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International Living Traditions festival

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
This is held every year here and is great fun and good food.


They close the street for a block and the various ethnic groups put up food booths from their cultures. Additionally, the park around the city and county building displays cultural crafts and traditions plus stages for the performing arts of the cultures. The neighboring library hosts other displays and movies. It's free to attend though food and things can also be bought as we did.

The way my family visits is like this. We pick out something to try, share it around and go to the next booth of interest. That way we get to try the greatest variety of different things.

From the Hawaiian booth we had a teriyaki beef stick. It was nostalgic for me as my mom taught school there (besides Alaska, and some other odd places) before it was a state and would make this sort of thing for our family. The kids had already declared the Shave Ice there would be our dessert.

From the Pakistani booth, we had a samosa, vegie curry and a chicken kabob. This must have been from a more eastern part of the country. The kabob was satay like with a peanut sauce. The vegie curry wasn't saucy, but very good. The samosa. was well executed, but never my favorite as I dislike peas. I preferred last year's Pakistan booth that was more Persian than Indian. Of course, where Pakistan is situationed, that's the food mix you'd expect there.

From the Phillipino booth we enjoyed some Lumpia and mango juice. It was canned, but the kids got a kick out of it.

We skipped the Tongan booth this year. There were more booths than last year too, so we may have to make it a two night affair to try more different things. We also skipped the Tibetan booth. We ate there last year and it was a bit too hot for the kids. Good though.

The lebanese booth was having a problem and so they were just serving some things they hand prepared earlier. All cold. The food is farily available in the area so we skipped it too.

We did visit the Salvadoran booth. There's a couple of enjoyable Salvadoran dives in town, but we hadn't been in a while. So we picked up some pupusas and a chicken tamale. The curtido hadn't aged as much as I like, but was a good accent the cheese and beans in the pupusas. Neither the Salvadorans nor the Peruvians were serving yuca frita this year, one of my favorites. We skipped the Peruvians as we were too full by the time we got to their booth later on.

From the remaining booths, we only ate a few. Just too much to try and not enough room. Many of these cuisines are served in town, so it wasn't such a big deal as we can eat them other times. There were Greek, Basque, Native American (great fry bread/Navajo Tacos last year), Mexican, Scottish complete with Haggis though it lacked some of the scary organs as they can't legally serve those here-- Italian, Swiss, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai.

What we did eat was Bonsian and Sudanese. There is a bosnisan joint on the way to Costco. I haven't tried it yet. We had cevapi, sort of gyro like sausage with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and such on an amazing flatbread. The flat bread was chewy and almost tough, but in such an enjoyable bread way. It was Ginormous.

The Sudanese was also a treat. We chose the spinach and onions over couscous. The couscous was the large style, what I see in the grocery store labeled as Israeli Couscous. Not a combination I would have put together, and the spinach heavily cooked down to a thick paste, it worked wonderfully. I don't suspect the original was made with spinach but some other local green back in Africa. Nevertheless, this was good soulful peasant food. They had a chicken stew, but I was about out of cash which I had to reserve for dessert or I'd have tried that too. The other interesting thing was to watch the women cook. I watched one chop a green pepper in her hand with a 10 inch chef's knife. I thought for sure she was going to mutilate herself. But then it dawned on me that she had probably never had a clean reliable surface to cook on before immigrating and that was just how the culture had to do it. She was quite skilled at it. Another person in line told me the people running the booth were supposed to have opened a restaurant. The booth was redolent of cinnamon though that spice was not in our chosen dish.

I posted about them once before, http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10559 I'm glad their enterprise is taking off.

I do have to admit, I have found out about a number of restaurants well below the radar by attending this event. Over the 15 or so years I've been going, I've had a lot of my first exposures there. And the last 5 years, the attendance is ramping up.

One of the cooking demos for tomorrow is naan. I plan on being to that one to refine my knowledge and technique.

Too much fun. If you're in SLC in May, try to come for the weekend this is going on, usually the weekend before Memorial day.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #2 of 4
Phil sounds like great fun and food to boot. I was once in Salt Lake City at Ogden Air Force Base. I must say you have some of the most beautiful country in the US I loved it out there. No nicer folks than in Utah!

Best Regards Cakerookie...
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thought I'd resurrect this thread as it was time to go to this again. I'll post some pics of it later.

Ate similarly this year to last year, but this year my niece and her husband are living in the area and they joined us. So there was a bit more capacity for sampling and sharing around. I packed some small disposable bowls, napkins and extra forks so we all had our own stuff to work with.

We started off with some Thai spring rolls. I think they were mislabled as they were fried. Tasty though. My daughter voted this as her favorite thing this year.

There was a clamor for fry bread from the kids as we passed the Native American booth. I was kind of surprised as we'd had some this week at home. But they had honey butter for it which we didn't at home.

Then we hit the Sudanese booth again. Had some couscous and spinach. Still just absolutely amazing stuff. Also tried the chicken sheia on white rice. This had some vaguely Indian flavors, certainly cumin and I think coriander as well but was fairly red colored. Good but not special. Also came with a lentil side dish which I would again compare to Indian dal.

Then some falafel on pita with lettuce tomatoes and a thin hummus as a dressing.

Followed by cheese pupusas with curtido. They had a huge 5-gallon bucket brimming with curtido. Something I don't see every day.

My nephew-in-law (?) had made some of the Kool-Aid pickles. Visually frightening, but not as horrific to taste as it sounded. Still not good either. http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/food-...d-pickles.html

And a gyro salad with tons of feta. THICK whole wheat pita on the bottom, the grilled lamb forcemeat, lettuce, tomato, tzatziki and did I mention feta. The lady put the feta on, looked at the pile and took some back off and there was still tons of feta.

Dessert. The adults had various cakes from the Swiss booth. Two slices chocolate cakes with raspberries, I had a slice of Sachertorte because of the discussion here a couple of days ago and I had never had it. (http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/pastr...eal-thing.html ) And a marzipan torte slice rounded out the adult selection. The kids had the Rainbow shave ice from the Hawaiian booth. My wife wanted to wash down her raspberry cake with a mango shave ice as well. The shave ice was made and flavored by my friend's company's products. http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/food-...e-flavors.html

We saw the Peruvian folk troupe perform dances and songs while we ate.

Security was ramped up this year. The whole area was fenced off with gated entrances watched by guards. There had always been police around on other years but this was at a higher level. Glad it all still works out in this security conscious world.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 


Sudanese food

The bag of Kool-Aid pickles

The kids eating shave ice.

The booths, looking roughly North. The building on the right is the library. Salt Lake City Public Library - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Where Democracy Happens—Library of the Year - 6/15/2006 - Library Journal
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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