Guide to Downtown Asian Cuisine

Article by Woojin Kong

Do you know how many Asian Restaurants are in downtown State College? If you are someone who wants to explore the taste of Asia and broaden your meal choices, then this article is just for you.

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Spicy Soy Sauce Ramen


206 W College Ave, State College (Next to the Dunkin Donuts)

If you are craving sushi on Sushi Sunday, or any day you need to fuel some Japanese spirit, Tadashi is the place to go. Located on West College Avenue, Tadashi is a small restaurant that serves delicious Japanese cuisine. However, it may surprise you that the cooks and owner are actually Chinese, not Japanese.

Tadashi is the best Japanese ramen place in downtown State College. My personal recommendation would be the Spicy Miso Ramen. It has just the right amount of spicy taste, even to those who don’t like spicy food. If you are still not sure about the spiciness, I would encourage you to try the Soy Sauce Ramen instead. Especially during these cold days, Soy Sauce Ramen will keep you warm.

Tadashi’s sushi rolls are also very popular. Shrimp Tempura Roll and Rainbow Roll are my favorite. Very fresh sashimi is used in their sushi rolls.

If you are salmon lover like me, you will also love Ikura Don (salmon over rice.) It’s like a giant salmon sushi in a bowl! Yum!!

Considering the quality of food and service, the price is very reasonable. Most ramen is priced around $10 and sushi rolls are priced between $5 and $10.

Rainbow Roll

Tadashi is usually very busy and crowded. While many other restaurants begin to fill up their tables around 6 p.m., at peak dinner time, Tadish tends to fill up well before then. When it is crowded and you don’t want to wait to be seated, you can do the take-out too.

Take out is available on every menu except for ramen. Also, one more useful tip is if you are paying separately, be sure to bring cash because they don’t accept credit cards for orders under $20.


Seoul Garden

129 Locust Ln, State College (Across from College Pizza)

If you are looking for authentic Korean food downtown, you can find it at Seoul Garden. Seoul Garden, as the name suggests, carries various Korean food from Spicy Pork Bellies Stir-Fries to sweet BBQ Bulgogi.  The best thing about this Korean restaurant is that you get side dishes called “Ban-Chan” for FREE. They usually serve four kinds of Ban-Chan, such as Kimchi and potato boiled in soy sauce.

If you never had Korean food before and are not a big fan of spicy food, I recommend you try Bibim Bob. It is rice topped with carrots, zucchini, spinach, radishes and a choice of protein. Are you a vegetarian? No worries! You can choose tofu as a topping instead of beef. You can mix all those ingredients with red pepper paste “Gochu-jang” and can adjust the amount of sauce to control the level of spiciness.

They have a policy that 15% gratuity will be automatically added onto your check, so be aware of the price you are paying.

Photo Credit Google Maps
Photo Credit Google Maps

Nano Mart

Next to the Seoul Garden, there is a little mart called Nano Mart. And yes, it is relatively small, but it has everything you need. However, what really makes Nano Mart special is that they carry Korean ramen, snacks and food.

Nano Mart has been open since 1995 and just had its 20th birthday this year. According to the owner, before she opened the store, there was no Korean mart near downtown State College despite Penn State having so many Korean students. Even though she targeted Korean students as main customers, surprisingly more Chinese students visit this store than Korean students. She said the meaning of the store name, Nano Mart, is that there is everything in this store despite it’s small size.

If you are big fan of ramen, why don’t you stop by this mart and try Korean style instant ramen, which taste much better than boring ramen you find at Wal-Mart. You can find various kinds of Korean snacks, sodas and ice creams that you will never see in other stores in downtown State College. Experience something new when you are tired of American style snacks.



407 E Beaver Ave State College (Next to Insomnia Cookies)

Tonkatsu with rice

Since 2006, Maki-Yaki has served customers delicious Japanese and Korean food. Originally, the former owner and the current owner’s mother ran a business together, and last year, her son and his wife took over the business.  

The meaning of Maki-Yaki is “Sushi roll” and “Grill” in Japanese. You can try more than 10 kinds of sushi rolls at Maki-Yaki. But sushi roll are not all you can have there. There are many other foods that come along with super delicious Teriyaki sauce. Most of the foods are cooked at the restaurant with their own special recipe. According to the owner, Chicken Teriyaki is their most famous item.

Jae Yook Bok Eum Bento Box

If you are an indecisive person like me and can’t choose only one menu option among all these yummy foods, then order Bento box. With your choice of entry (beef, chicken, shrimp, vegetable, Tonkatsu or Jae Yook Bok Eum-spicy pork stir-fries) you get a salad, two sides and your choice of sushi roll. The best thing about Maki-Yaki is that they deliver through Order Up. So you can have this delicious Asian meal in your own cozy room.

2 thoughts on “Guide to Downtown Asian Cuisine

  1. I would love to get in contact with the author of this article!!! I am a HUGE fan of asian food, and I mean REAL asian food, however there are so many places in State College, I don’t want to waste my money on not-so-fresh fish or sub-par bibim bap! It took me nearly 30 minutes the other day to order some chirashi because I wasn’t sure where the best place to get it would be! If I could get in contact with this informed person I would love more of their recommendations!

    1. Hi Katie, thanks for commenting! If you send us a quick note through the Contact page, we can connect you to our writer Woojin! She’d be more than happy to help you find what you are looking for!

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