Above: Fried, yet light and crisp: Nobody does tempura vegetables better than Miyabi 9.

Given the extensive menus at many ethnic restaurants, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some can’t-miss dishes at some of our favorite globally focused spots.  

Empanadas at Mi Patria: Empanadas—savory hand-held pastries filled with meat or cheese—are a signature snack in Central and South America. Every meal at this casual Ecuadoran venue should start off with an order of the warmly spiced, blistery-crisp half-moons. But share ’em—they’re huge. 

Green Curry at Thai Flavors: The amazing-ness of this coconut-milk-laced, aromatically spiced, sweet-salty-spicy-nutty curry is hardly breaking news. Indeed, loving this dish is almost like loving the medley on the B-side of Abbey Road. Who doesn’t? Still, it never gets old. 

Pork and Egg Roll Bùn at Aroy Dee: This vermicelli rice-based dish is a study in contrasts: Savor warm, chewy-in-a-good-way pork with cool and crunchy vegetables and soft and slippery white noodles, with chopped eggrolls for yet another crisp and savory dimension. 

Tacos at Fernando’s Mexican Grill: Here, they wait until you order to press the dough balls into tortilla disks—how fresh is that? Top them with moist, seasoned steak bits, pico de gallo, salsa verde and cilantro-flecked red onions for taco-truck-fresh, killer-good tacos that you can enjoy indoors, all year round. 

Vegetable Tempura at Miyabi 9: Forget all the lackluster versions of tempura you’ve ever endured, because here’s your new gold standard (pictured, above). The off-the-beaten-path mix of vegetables (which can include such wild cards as okra, Japanese lotus and kohlrabi) arrives with a heavenly fried coating that’s generously dappled yet impossibly light and crisp.