Smile Politely

Take the flavorful dive into A Taste of Both Worlds

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Broadway Food Hall over the years, usually when I’m looking for a lunch option around Downtown Urbana. When you’re indecisive but know you want something to eat, BFH offers several options for people like me that might not totally be sure what I want to eat that day. Being a creature of habit, I usually frequent La Royale for a cheeseburger or a sandwich (Nation’s menu has been combined with La Royale), or Muchacho for a rice bowl. I hadn’t yet made the jump to try A Taste of Both Worlds, the Filipino-Cambodian fusion restaurant that opened just last January. When we were divvying up assignments for which restaurants to go eat at for Visit Champaign County’s Restaurant Week, I decided to go for A Taste of Both Worlds. Despite their offerings being standard menu options, Restaurant Week is a time to try something new, so my wife and I made a trip over there on Tuesday afternoon.

We were greeted by the friendly employee of the restaurant who explained that our options were three menu items: signature beef short ribs ($13.50), famous sisig ($10.50), and stuffed wings ($10.50). We decided to order two of those and split them: the signature beef short ribs and the famous sisig. We were able to augment the orders a bit to include fried rice with one and garlic rice with another for no charge. This was an upgrade from their standard offering of jasmine rice as a side with each dish. All told between tax and tipping 20%, we spent about $31 and didn’t have to wait very long for our lunch to be served to us.

A plate of short ribs, fried rice, and a bowl of cucumber salad

Photo by Anna Longworth.

These were two dishes that were easily shared, so we dove in. Though we spent our time going between the dishes, I’ll start with a recap of the short ribs which came with a fresh cucumber salad as a bit of a palette cleanser. The short ribs were very tasty and packed with flavor, despite being a little tough as they were ever so slightly overcooked. But not to worry, the flavors made up for that, and we were most certainly pleased. Ours was served with six short ribs, easily eaten by hand, so no need to use a fork and knife to cut those suckers. The fried rice accompanied this dish serving as a nice sidekick and not something I’d typically expect to eat with short ribs. While the rice could’ve been a bit warmer, it was totally acceptable and tasty. 

Moving onto the sisig — traditionally a Filipino offering — it was really the star of the two dishes we took down at our visit. You can choose between pork and chicken or a combo of the two. We opted to go with a combination of the two, though, in my brain, I wasn’t quite sure if I should do that because it didn’t seem like a combination I’d usually go for. But what the hell, why not? The meat came chopped into little pieces which made the pork and chicken fairly indistinguishable from one another, stir-fried with garlic, onions, ginger, and just had a terrific citrus flavor. Add a drizzle of lime juice all over that thing, and you have yourself quite the delicious punch of citrus to go alongside the gingery dish. The meat was tender, delicious, and not too overwrought with citrus: just enough to make it shine.

A plate of chicken and pork, a serving of white rice, and a lime

Photo by Anna Longworth.

The sisig packed a little bit extra punch with chopped chili peppers on top of it which felt like such a subtle addition to give it an extra flavor that you wouldn’t totally expect at first glance. This dish truly highlighted a traditionally Filipino dish with a few Cambodian staple flavors: ginger, citrus, and pepper spice. The dish was a lovely combination, true to the name of the restaurant.

Overall, I would call our visit to A Taste of Both Worlds a successful adventure. Their offerings for Restaurant Week weren’t necessarily “special” for the occasion by any means but certainly a nice introduction to the menu if you’re looking to try this for the first time like we were. I will most definitely add the restaurant to my rotation for my lunch visits to Broadway Food Hall.

A Taste of Both Worlds
401 N Broadway Ave
T-F 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Top image by Anna Longworth.

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