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Tend to fall into a rut when it comes to ethnic food?
"We often eat from one side of the menu and are blind to the other side," says restaurant blogger Danyelle Freeman, whose book, Try This: Traveling the Globe Without Leaving the Table, guides readers through 14 international cuisines, emphasizing some of the less popular but no less tasty dishes. So instead of ordering lo mein for the billionth time next time you're at a Chinese restaurant, check out a differently sauced noodle dish that is just as delicious. The lo mein will always be there waiting for you.

Next: New contenders for the best-ever Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Thai dishes...
Lo Mein

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If you always order lo mein at a Chinese restaurant, try...
Dan dan noodles. This often-spicy dish forgoes the sliced beef, chicken or pork dressed in soy sauce that's typical in lo mein for minced pork glossed in a thick sesame paste.
Chicken Tikka Masala

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If you always order chicken tikka masala at an Indian restaurant, try...
Chicken biryani. Just like what you're used to—it's a comforting, homey dish. Instead of a tomato cream sauce, though, the meat is cooked in chicken broth and served with rice studded with raisins, onions and almonds.
Caprese

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If you always order Caprese salad (tomato and fresh mozzarella) at an Italian restaurant, try...
Fonduta. Everyone orders Caprese for the cheese, so why not cut to the chase and order Italy's answer to fondue? Made with Fontina cheese, milk and egg yolks, it's a dip for salami and vegetables.
Minestrone

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If you always order minestrone at an Italian restaurant, try...
Brodetto. Like the classic Italian soup, this option is rustic and hearty but with fewer vegetables (just tomatoes) and the addition of fish and shellfish.
Miso

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If you always order miso soup at a Japanese restaurant, try...
Chawanmushi. An alternative to the often-oversalted soup, this steamed egg custard is flecked with shrimp, chicken, scallions and mushrooms.
Shrimp Quesadillas

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If you always order shrimp quesadillas at a Mexican restaurant, try...
Huitlacoche quesadillas. You still get the oozy cheese and crunchy tortilla, but in lieu of seafood, you get Mexican truffles, which sound exotic but don't cost a bundle and taste smoky and sweet.
Tortilla soup

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If you always order tortilla soup at a Mexican restaurant, try...
Posole soup. It's one of the most unsung soups in Mexican cuisine and just as soothing on a sore throat as tortilla soup, but starring hominy (dried corn kernels) and chicken or pork.
Shawarma

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If you always order shawarma at a Middle Eastern restaurant, try...
Kibbe. The dish is as pleasantly spiced as the shaved meat you're accustomed to, but the texture is different, thanks to ground meat and bulgur. And you can still top it with tahini or hummus.
Sticky rice

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If you always order sticky rice at a Thai restaurant, try...
Black rice or purple rice. These grains are beautiful to look at, have a perfumed scent and taste a little crunchier than the usual white sauce soaker-upper.

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