create a community of candy connoisseurs who appreciate quality, uniqueness, and wholesome goodness.”

The pair explain that Ghana Style Brittle has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and holds a rich nut flavor with gently roasted chopped nuts spread over every piece; there is no corn syrup, baking soda or butter. It is vegan and gluten-free.

Current flavors include “Simply Delicious Peanut Brittle,” Smooth and Creamy Cashew Brittle,” Amazing 3-Seed Brittle” and Adventure-in-Your Mouth Pistachio Brittle.” Up next: “Pecan Brittle,” “Almond Brittle” and “Spicy Mixed Nut Brittle.”

The West African snack can be found at Appleton and Oshkosh Saturday farmers markets, as well as the Green Bay Wednesday market. Visit to find more locations.

Lindo Michoacan Authentic Mexican Restaurant, Appleton

“A restaurant that serves authentic, unique, fresh and delicious Mexican cuisine with a full bar and specials Monday through Friday” is how owner Pedro Juarez describes the Fox Cities favorite.

“We offer handmade tortillas daily,” he further explains. “Many of our dishes include them and our tacos of course. Our handmade tortillas are available by the dozen or half as well. We also offer many unique meats that are very popular in Mexico. Beef tongue, cabeza (beef head), tripa (small intestines of the cow), and chicharrón (fried pork skin) are all included.We always recommend new customers to try out these meats during our Taco Tuesday special! $1.99 tacos from open to close.”

Most popular dishes: Quesabirria tacos. “We serve three quesabirria tacos with a side of the broth from the cooked meat and sides like limes, onion, cilantro and rice. Our quesabirria tacos are made with shredded beef, melted cheese and cooked with our homemade guajillo sauce,” Juarez explains. “We also offer it raman style. Tacos are another popular item, we have over 10 different meats to pick from! All served on handmade tortillas.

“If you haven’t yet, we invite you to stop in to dine in or carry out. We have something on the menu for everyone! We offer gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options. We welcome large or small parties at all times. We hope to see you soon!”


The Jerk Joint, Appleton

For “food that warms the soul,” The Jerk Joint in Appleton delivers both to-go and dine-in options. The Trinidadian restaurant celebrates four years this year, offering locals the taste of the island (without paying an arm and a leg), owners Roderick and Fay Godwin say.

“We think of ourselves as Trinidad/American, so Caribbean fusion,” they further. “We bring old traditional dishes plus amazing burgers, quesadillas, burritos.

“We started the business to create a family business plus bring Appleton our unique flavors. (What) we want to teach is that jerk doesn’t mean spicy—all our dishes start mild and we can add spice as ordered.”

Most popular dishes: Jerk Ribs, Oxtails and Curry Goat.


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