Not just because it's Thai food - I'm not cosmopolitan - but because it's awesome food. Pad Prik is my favorite: chicken, red & green pepper, spanish onion, green onion, & mushroom in a garlic brown sauce. That's really the main question: what sauce?: brown (garlic) sauce, or red/yellow/green curry sauce with coconut milk. They are all delicious. Spicy as you want. Tastes nothing like Chinese food by the way, no MSG. Lunch prices are around 6 dollars, which seems ridiculously low to me considering the flavor explosion.
Fine Indian food, buffet style. I must admit the first time I had it, I didn't like it that much. I wasn't used to the weird flavors. Also all the food looks really similar, like mush. But after that, I loved it. The rice pudding especially blew me away. I have like five servings of that shit. For reasonable prices, you have to go during lunch on weekdays or Saturdays. We rarely go.
Katie: Best food ever! I know the vegetarian stuff is vegetarian. The reason it is #2 is that if you go to the buffet you never know what dishes you are going to get, obviously. If they always had the spinach and paneer and the Korma and if the buffet was spicier it would be #1. At dinner you have to buy the dishes, rice and naan separately so it adds up fast.
3. Shawarma King
Lebanese food. Again, I'm not picking foreign foods just to be cool....I really do like these the best. It's a meat sandwich wrapped in pita bread with a pickle. I get Chicken Shawarma with Feta. But it's really the white garlic sauce (=God sauce) that completes everything and makes it....a little bit REAL nice. The meat is slow cooked on a vertical pole. Picture a hug wasp nest except tender and delicious.
Katie: God Sauce!!! I could eat here every day and not get bored. Lots of great sandwiches, but hard not to get the falafel with god sauce every time it is so good. and the hummus is amazing, sometimes it comes with a monkey face made of olives and onions.
4. El Gallo Blanco
Best Mexican food in Kalamazoo. The best way to explain the food is like this: picture a huge pot of flavor. Now picture your food being placed into that pot of flavor, and marinated in flavor for 24 hours. I've never had chicken so flavorful in my life. I go really simple: get the grande chicken burrito, which is around 6 dollars for two meals.
Katie: I thought the tamales were great the first time I went here, but they keep on getting better. What I order is a lot different then what Matt gets, no slow cooked pot of flavor exactly, but really good. My favorite mexican restaurant in Kalamazoo and they don't even have my favorite mexican food, chili rellanos.
Self-explanatory and self-evident.
Katie: I differ here. I think I would have put Bell's at #4 and El Gallo Blanco at #5. I don't want to like Bell's food since it was horrible for so many years ("well there is one veggie burger at the bottom of the freezer, or you can have a peanut butter and pickle sandwich") but they really picked up their game with the competition from other breweries in town. Now they have awesome tempeh burgers.
Honorable mentions: Shakespeare's nachos, Beer Exchange onion rings, Erbellis calzones, Bells Jumbalaya.
So, I do realize that we give special treatment to foreign food. It must have something to do with the fact that it's special, we didn't grow up with it, etc etc.