XBB, as locals call it, occupies a remodeled and brightly furnished former gas station in the Elliotborough neighborhood. Catering to its surfer clientele with Nicaraguan beer, the spot also offers a constantly changing menu of authentic Asian fare. Order the Vietnamese-style shrimp toast, a purée of local shrimp, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, lime leaf, and chilies spread on baguette slices, then pan-fried—crispy and satisfying.

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Chow at Xiao Bao

Xiao Bao Biscuit, on Spring and Rutledge in the Elliotborough neighborhood, is a must. It’s one of these wonderfully random places. Look at the paneling on the bar! Occupying a re-purposed gas station, there are some surfer-types among both the clientele and waitstaff, which is perhaps why there is Nicaraguan beer for sale. The menu changes and is always a mix of authentic Asian fare, served without fuss. I would probably eat here for lunch every day if I worked at College of Charleston.

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