Smile Politely

Taking a culinary trip with A Taste of Both Worlds

When my editor recommended that I try A Taste of Both Worlds, the new Filipino and Cambodian restaurant in Urbana, I could not wait to try the food and to share snippets of the menu.

Since Broadway Food Hall is operating on limited hours due to COVID-19, it took me a while to find the time to visit the establishment. I have also tried to place an order through food-ordering apps but their typical wait time has been around 40 to 50 minutes which required some planning ahead. Last week, I was finally able to place an order on UberEats in advance and go to Broadway Food Hall to pick up the food in person.

I ordered tilapia, three pieces of stuffed chicken wings, sisig tacos with mixed meat, A Taste Of Both World’s famous sisig with mixed meat option, and two pieces of turon. The service was swift, and I appreciated that the host took the effort to check for leakage on each of the packaged menu items. Although Broadway Food Hall offers a dine-in option for visitors, I opted to bring the food home and eat. 

An overhead image of takeout from A Taste of Both Worlds with all the food in a variety of sizes of Styrofoam containers. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

When I got home and opened the bag of food, I immediately noticed the abundance of food. The restaurant gave plenty of rice that was enough to feed a family of five or more.

A full tilapia, cooked and head on, sits over a bed of rice. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I was most excited about the tilapia ($10.50) because it was served as a whole fish, which is not so common in the States. Growing up in Korea, eating a whole fish was the norm, and I learned to enjoy the process of picking out the good bits. The skin of the tilapia was coated with seasoning which added saltiness, and there was a spicy vinegar sauce and a lime wedge on the side to complement the rest of the dish. I enjoyed the crispiness of the skin married with the soft, flakiness of the fish. Altogether with the brightness of the citrus and green onion-garnished, fluffy jasmine rice, the tilapia made for an enjoyable eating experience that brought back memories of sharing a whole fish with my parents when I was younger.

Three stuffed wings from A Taste of Both Worlds sits on tin foil inside a takeout container. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

The three-piece stuffed chicken wings ($9.50) were considerable in size, and they were packed with ground chicken, clear bean thread noodles, green onions, and lemongrass. The golden-brown color on the outside of the chicken wings was tempting, and I could not wait to dive into them. However, I was a little bit let down by the texture of the wings as they were not crispy, and the mix of ground chicken and bean thread noodles made for a softer bite than I had anticipated. I was in the mood for crispy chicken wings with juicy meat in the middle but was surprised by the meatball-like texture. Nevertheless, the combination of lemongrass and green onion flavor was pleasant and added a note of freshness to the ground chicken.

A sisig taco sits on tin foil in a takeout container. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Sisig tacos ($2.50) came with two corn tortillas and a choice of protein, chicken, pork, or a mix of two, and toppings of chilis, cilantro and sriracha sauce. Similarly, the sisig came with the same choices of protein, a lime wedge, and jasmine rice. I decided to get a mix of both chicken and pork for the sisig tacos, and I enjoyed the tenderness of the meat with the little bursts of spiciness from chilis sprinkled on top. As an appetizer, I thought the price was reasonable and accommodating for those who might not want to get a big portion of the entrée.

A takeout container has two dividers, half of rice and half of mixed meat diced. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

The Famous Sisig ($11.00) came with a mountain of rice, and the same mix of meat as the sisig tacos. The meat tasted great with rice as well, but I enjoyed the tacos more because it was less heavy than having a plate of meat and rice. I would strongly recommend the tacos for those who want small, impactful bites before they dive into other options.

Two dessert turons sit in a takeout container with two dipping sauces. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Lastly, I ordered the two-piece turon ($3.75), dessert eggrolls filled with fresh banana and jackfruit accompanied with caramel, chocolate and powdered sugar, to finish the meal. In short, the turon was excellent. The crispy bite with soft fruits was perfect on its own, but when dipped into either caramel or chocolate sauces, it became even more delightful. Because it had fresh fruit filling inside, the flavor was not too sweet, and it added a tropical note at the end of the meal, which was perfect for embodying the Filipino-Cambodian experience that the restaurant was trying to provide. I think the two-piece turon can be enjoyed by anybody, and it is a must after having a meal at A Taste of Both Worlds.

I did not know what to expect from Filipino-Cambodian cuisine, but I enjoyed the dining experience, and I would return for more sisig tacos and turon. My only wish is that COVID-19 would be over by the time I revisit A Taste of Both Worlds, so I can sit inside the Broadway Food Hall with friends and share a spread of South Asian food.

Since traveling is out of the question nowadays, I think A Taste of Both Worlds provided me with the sense of trying food from different cultures without having to go through the hassle that comes with international travels. I would recommend the restaurant to anyone who is feeling like they have been in quarantine for too long and need a sense of escape to the sunny Philippines or Cambodia.

A Taste of Both Worlds
401 N Broadway Ave
W+Th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Top image by Da Yeon Eom.

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