City Guide 2021: Tour The World With These ‘Quick Trips’ in Metro Detroit

Travel to France, Peru, the Caribbean, India, and more without leaving home
Photo: IStock

France

Don’t Miss

The nonprofit school and cultural center Alliance Française de Detroit French Institute of Michigan offers French language classes for all ages and skill levels, as well as corporate courses designed for professional groups. The Farmington institute also holds cultural events, such as social gatherings, cooking classes, and talks by artists, authors, and other notable French figures.  

Tastes

To stock up on authentic French baked goods, visit Chez Pierre et Genevieve in Bloomfield Hills. This homey bakery sells fresh-baked bread, including rye, sourdough, baguettes, olive bread, and walnut bread — plus viennoiseries like croissants and brioche. 

Those craving something a little sweeter can pick up one of master French baker Matt Knio’s creations at either of his Cannelle Patisserie locations, in Detroit or Birmingham. But be warned — once there, you’ll face a daunting selection of artfully prepared pastries, from fruity tarts and creamy eclairs, to delicate madeleines and buttery croissants. 

Caribbean

Don’t Miss

The Caribbean Cultural and Carnival Organization hosts the Detroit Caribbean Cultural Festival every year to bring island flair to the city. The festival lasts three days in the summer and visitors can participate in Zumba and salsa lessons, attend live shows featuring local and international performers, and get a taste of different types of Caribbean food. The organization also holds the Miss Carnival Pageant, metro Detroit’s only Caribbean pageant. 

The Real Deal

The family-owned Fatou’s African Caribbean Market in Ypsilanti sells a wide selection of food, mostly from West Africa, that includes goat meat, cow feet, beef strips, red snapper, mackerel, tamarind/coconut juice, and plantain chips. It also carries health and beauty items like African black soap and cocoa butter. 

Tastes

Norma G’s takes Caribbean food to the next level. This food truck turned full-service restaurant serves up authentic dishes such as curry, jerk chicken, oxtail, and fried plantains in Detroit.

Japan

Don’t Miss

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ Japan Gallery displays a wide collection of traditional works as well as contemporary pieces. The gallery includes robes from the classical Japanese dance-drama Noh Theatre, 17th-century samurai apparel, and classic Japanese tea wares.

The Real Deal

One World Market in Novi is billed as the largest Japanese grocery store in Michigan. It boasts a large selection of fresh sushi, mochi, Japanese cosmetics, Japanese cookware, and other imported goods. 

Tastes

Bash Original Izakaya is a Japanese pub-style eatery in Detroit with ample dine-in and takeout sushi options. Enjoy the signature sushi roll filled with shrimp tempura, crab salad, and cucumber topped with white tuna, jalapeno, spicy mayo, and other sauces. The Chef’s Choice Combo features 10 assorted sushi (at the chef’s discretion) plus your choice of a tuna roll or California roll. The dark and relaxed ambiance makes this an excellent spot to enjoy other menu items, such as the Takoyaki, a deep-fried ball of octopus with bonito flakes on top, or the Ton Katsu, a deep-fried pork cutlet served with rice.

Brazil

Don’t Miss

The Brazilian Day Street Festival is an annual event in Detroit that celebrates all things Brazilian. This family-friendly festival features samba dancing, music, traditional foods, and vendors selling Brazilian-made goods. Similar to the famous Brazilian Carnival, this colorful and vibrant experience brings the world-renowned street party right to the heart of Detroit.

The Real Deal

To stock up on Brazilian food and cooking ingredients, visit International Food Inc. in Sterling Heights. At this family-owned specialty grocery store, you’ll be able to find Brazilian beef, cheeses, and snacks, among other foods.

Tastes

Padaria by Chef Andre Leite is a hidden gem for delicious Brazilian pastries. This Shelby Charter Township bakery features a mix of both savory and sweet pastries — find baked goods filled with everything from ground beef to strawberry or Nutella cream. Padaria also has Brazilian drinks and coffees on deck.

Germany

Don’t Miss

There’s no better way to experience German culture locally than with a quick day trip to Frankenmuth, about an hour north of Detroit. Called “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” this celebrated destination features authentic German restaurants including the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and The Harvest Coffeehouse. You can also enjoy activities like the Bavarian Festival and Oktoberfest, both highly anticipated annual events, and learn about the city’s German heritage at the Frankenmuth Historical Museum.

The German-American Cultural Center (GACC) has been a staple for preserving German heritage and cultural achievement in metro Detroit for seven decades and is now in Sterling Heights.

The Real Deal

Nestled in Shelby Charter Township is Nitsches Meat & Deli Shoppe, which is revered for its array of authentic German food. This family-owned fresh meat market has been in business for more than 40 years and specializes in artisanal butchery. You can also find dumpling mixes, salad dressings, baked goods, and chocolate bars with peppermint and marzipan filling. 

Tastes

Metzger’s German Restaurant in Ann Arbor serves up German craft beer in a European atmosphere. You can also try traditional German meals including rouladen (rolled beef stuffed with onions, spices, and other savory ingredients). The Dakota Inn Rathskeller in Detroit, meanwhile, is a German bar that’s been around for nearly 90 years. Enjoy German craft beer, Bavarian soft pretzels, and kartoffelpuffer (German-style homemade potato pancakes served with applesauce). 

Peru

The Real Deal

The Latino American Market in Pontiac sells traditional Latin products, including Peruvian items such as crema de ají (Peruvian pepper sauce), Inca Kola, and huacatay (Peruvian black mint).

Tastes

Culantro in Ferndale serves popular Peruvian dishes like Aji de Gallina, a classic consisting of shredded chicken in a yellow cream sauce made with walnuts and Amarillo peppers and served on rice. Other favorites include plantain and yuca fries, ceviche, and flan. Wash it all down with the chicha morada, a sangria-like Peruvian mocktail made with pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and cloves. Or, for a truly authentic treat, try a can of the Peruvian staple Inca Kola.

India

Don’t Miss

On weekends, the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Troy opens to visitors interested in experiencing Hindu rites and services. Plus, after observing the opulent art and architecture of the grand temple itself, guests can browse spiritual figurines and home décor at the on-site gift gallery.

The Real Deal

Carrying traditional, bridal, and designer Indian clothing and jewelry, Troy’s Sanskriti Fashions is a popular boutique for men, women, and children alike. In addition to its stock of bright and ornate garb, the shop offers tailoring, alteration, and henna services.

Tastes

The Indian street food restaurant Neehee’s was started by a local family with roots in Gujrat, India. Now a popular Midwestern chain with locations in Troy and Canton, Neehee’s offers a staggering 150 authentic dishes, such as Paneer Chili and Pani Puri — a classic Indian street food featuring a potato-chickpea filling and a crispy, deep-fried crust. The menu also includes a plethora of vegan and gluten-free options. 

Bangladesh

Don’t Miss

Bangladesh Avenue is the affectionate name given to the thriving Bangladeshi community in Hamtramck located on the stretch of Conant Avenue between Davison and Harold streets. The area features dozens of Bangladeshi businesses and eateries, including a dress shop called Maloncho Fashion, Reshmi Sweets and Cafe, plus an Asian grocery store called Niaz Bangla Bazar.

The Real Deal

Visit the Banglatown Farmers Market in Detroit every Saturday from June 1 to Nov. 2 to find deals on fresh organic produce grown by Bangladeshi people, plus a plethora of dried spices.

Taste

Aladdin Sweets and Cafe was the first Bangladeshi restaurant to establish itself in the now-thriving ethnic community of Hamtramck. Its menu features items such as Dal Puri a dish of onion fritters dipped in batter and deep fried.

Facebook Comments