ASIAN/INDIAN 

Basil
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
Downtown. 460 King St. 724-3490
Lunch and Dinner
When Basil first opened, it literally became an instant smash hit, and the downtown eatery shows no signs of losing its touch. Owner Henry Eang runs the kitchen full of authentically Asian chefs and turns out reasonably priced plates of spicy beef larb, exotic curry duck, and an array of stir-fries for the mildest palate to the hottest. The dining room is sophisticated yet approachable and the service staff is young and professional enough to handle the masses of crowds that wait and wait for tables. Basil takes no reservations, but arrive early for lunch or dinner and you'll be in luck. Outdoor seating in warmer months will lessen the crowds and afford even better people-watching.

Binh Minh
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
N. Charleston. 6750 Rivers Ave. 569-1935
Lunch and Dinner
Binh Minh has got to be the only place one can eat a bowl of pho in an old putt-putt shack. Buddha statues have replaced the putters and fluorescent balls, and reliable Vietnamese stir-fries have been served up for many years in this low-key restaurant that is buried in the no-man's-land stretch of Rivers Avenue. Be sure to take your piece of fruit, though, and make your own offering to the Buddha.

click to enlarge Classic Chinese dishes get upscale treatment at Dragon Palace
  • Classic Chinese dishes get upscale treatment at Dragon Palace

Dragon Palace
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
Daniel Island. 162 Seven Farms Dr. 388-8823
Lunch and Dinner
Dragon Palace offers upscale Asian in an elaborate Daniel Island setting. It's fancy enough to be interesting, but campy enough that you don't feel underdressed in a pair of jeans. There are the classic porcelain cats with paws raised and huge amounts of shiny, intricate woodwork that surrounds you as you plow through exotic plates full of tiny red octopi -- actually, according to askoxford.com, the correct word is octopodes. Anyway, it's good Asian in a fun setting, and for Daniel Island folks, it's awfully convenient.

Kim Long
Asian/Indian
Entrées $5-$10
N. Charleston. 7671 Northwoods Blvd. 863-8552
Lunch and Dinner
Kim Long continues to cement its place as the best Asian restaurant in the Lowcountry for the price. New management has come in and made it primarily a Vietnamese restaurant, with fantastic broken rice stir-fries, unbelievably good fish-stock noodle soups, and appetizers that offer a fresh, healthy spin on typical Asian fare. Take out remains fast and reliable.

A Taste of India
Asian/Indian
Entrées $5-$10
West Ashley. 851 Savannah Hwy. 556-0772
Lunch and Dinner
Tucked away in a nondescript brown building a few yards from the Coburg Cow sits the Lowcountry's best passport to Northern India. Taste of India's freshly-prepared daily lunch buffet (it offers menu service at both meals) can serve as a wonderful introduction to curries, biryanies, mutters, and nans (breads) for Indian cuisine neophytes. Brunch on Sundays features some Southern Indian specialties, too, like the potato-filled pancake dosa, made from scratch right in front of you. Several international and domestic beers are served if the mango lhasa isn't enough to put you into a Ghandi-like trance.

Red Orchids
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
West Ashley. 1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. 573-8787
Lunch and Dinner
Red Orchids serves up good ol' Chinese favorites in a dining room that makes you feel like you've actually gone out to dinner. The food is dependably good, with all the takeout standbys we like best mixed in with some interesting dishes. They are all prepared a notch above typical Chinese restaurant quality, which matches the room well without making you feel like you've taken on a big dinner out.

Shi Ki
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
Downtown. 334 East Bay St. 720-8568
Lunch and Dinner
Shi Ki is a quiet little place with a Zen/neighborhood joint feel. The sushi is great, particularly the Iso Make roll, which is good for sushi freshmen because the snapper is fried and the vinegary sauce is a perfect accompaniment. The noodle bowls are also delicious, and an equal-opportunity Japanese menu makes this oft-overlooked corner of East Bay Street an easy-agreement lunch or dinner spot for lovers of raw and cooked Asian food.

Sushi Hiro
Asian/Indian
Entrées $10-$15
Downtown. 298 King St. 723-3628
Dinner
Affectionately referred to by downtowners as 'Hiro,' this King Street sushi spot is a standby for dragon rolls, miso soup, and any sort of raw fish roll-up you might like to try. There's plenty for the faint of heart as well, though, with ginger dressing-coated iceberg lettuce salads and teriyaki steak and shrimp. The best way to experience Hiro is with a big group of friends unafraid of salmon roe or unagi. The big platters for sharing are beautiful and fun to dig into.


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