I'm not a food court person, even in shopping malls. My boyfriend on the other hand, recently saw that the Kroger grocery store on Beechmont Ave in Anderson Township has a food court. He desperately wanted to try Dope! Asian Street Fare, which is one of the local businesses serving as a food court vendor. I did not have high hopes, because who eats lunch at a grocery store? Turns out, you should.
Of all the hidden gems I've written about, this is the most underrated and best-kept secret in the area. By the time you're done reading this review, you'll be heading to Kroger to eat at Dope! Asian Street Fare. The food is really that good.
Ordering Experience, Price, and Options
There are many options to choose from, and not all of them are great. One, however, is spectacular. We ordered the 5-piece pork dumplings ($7), a Char Siu Pork Bao Bun ($4), Char Siu Miso Ramen ($13), and two sodas for $28, including a tip.
The staff member took about fifteen minutes to prepare all the food. We've been to this location two additional times since the described visit, and it took roughly the same amount of time. One of the servers had a ripped glove while preparing food during our first visit, but it didn't happen again in our subsequent visits. If you are worried about dining during the pandemic, asking servers to change gloves is a perfectly reasonable request to make.
Although we only ordered Char Siu Miso Ramen, dumplings, and a bao bun, Dope! Asian Street Fare offers Banh Mi, rice bowls, wontons, and salads, too.
Our Review: One Standout, One Great, and One Disappointing Dish
I'd like to start with what everyone expects at a food court: the bao bun was not good. The contents of the bun were yummy, but the bun itself felt rubbery and was not palatable. The pork was cooked fantastically and the greens were fresh.
The dumplings were great and on-par with takeout dumplings. The crispiness level was high, the filling taste and texture were good, and the mayo-based dipping sauce was tasty. We enjoyed the dumplings a lot, but we wouldn't drive forty minutes out of our way to this Kroger food court for them.
The absolute star and hidden gem of this entire experience was the Char Siu Miso Ramen. The broth was incredible. We debated asking them for their recipe or if we could buy the broth to take home and make our own ramen with. It was that good. The pulled pork, same as with the dumplings, was great, but it was even better soaking in that broth. The greens were bright and fresh and delicious. The amount of bok choy was huge and we couldn't eat it all.
We were pleased they served the ramen bowl contents and the broth separately so the greens didn't wilt before the rest of our meal was ready. I cannot stress to everyone how good the broth in that ramen bowl is. We go to Kroger for ramen now. We eat ramen at a grocery store, people! Dope! Asian Street Fare has something great going on.
This Kroger is not the one we shop at, and it is completely out of our way to drive forty minutes to get to. Regardless, we will be coming to Dope! Asian Street Fare for many more visits. If you aren't in the Anderson area, you can visit them at the Over the Rhine (OTR) Kroger on 100 East Court Street. We haven't yet tested that location for quality control, but if their broth is even half as good as it is at this location, you're in for a great time. Both locations are open daily from 11 AM to 7 PM, but the OTR location is closed on Saturdays.
I know you're hesitant about eating food from a vendor at a grocery store. You need to try it, just this once. Dope! Asian Street Fare truly is a hidden gem and you're missing out by not trying their ramen.
P.S: If you like their dumplings and dumpling sauce as much as we do, you can buy it in bulk, pre-packaged, and ready to go without needing to order at the window.