Ekiben has been on the lips and Instagram accounts of Baltimoreans ever since it opened its doors in Fells Point last March. Before the brick and mortar shop opened, owners Nikhil Yesupriya, Ephrem Abebe, and Steve Chu sold their pan-Asian wares at the Fells Point Farmers' Market. I love the fact that the three partners are from completely different ethnic backgrounds (South Indian, Ethiopian, Taiwanese), and that they met at UMBC. That's what college is for, right? Not only to get an education, but also to branch out from one's potentially insular upbringing and see the world. In the case of Yesupriya, Abebe, and Chu, it was the world of food. While the dishes they serve at Ekiben (itself a Japanese word referring to a specific style of bento box served at railway stations) have a strong Taiwanese bent, the partners season their dishes with flavors from each of their heritages.
Back when Harborplace first opened, there was a stall selling deep-fried, batter-coated vegetables. I tried to avoid the broccoli, because invariably the florets were soggy with uncooked batter. That is not the case at Ekiben, where every bite is encased in a thin and crisp coating. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish is terrific.
Why couldn't Ekiben have been around when I lived in Fells Point, just three blocks away?
1622 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21231
Posted on Minxeats.com.