A handful of cacahuates estilo Japonés - Japanese-style lime-flavoured peanuts that are a crazy-popular street food in Mexico City - make a perfect snack to start a walk from Latin America through the horn of Africa to the Korean peninsula. Buy these nuts, a Jarrito fizzy guava drink and some delicious homemade tortillas from La Tortilleria Market (1009 Dufferin, 416-546-5516).
Then take a 15-minute hike eastward on Bloor past Brazilian butchers and other pig-hoof-obsessed grocers to La Bella Managua (872 Bloor West, 416- 913-4227). Here you can flip through the latest issue of Granma International, Cuba's state-sponsored newspaper, complete with a column by Fidel Castro. While there, sample the excellent seviche, a melange of seafood in spicy sauce with fried plantains on the side, and throw back a few ounces of Flor de Caña, a smooth and satisfying Nicaraguan rum.
If you're feeling (along with the buzz from the rum) curious about the Eritrean signs in the neighbourhood, double back to the Eritrean-Canadian Association (920 Bloor West, 416-536-3229) to catch up on news from the small northeast African country. ERi-TV runs constantly on a flat-screen TV, telling stories of the country's century-long battle for independence, including the 31-year skirmish with neighbouring Ethiopia.
Speaking of which, Nazareth Bar (969 Bloor West, 416-535-0797) is one of several Ethiopian restaurants on the strip. Try a tasty Meta beer, one of the better brews out of Addis Ababa, or the ceremonial coffee, which must be ordered 20 minutes in advance of drinking. At night, this café often becomes a destination for local DJs.
Further east is Christie Pits Park, the site of the worst spate of ethnic violence in the city's history. The Christie Pits riots occurred at a baseball game in 1933, pitting hostile Nazi sympathizers against European Jewish immigrants and their Italian allies.
East of Christie is Koreatown, lined with Korean restaurants, spas and bookstores. Stop into Jong Ro Books and Music (650 Bloor West, 416-537-5147) and peruse the selection of K-pop, or Korean pop music. This is by far Asia's most popular sound for the last decade - so popular, its takeover of the continent is called the Korean wave.
Once you've got a few CDs under your arm, you might be in the mood for one of the area's noraebang, or karaoke bars. BMB Karaoke (593 Bloor West, 416-533-8786) is the largest, open until 5 am on weekends. If you happen to spend an evening/morning singing, keep in mind that Booungee (700 Bloor West, 416-538-3030) across the street serves Korean pork bone soup 24 hours a day.
Make it past the karaoke bars and you will arrive back where you started in Latin territory: stop into El Salvadorian favourite Tacos El Asador (690 Bloor West, 416-538-9747) for a dish of pupusas and Boli's Spanish Books (609 Bloor West, 416-536-2772) for dish on las celebridades from the gossip magazine racks.
Buk Chang Dong To Fu
691 Bloor W, at Clinton, 416-537-0972. This bare-bones operation may not be the most hospitable spot in town, but adventurous foodies will ignore the blank service and zero in on soon, a soupy tofu stew washed down with bottles of Jinro Chamjinisulro, the potent 23-proof Korean grain spirit. Open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 10:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am to 10 pm. Average main: $7. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
869 Bloor W, at Roxton, 416-535-6615. Behind its bland storefront lies a vividly decorated room furnished with flowery banquettes, faux stone and glass-topped tables. The Ethiopian eats are just as surprising, one moment impossibly mild, the next ferociously hot. Bonus: all prices tax-inclusive. Open daily 10 am to midnight. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
630 Bloor W, at Euclid, 416-483-5393. Locating an Indian restaurant - the only one in town serving Malabari cuisine - next to a KFC in Koreatown might seem an odd move, but this former uptown resto's signature chicken dish is right at home sandwiched between the Colonel and Ajuker Fried Chicken. Open Sunday to Thursday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to midnight. Average main: $9. Licensed. Access: bump at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
Mul Rae Bang-A
3 Christie, at Bloor W, 416-534-6833. This 24-hour Korean all-you-can-eat spot just east of Christie Pits is one of the best meal deals in town. Did we mention the cheap beer? Open 24/7. Average main: $10. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNN