It’s easy to make repeat trips to your favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor; No Thai for the inevitable food coma, Sava’s for the nice but reasonably priced lunch, South U Pizza for the 2 AM munchies and Chop House to show your parents that your college town has one of the best restaurants around. However, I’m all about finding “diamond in the rough” restaurants. I don’t make nearly enough of my own food, so I’m always looking for places I can eat on a budget.
My new favorite spot, Belly Deli, allows for that along with some kick-ass food that will have you craving a return trip. Belly Deli is buried deep along South U, tucked away between Subway and Sadako and just across the street from Landmark. It’s a modern style restaurant with an Asian flair, offering a large communal table in the middle and countertop seating around the outside that allows for perfect people-watching while you have time to kill between classes.
Belly Deli has a somewhat small menu, but no lack of flavorful options. Most of their menu items, such as their sandwiches, salads and buns, feature Asian-marinated meats, like their bokum balls. My absolute favorite item on the menu is the spicy pork sammy. It’s a sandwich filled with pork and vegetables served on a baguette. Funky for your taste buds, but absolutely delicious.
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A lighter, but not necessarily healthier, option is the szechwan stir fry salad. Sure there’s chicken and lettuce in there, but the wonton crisps and soy garlic vinaigrette aren’t exactly calorie burners. Their buns are melt-in-your-mouth sandwiches served in pancake-like, sticky buns with either bulgogi, pork or chicken. Make sure to add some bokum balls to your order. They’re rice balls fried and served with a ketchup Sriacha sauce. If that’s not heaven, it’s the damn near closest thing.
Address: 1317 South University Ave Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours of operation: Mon-Sun: 11:30am-10pm