Rome's Esquiline Hill, one of the so-called seven (the true number depends on who's counting), is the sprawling swath of land that stretches from Stazione Termini to the Colosseum. In antiquity, the zone was rich in marketplaces, public baths, and noble villas, while today it is home to a quiet residential neighborhood built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—and filled with ethnic restaurants, old-school Roman specialties, and several gastronomic newcomers.
An introduction to the Esquiline should begin around Piazza Vittorio, one of the principal squares in the district. A couple of blocks away, the multicultural character of the neighborhood can be observed at the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino (Via Principe Amedeo), a large covered market inaugurated a decade ago. Stalls selling yams, okra, plantains, daikon, and chayote share the aisle with those displaying local chicory, field greens, and persimmon. Halal meats, lentils from the Indian subcontinent, herbs from Southeast Asia, and barrels of spices signal that you are in Rome's most diverse marketplace.
The surrounding area abounds with Chinese, Korean, and Indian restaurants. Hua Qiao (Via Giolitti 189) is one of the best Chinese restaurants in town and, while it won't win any hospitality awards, it does offer authenticity sadly absent from the far more popular Chinese restaurants nearby. Bi Won (via Conte Verde 62) does nice gogi gui (Korean barbecue) and Kabir Fast Food (Via Mamiani, 11) serves delectable Indian specialties cafeteria-style.