Some folks can't wait to dig into a home-style Thanksgiving Day dinner. Others, well, not so much.
So if you're sans Turkey Day plans or just want to try something off the traditional path, here's a few tasty and affordable favorites that will be open (and not serving turkey) on Thanksgiving.
Turkey with stuffing? How 'bout fish rolls stuffed with Chinese sausage and onion? Chef Jian Yu and his family serve up authentic and flavorful Cantonese fare at this hidden-in-plain-sight gem in Central Phoenix. Ask for the Chinese menu and look for stellar dishes such as tender black pepper beef filet, curry powder covered Singapore rice noodles, or Yu's specialty: the clay pot. Where anything that comes out of it -- from beef brisket and daikon, to mutton and bean curd, to curly strands of pork stomach -- is truly something to be thankful for.
For a Thanksgiving feast with a lot of Seoul (sorry) you could do worse then spend some time at this spot of flavorful Korean cuisine in Glendale. Let owners and chefs Nick Rocha and Sun Johnson serve you and yours traditional favorites such as seafood pancakes, Korean fried chicken, jap chae, or a variety of soups and stews like the spicy and seafood-heavy cham pong, Korean stew with tofu called haemul soon du bu, or the refreshingly cold noodle dish naeng myun.
Thanksgiving is a shared meal, so why not move the sentiment into Ethiopian cuisine at Abebech Ejersa's new East Phoenix home of enticing scents and bold flavors. Traditional wat platters are the go-to dish, but hot bowls of fragrant yebeg tibs (lamb marinated in garlic and rosemary) and kaywot yesiga (cubed beef with a slightly Southwestern flavor) also are excellent. Java lovers should make sure to call ahead and reserve a spot at Ejersa's must-experience Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
Nothing says a special meal like home-spun recipes. And at this unpretentious eatery in Tempe, Farah Khalid serves hers up Indo-Pak style. Don't miss traditional favorites such as chapli kebab (spicy ground-beef patty), goat karahi (garlicky and tender goat served on a bed of tomatoes and onions), and palak paneer (creamy, dark green spinach and Indian cottage cheese). Along with the well-seasoned, marinated meat dishes, you'll find more than a few tasty vegetarian options, too.
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Who says a Japanese dinner on Thanksgiving Day has to be expensive? Grab the gang and head out to this popular Ahwatukee Foothills restaurant (from the former proprietors of Tucson's Sushi Ten) for affordable sushi and straightforward, family-size meals. Try the uni, mackerel, and chirashi, or "scattered" sushi, as well as savory ramen noodle soup, tempura, and crispy tonkatsu pork. Forget the pumpkin pie. For dessert, you'll want the cold, sweet jelly served with fruit dish called mitsumame.