Since arriving to the University of Georgia, I've come down with a hankering for some good ole' Asian comfort food. Whether that be in the form of pungent General Tao Chicken or sinfully sweet boba, I was pleasantly surprised when I happened to stumble upon these four Asian restaurants in Athens.

These hole-in-the-wall eateries are packed with enough flavor and character to satisfy any Athens foodie's craving for Asian cuisine. 

As eclectic as these restaurants are, I managed to rank them in four categories, keeping in mind that yes, as a college student, I can't afford to splurge on a $20 entree, but I definitely don't want to pay for a questionable burger off the dollar menu.

Take what you will from the restaurant's price, "vibe," and overall food quality. If you're ever in the area, however, the best way to judge is to simply try these places yourself.

Athens Wok

rice, sauce
Hannah Park

Affordability: Their prices are relatively reasonable, with appetizers ranging from $2-4 and entrees falling within the typical price range of $7-9. This is arguably the most affordable Asian restaurants in Athens.

Vibe: Homey, family-run and owned business

From UGA upholstery, to eclectic wall decor, hand-printed signs touting of a lunch special, a cheeky clock composed of forks and spoons, to a dusty speaker in the corner with menus perched on top, this restaurant can’t help but feel like a home away from home.

Taste: The food doesn’t carry the pretentiousness or taste of five-star Chinese cuisine, but its salty and sweet flavors inject the food with the satisfying punch that leaves you content.

The egg drop soup, for example, is thick and buttery, crab rangoon cheesy and creamy, and this heaviness is offset by the thin and sweet broth of the vegetable curry and salty kick of General Tao Chicken. 

Cozy Yum Yum

coffee, ice, tea
Hannah Park

Affordability: It is barely pricier than Athens Wok, with appetizers ranging from $4-8, and most entrees falling within the price range of $10-18.

#Spoontip: Often, during lunch hours, Cozy Yum Yum offers $1-off lunch specials on Hooked

Vibe: Eclectic, laid-back

As soon as you walk into the restaurant, the scent of freshly-cooked vegetables and that distinct salty-sweet smell associated with most Asian cuisine hits your nose.

Taste: Before all else, this is THE spot for bubble tea. It is not overly sweet, and the boba is made fresh (as seen by the steam rising from the glass and floating boba). The vegetable dumplings bring a unique flavor with its incorporation of egg, and the green curry and pineapple fried rice tasted solid in terms of balance between salty-and-sweet, freshness of vegetables and tenderness of the meat.  

Mother Pho

soup, pho, broth, pork
Hannah Park

Affordability: Typical of most pho restaurants, prices for most pho, fried rice, curry, etc. fall in the $9-$11 range, while appetizers range from $5-$11.

Vibe: modern, urban

The restaurant mixes a contemporary feel with homey vibes. High-def photos of produce and ink wash paintings light up the wall, while neon blue lights illuminating the Eiffel tower, and a chandelier of plastic crystals, give an edge to this eatery.

Taste: The restaurant isn’t called "Mother Pho" for nothing. The soups quickly arrive, steaming in large bowls.

The pork tastes savory and tender, while chunks of meatball gave a kick to this traditional noodle dish.

Overall, the soup was not too salty or tangy, as some pho broths tend to taste, and the noodles so soft and thin, you could swallow them whole.

Also: If you want to add some kick to your pho, don't be afraid to heap on the Sriracha. 

180°F Cafe

bread, cake
Hannah Park

Affordability: Much like the previous restaurants, entrees fall within the $7-$11 range, while appetizers range from $3-$5. Bottom line: as long as you have $10 to spare, you won’t be disappointed.

Vibe: Even though the size of this café may be small, don't let it fool you. Its cozy interior and speedy service combine the efficiency of a fast-food restaurant while creating an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. If you're ever looking to avoid the crowds on Broad St., then this eatery is ideal for a chill meal. 

Taste: If you don’t feel like enduring that excruciating walk (especially in Athens heat) to 180°F, then take-out is a stellar option.

The food arrives sizzling, and the steamed and pickled vegetables are on par with freshness and flavor. The chicken is tender, and the runny side of sauce tops this dish off with an extra kick of a familiar, tangy flavor that balances salty with sweet.