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Just the sign “Mi Barrio Halal Latin Grill” promises a mix-up adventure. “Mi Barrio” means “my neighborhood” in Spanish.

Mike Nguyen and Michelle Tu came from San Jose to start Crackin’ Crawfish near UNC Charlotte.

On a cold and rainy Saturday in December, every table is full at Tacos El Nevado on Central Avenue, and more people are streaming in. “Se Vende Champurrado” – champurrado for sale – says the small sign taped to the door.

For people from India, Diwali is the beginning of the New Year. But it’s also a bit like American Thanksgiving – lots of family visiting, lots of traditional cooking, says store manager Nikunj Patel. “People go to each other’s house to celebrate, light candles.”

There’s a little bit of Laos these days in the old textile town of Kings Mountain, just west of Gastonia. The family-run Pho 98 restaurant is named for the signature soup of Vietnam, and there are also familiar Thai curries and noodle dishes on the menu.

A cool fruit milkshake. Sound good on these hot days?

Tom Hanchett
Tom Hanchett is staff historian at Levine Museum of the New South.
CharlotteObserver.com