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Photo by Mert Jones

Come hungry for Charlotte's most diverse restaurant scene

27. Opt for authentic Vietnamese food. Eat at Ben Thanh.

Unpretentious, cheap and delicious. Cuong Duong opened the restaurant in 2004 to exalt his mother's home cooking, and it has since earned praise from nearly every food critic and newspaper in town. But for some reason, it's always empty (not that we're complaining). We deemed Ben Thanh our Best Asian (other than Chinese, Japanese or Indian) restaurant in last year's Best of Charlotte, mentioning its pho, crispy quail, curry spiked with shrimp, yellow rice flour pancake filled with shrimp, hot pots and charbroiled chicken in lemongrass. 4900 Central Ave. 704-566-1088. www.benthanhcharlotte.com.

28. Strike up a conversation at La Shish.

For affordable Mediterranean food, check out La Shish Kabob. Anything shawarma or kabob is the way to go, and save room for the lentil soup. Head to the nearby Golden Bakery for dessert and sample some of the best Middle Eastern bread and sweets in town. Don't be intimidated by the foreign menu items; servers are more than happy to explain. 3117 N. Sharon Amity Road. 704-567-7900. www.lashishkabob.com; 3145-B N Sharon Amity Road. 704-537-4857.

29. Find Michael Jackson's coveted red leather jacket — or something like it — at Value Village.

Mostly for hardcore pickers, the second-hand » Continue

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