1622 Eastern Ave., (410) 558-1914, ekibenbaltimore.com
Ekiben, once a cart at the weekly Fells Point Farmers Market and now a brick-and-mortar off Eastern Avenue, is the answer to Baltimore’s craving for steamed buns. Co-owners and UMBC alumni Ephrem Abebe, Steve Chu, and Nick Yesupriya have drawn from their own cultures—Ethiopian, Taiwanese, and South Indian respectively—to create a truly inspired experience. The Original, slow-cooked chicken meatballs smothered in a coconut curry sauce and topped with fresh herbs, crispy aromatics, and a cool papaya slaw, is a must-have for a first-timer. The Neighborhood Bird, featuring Taiwanese fried chicken topped with spicy sambal mayo and pickled cucumbers, cures any hangover. But watch for the rotating special, which can include anything from steamed shrimp to beef brisket to pork vindaloo. Plus, these guys don’t skimp on flavor or size.