Restaurant News: Celebrate Lunar New Year with these local dining ideas

Chinese New Year, aka Lunar New Year or Spring Festival (various names nod to inclusion of other Asian cultures that celebrate) will commence on Feb. 1 in 2022. It’s the Year of the Tiger.

This iconic Chinese holiday is all about the color red, featured in the red envelopes that contain cash gifts given to family, a predominately red color of fireworks, brightly lit lanterns and celebratory cuisine served at gatherings.

This year, we have Lunar New Year Edmonds, launched to celebrate the diverse Asian culture in our community.

In China, the celebration is almost two weeks long, starting on New Year’s Eve Jan. 31, and ending with the lantern festival on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year… in this case Feb. 14. Wow — Valentine’s Day will keep us in celebration mode a bit too.

The most traditional food on the lantern festival is called Yuan Xiao, glutinous rice balls that are usually filled with sweet bean, peanut or sesame paste. I found many spots to order this dish — Xiao Long Bao — in our area: Fashion Dim Sum, Dumpling Generation – Edmonds, Furi Chinese Restaurant, Dumpling House, Boiling Fish, Dong Ting Chung, and more.

Since the animal featured for 2022 will be the tiger, here’s a Thai dish served at several local restaurants called “Crying Tiger” or Nom Tok — an exquisite Thai-style, grilled tender beef brisket with Jaew sauce (spicy, savory, tangy, aromatic, pungent sauce). When the brisket was on a hot grill, oil from the fat that dripped from the meat onto the grill resembled the tears. Hence, it seemed like the tiger was crying:

Nom Tok or Crying Tiger.

Restaurant News thought this might be a good opportunity to remind our readers of all the restaurants that serve not just Chinese dishes, but an amazing variety of Asian fusion cuisine.

We’ve got two weeks, so visit several of these area restaurants and celebrate 2022 the Year of the Tiger.

Best of Chengdu, Lynnwood

Boiling Fish, Ranch Market/Edmonds

Brothers Chinese, Lynnwood

Chopsticks, Edmonds. (They offer tips on “How to Read Chinese Menu”)

Dong Ting Chun, Edmonds

Dumpling Generation, Edmonds

Dumpling House, located at G Mart in Lynnwood

Fashion Dim Sum, Edmonds

Furi Chinese, Edmonds,

Golden House, Lynnwood/Mukilteo,

Johnny’s Wok, Lynnwood.

Szechuan Cuisine, Mountlake Terrace,

T and T Seafood, Ranch Market/Edmonds

Yummy Box food truck, based in Edmonds

Listed below are establishments still not reopened after a fire in September closed the entire Plum Tree Plaza complex.

Fire damage at Plum Tree Plaza.

I am posting to remind everyone that we are missing out on fabulous food. There’s also a fund aimed at helping them recover (see our earlier story here)  so we may enjoy their cuisine again soon.

Additional locations serving Asian cuisine

Baguus, Mountlake Terrace

Bar Dojo, Asian fusion, Edmonds

Boiling Point, Taiwanese hot soup, Edmonds

B Thai, Lynnwood

Looking for Chai, Taiwanese, Edmonds

Noodle Hut, Thai street food, Edmonds

Chicken Prince (Stars in the Sky), Edmonds. (Famous for Korean fried chicken, the restaurant has changed its name to Chicken Prince and renovated as well. Same ownership, same great food.)

Savvy Thai, Edmonds

Thai by Day, Edmonds

Thai Cottage, Edmonds

Giveaway at Claire’s

On a related note, Claire’s Pantry in Edmonds invites you to celebrate the Lunar New Year with them. On Jan. 30, Claire’s will hand out Tiger Year Red Pocket (Hongbao) to the first 100 children ages 5 years and under.

~ ~ ~ ~

Visiting Furi Chinese in Edmonds 

“Furi Chinese,” she said. “They have Cake Noodle!”

A good friend of Chinese heritage, who was raised in Hawaii, assures me that this Chinese dish, Cake Noodle, is extremely popular in Honolulu. ”Cake Noodles are the best, so good and so very different from chow mein,” she says. “I was raised on the stuff.”

All the “in the know” locals go to Furi and order Cake Noodle. Of course, I had to try out this dish for myself. Please note, this dish is not on the menu online. One must phone in or order in person at the restaurant.

Cake Noodle

The basic recipe builds on fresh Chinese egg noodles, sautéed in oil. Thick stacks  are formed, then cut into 2-inch squares, and plated up and served in a hoisin-type sauce. A host of toppings give the dish variety, and I enjoyed a square just on its own too.

I chuckled — OK — but this dish looks like squares of dried ramen noodles, I wondered, could one use noodles straight from the packages? Ingenious shortcut, but no. These were tender, and merely arranged into squares and dressed with the sauce. One could add meat or seafood to the order and make a whole feast of the dish.

The Cake Noodle is a reverse spin on a concept of cross-culture cuisines. But it made me think about another example of products adopted into local culture —  Spam, the tinned luncheon meat served to GIs during WWII.

Hosts of restaurants in Hawaii boast an entire menu of entrees is comprised of Spam as the main ingredient. One can drive through at McDonalds and peruse choices on the menu board. A Spam breakfast is offered alongside the more familiar Egg McMuffin. A foam plate comes bearing scrambled eggs, a scoop of rice and a couple of slabs of Spam:

But I digress.

Back to Furi Chinese. Of course…I didn’t just order Cake Noodle.

My “preview” Lunar New Year meal — takeout from Furi — included many yummy dishes.

Hot and Sour Soup began our meal. We ordered a bowl, generous enough for three. Lots of black cloud mushrooms give the bold broth a zing, and my family spooned it up in a flash.

Shrimp Egg Foo Young portion was so generous – three disks of egg-battered bean sprout cakes, and each contained several shrimp. And best of all, no one had to share. An order comes with the sauce in a separate container, which was nice as it could be reheated at home before serving.

We also had Steamed Buns — ours were pork. An rder contains four meat-filled buns of substantial stature, and contents were spiced perfectly; every bite had some of the spicy pork meat.

I love colorful dishes and the Eggplant with Garlic sauce fits the bill.  Purple-skinned veggies, plus orange carrots, green bell pepper, a light sauce that supported the flavors, and a portion large enough to share with everyone at the table.

Honey Walnut Shrimp should be listed as a dessert, because we were scraping the container to get the sauce that tops off the toasted walnuts and steamed shrimp. It is tangy, sweet and just light enough that it doesn’t weigh down the ingredients. We saved it for last, and carefully counted out each morsel of walnut and shrimp.

The owners at Furi shared with me a list of special dishes they will offer to patrons during the Lunar New Year, and encourage celebrants to order soon:

Furi Lunar New Year specials

Dessert from many Chinese eateries is simply the fortune cookies offered up with the receipt. For more specialized items, visit the 85 Degrees bakeries in our area. Located at 22611 76th Ave W #100, Edmonds, and at 18700 33rd Ave. W. A, Lynnwood, each bakery has plenty to sweeten the ending to your celebrations.

85 Degrees boxes to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Here’s to the Year of the Tiger, and hope that your 2022 fortune cookies all contain positive messages.

(Readers — if you have a favorite spot that you do not see listed, please share in  comments so we can post in my article.)

— By Kathy Passage

A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

 

One Reply to “Restaurant News: Celebrate Lunar New Year with these local dining ideas”

  1. Thanks so much for including descriptions of food for the Lunar New Year celebration! We lived in Asia for many years and celebrate this time of year, but usually go to the International District to eat and see a lion dance. It’s great to hear of Asian food places near Edmonds and to read the descriptions. Finding authentic Asia dishes can be a challenge to find since different areas of Asia fix them in different ways, and since some may be “Americanized”.

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