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Celebrate year of rabbit with traditional lion dances and great food this weekend in Salt Lake City

Chinatown Market in South Salt Lake

Like a wedding gatecrasher surreptitiously eyeing up the buffet spread, I’m forever looking for an excuse to join a party and grab a plate. As the year of the tiger wanes, and the rabbit beckons (and a water one at that), this coming weekend sees several places around the Wasatch mark the Spring Festival. With that in mind, here’s some food for thought.

One of the biggest events looks likely to be held in South Salt Lake’s fabulous China Town development – home to a variety of Chinese restaurants not least several other great Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese options too. The big bash (Saturday, January 21st) starts at 6.00 p.m. and will feature a traditional lion dance as well as dancing, prize draws and come 8.30 p.m – a thirty minute firework display.

Chinese Taste - mapo tofu
Chinese Taste – mapo tofu

Should you swing on by it makes a perfect opportunity to dine at one of the many interesting businesses at the facility, either before or after the festivities. Both if you’re like me. Heck grab a Korean corn dog to go from San Fran Burrito N Fryz – and you can indulge during the fun too. Whatever you do, budget some time to browse the large Chinatown Market (entrance pictured above) that anchors the site; as well as the endless aisles of sauces, noodles, spices and frozen goods – there’s an excellent fresh seafood and meat counter. Should you then plan your own feast at home – don’t forget our deep dive into chili crisp from last year.

My personal favorite Chinese restaurant in South Salt Lake is just around the corner from the market – Chinese Taste. They offer a range of authentic dishes with a prominent Sichuan inflection, as well as more common American-Chinese food too. On the Chinatown property itself – One More Noodle House generally wins the most consistent plaudits for their fiery Sichuan menu.

Meanwhile in Salt Lake City, one of my favorite Chinese restaurants – New Golden Dragon – will be holding a lion dance at the restaurant. The event will be a few days later on Friday, January 27th, more details here. My recommendation at New Golden Dragon is the chicken fried rice with salted fish. The Cantonese specialty is packed with chunks of ultra funky fermented fish – each bite delivering massive salty blasts of umami. Anchovy fans will love the powerful flavor, the fishy fearful might want to skip.

New Golden Dragon - salted fish and chicken fried rice
New Golden Dragon – salted fish and chicken fried rice

Local Chinese grocer Ocean Mart are also hosting similar events at their Roy and Ogden locations. Both events feature lion dances as well as other activities such as lantern riddles and fireworks. The Sandy location are also advertising membership specials in celebration too. If you head North, let me remind you of the virtues of Boba World in Woods Cross. The mom and pop eatery is home to ridiculously good Shanghai fat noodles, plump and stout strands that the restaurant make from scratch. Here’s my original Salt Lake Tribune review, which is a baffling decade old now. Time flies when you’re having noodles huh.

For Utah County folks, check this one out at University Place, Orem. A trio of Lion Dance parades will be held at noon, 3.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m – with the last dance followed by fireworks.

More options to make the occasion and learn while you’re at it – this Lunar New Year class at Salt Lake Culinary Education; as well as this event on the 21st that will teach you how to craft traditional dumplings.

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2 thoughts on “Celebrate year of rabbit with traditional lion dances and great food this weekend in Salt Lake City”

  1. The picture for One More Noodle House is actually Dan Dan (kale) noodles, not “kale ramen noodles”. The restaurant does not always have kale noodles available but they will again soon. Their belt noodles are the real star; get the “oil tossed noodles” to see they best they have to offer!

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