There was a time when Asian cuisine was an anomaly along Delaware’s coast. Just ask Susan Wood, who was so tired of trekking to Philadelphia to appease her craving that in 1993 she opened the Cultured Pearl, a restaurant and sushi bar in Rehoboth Beach. Since then, restaurants inspired by Asian flavors have popped up along Coastal Highway and in many downtown resort areas. Here are a few to try.
Bangkok Thai Cuisine on Route 1 in Lewes is the sister of the restaurant with the same name in Dover. Here you’ll find the expected chicken satays, Thai basil dishes and curries. However, there’s also a section for soft-shell crab.
Moving down the highway, Saketumi has become popular for its happy hour. Owner Tammy Wang knows a thing or two about pleasing customers with a blend of Asian cuisines (Japanese, Thai and Chinese). She also founded Jasmine in north Wilmington. (Wang and Jeong Hoon are soon opening Miyagi Ramen Bar in the same shopping center as Safeway farther down Route 1 in Rehoboth.)
Minh’s Bistro Vietnamese Restaurant, a new addition, is in the strip center near Route 24 in Rehoboth Beach. It’s located next to Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli in the event you want a giant éclair after pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup.
There are several other options in Rehoboth, including the iconic Cultured Pearl, whose rooftop deck, laced with koi “canals,” sweetens the appeal. The restaurant also offers weekend entertainment.
Lily Thai on North First Street is a gem that not many tourists have mined. It’s small space that’s big on flavor. Pad Thai is a favorite.
Stingray Sushi Bar & Asian Latino Grill on Lake Avenue was started by Darius Mansoory, who founded Mikimotos Asian Grill in Wilmington. Both are now under the Big Fish Restaurant Group umbrella.
The king of Chinese cuisine—in all of Delaware, some maintain—is Confucius on Wilmington Avenue. The restaurant, which opened in 2004, is known for Peking duck and Hunan-style spicy dishes. (Also try the ginger-chicken soup.) Can’t decide? Go on Sundays for the buffet.
New to the mix is Indigo, which recently opened on Rehoboth Avenue. There are plenty of tandoor specialties (made in the clay oven). There’s also a heavenly array of Indian breads.
Misaki Sushi offers such special rolls as marinated tuna and king salmon draped over pretty rice bundles filled with shrimp, avocado and tempura bits. The finishing touch: a mango-pineapple-jalapeño purée and lump crab.
Flying Fish Café and Sushi Bar, which opened in 2013, is the go-to place in Fenwick Island. Specialty rolls like The Bangkok Dangerous significantly up the bar. The flash-fried tuna-and-salmon roll is topped with a muddled pepper blend, jumbo lump crab, spicy mayo and a sweet-and-spicy Bangkok sauce. Be careful not to blow your head off.