If you’re not Chinese, odds are that when you settle into your seat at the semi-fancy Lam’s Garden (2505 E. Colonial Dr., 407/896-0370, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $9) you’ll be handed a green menu and see the expected array of moo goo gai pan, fried rice, and “Imperial Jade Delight”–type dishes. But ask for a red menu and select from a more thoroughly authentic Chinese experience, with dishes like ducks’ feet, steamed fish, water spinach, and more.
Orlando ’s Little Vietnam is home to an extraordinary number of extraordinary Vietnamese restaurants, so in all honesty, if you park your car near the intersection of Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue, you’re likely to find a good Vietnamese eatery. Two of the largest and most popular are Pho 88 (730 N. Mills Ave., 407/897-3488, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, main courses from $7), which specializes in traditional meat-and-noodle soup; and Vietnam Town (1101 E. Colonial Dr., 407/895-9698, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, main courses from $9), which is larger, somewhat fancier (bordering on tacky), and boasting a broader menu that, for those of us who don’t speak Vietnamese, is helpfully illustrated with photos.
Tucked in among all the Vietnamese restaurants is Shin Jung (11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 1:30–10 p.m. Sun., main courses from $15), an excellent eatery that happens to be one of the only Korean restaurants in Orlando. Although the tables are set up so you can barbecue your own meat at the table in the traditional style, you needn’t come prepared to cook; the kitchen dishes up soups and rice and noodle dishes, along with one of the best dol sot bibimbap bowls around. The atmosphere in this converted house, besides being thick with grill smoke, is friendly and comfortable, and it’s almost always crowded.