At Aurora’s new multipurpose Mango House—part walk-in health clinic and community center, part shopping mall and food hall—immigrant chefs share their culinary traditions. Here’s our guide to the best bites.
Rice noodle dishes may be the star attraction at 37-year-old Siri Tan’s Burmese food stall, but don’t overlook the rest of the menu, which includes expertly fried and ultra-flaky curried vegetable and potato samosas and crunchy, earthy “laphet thoke” (fermented tea leaf salad), which is a riot of textures. The “nan gyi dok,” though, is the true object of our affection: thick, slippery noodles (similar in width and consistency to udon) coated in a rich chicken curry and topped with cilantro, a lime wedge, half of a custardy hard-boiled egg, and crispy fried onions.
Jasmine Syrian Food
When the Alnouri family emigrated from Damascus, Syria, to Aurora two years ago, they didn’t speak more than a few words of English. Today, Mohamad and his parents run their own Mango House food stall, a dream they still can’t believe is their new reality. Fans of Levantine fare will be equally stunned by their silky hummus; chicken shawarma, singing with cumin and lemon; and crisp “kebah” (aka “kibbeh”), which are football-shaped bulgur pockets stuffed with minced lamb, beef, and onions. Portions are generous, as are the happy hosts.
Somalia natives (and spouses) Ayny Aweis and Fauzy Sayid don’t seem at all concerned about spoiling their guests’ appetites by plying them with samples of Aweis’ desserts. The duo is known to hand out free “bur kuku” (rich Somali doughnut holes) while diners ponder ordering the ethereal black-eyed pea fritters called “bajiya” or the likes of the “baris and hilib” plate, which consists of a mountain of fluffy Somali-style spiced rice, tender cubes of marinated beef, two savory sauces (one jalapeño, one coconut), and a fresh side salad. Get both dishes as well as a fragrant cup of Somali chai to go with yet another sweet: the tender, cardamom-scented sponge cake known as “dolsho.”
Nepali Mountain Kitchen
Owners Sarda Siktel and Dharani Dhakal love mountains—be they the Himalayan peaks in Nepal for which the husband and wife named their food stall or the Rockies in their new homeland. Metro Denver diners are fortunate to have them near our foothills, because the city’s dining scene would be worse off without their “jhol momo,” a bowl of comfort holding eight tender, Kathmandu-style vegetable dumplings bobbing in a creamy, sesame-based sauce. Also try the “dal bhat tarkari,” an iconic Nepalese dish that arrives on a shining metal tray complete with brothy lentils (“dal”), aromatic basmati rice (“bhat”), warmly spiced vegetable curry (“tarkari”), and fiery, salty house-made pickles.
Golden Sky Sushi
Chef-owner and Rakhine refugee Khaing Tun’s raw fish station is guided by his passion for Japanese fare as well as the cuisine of his native Myanmar. His menu ranges from shrimp tempura and classic California rolls to a tropical mango iteration and a special named for Tun’s new home: the Denver Roll, with crab, avocado, cucumber, chili sauce, and jalapeño cream cheese.