The 3 Best Cheap Fusion Spots In Orlando

From Pom Pom's to Tako Cheena, these local spots are a must-try.
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Roberto Gonzalez

Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria

67 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando |
Try this: The Billy Chang

Pom Moongauklang opened her restaurant more than 15 years ago in what is now known as Orlando’s Milk District—and the place is as popular as ever. It’s a community gathering spot where folks come for the scrumptious sandwiches and a worthy selection of teas, served hot or cold. The menu reflects Pom’s flair for unique—and delicious—flavor combinations. For example, the Fu Man Chu sandwich pairs Asian pulled pork with arugula, goat cheese, ginger cranberry chutney and red onions. Pom’s take on grilled cheese becomes the Tuscan Melt, a delectable blend of goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, black olives and red onions. The sandwiches average $10; you can add a house-blend tea and a side for an extra $4.50. And the sides are worth it—especially the Asian Slaw and the Noodles with Peanut Sauce. Don’t miss breakfast on the weekends, and the Sake Mojito Drink Special on Sunday. -H.D.

JJ’s Fresh from Scratch

2950 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando |
Don’t miss: Arepas topped with brisket

Olivia Lozada, executive chef of JJ’s Fresh from Scratch, roasts the restaurant’s savory chimichurri pork on-site, makes arepas to order, and whips up her homemade tabbouleh. Her son, J.J. Paredes, owns the Curry Ford West eatery, and their family has worked to present a menu of South American and Middle Eastern flavor profiles that offer “something for everybody,” Paredes says. You see, Venezuela was their one-time home, and Lozada was close to a Lebanese family whose cooking she loved. Thus, the global-flavor fusion. “When we were young those are the things we would eat,” Paredas says. “My mom is very creative.”
Going veg? The agave-caramelized tofu, roasted sweet potatoes, maduros, hummus and eggplant and zucchini sautéed with virgin olive oil hit the spot. Craving meat? The tender brisket, roast pork, pulled chicken and other proteins work well in arepas, burritos, quesadillas or rice and salad bowls. Pile on sautéed peppers and onions and your choice of accoutrements like lentils, feta or cheddar-jack cheese, guacamole and tzatziki. Meals run $11 and under.
During its recent expansion, Lozada added coconut, raspberry and other mousses, as well as the creamy, homemade Venezuelan drink chicha to the menu for a sweet JJ’s ending. -J.H.

Tako Cheena

948 N. Mills Ave., Orlando |
Try this: The 3 Tako Special

There’s nothing traditional about Tako Cheena—from its wildly-painted, kitschy, hip exterior to its flavorful, Asian-fusion “takos.” The menu mainstays are the takos—most dressed with crunchy cabbage, scallions, kimchi and cilantro. Get there early for the Asian Braised Beef marinated in hoisin ginger sauce or the Crispy Indian Curry Dusted Tofu with a spicy mayo and vegan celery cream sauce—both tend to sell out. The 3 Tako Special, starting at $9.75, lets you choose your favorite combo. If you have a bigger appetite, go for one of the Asian-style Burritos, which promise a half-pound of protein. Rounding out the menu are Asian Hot Dogs (a Cantonese-style sausage) and Arepas (a roasted sweet corn patty). Currently, Tako Cheena offers take-out and outdoor seating only, but plans to open its indoor space for patrons this summer. -H.D.


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Categories: Food & Drink