Kitfo photo by Laura Hayes
Kitfo photo by Laura Hayes

We all know that dining costs are pricier in the city than in the suburbs, where rents and cost of living generally are cheaper. But which crave-worthy ethnic dishes are worth traveling for and which are considered a draw based on price alone? Know when to take the trip and when to skip it. 

Infographic by Stephanie Rudig

Xiao Long Bao

What it is: Chinese soup dumplings that leak broth onto a spoon when pierced properly

City: $36 for six at Ten Tigers Parlour (3815 Georgia Ave. NW)

Suburbs: $7.35 for six at Bob’s Shanghai 66 (305 N Washington St., Rockville)

Verdict: Worth the trip


What it is: an Ethiopian dish of raw (or cooked) minced beef, clarified butter, and a spice blend called mitmita

City: $13.25 at Dukem (1114-1118 U St. NW)

Suburbs: $13.95 at Enat Restaurant (4709 N Chambliss St., Alexandria)

Verdict: Draw

Banh Mi

What it is: a Vietnamese sandwich consisting of meat, pickled vegetables, pâté, chilies, and other ingredients on a French baguette

City: $8.50 for a lemongrass pork banh mi with pâté at Simply Banh Mi (1624 Wisconsin Ave. NW)

Suburbs: $3.95 for a grilled pork banh mi at Banh Mi DC Sandwich (3103 Graham Road, Falls Church)

Verdict: Worth the trip

Sapporo-style Miso Ramen

What it is: ramen from Northern Japan characterized by the addition of miso, which enhances the umami flavor

City: $13.75 at Haikan (805 V St. NW)

Suburbs: $11 at Ren’s Ramen (11403 Amherst Ave., Silver Spring)

Verdict: Draw

Chicken Tikka Masala

What it is: a vibrant red, creamy Indian curry adopted by the British as a national dish in 2001 containing chunks of chicken punched up with garam masala and other spices

City: $14 at Indigo (243 K St. NE)  or $18 at Rasika (633 D St. NW)

Suburbs: $17 at Jewel of India (10151 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring) or $16 at Spice Xing (100-B Gibbs St., Rockville)

Verdict: Draw

Dolsot Bibimbap

What it is: a Korean rice bowl dish served in a sizzling hot stone pot with beef and vegetable toppings

City: $16 at Mandu (1805 18th St. NW)

Suburbs: $9 at Kogiya (4220-A Annandale Road, Annandale)

Verdict: Worth the trip