Eating Globally, Locally


Justin Prather

Puntas de fillet a la norteña at the Red Iguana on North Temple in Salt Lake City. (Photo by: Justin Prather | The Utah Chronicle).

By Adelina Whitten

Utah is primarily known for the Mormon pioneers who settled here in 1847 and fry sauce. Salt Lake City is actually home to a thriving variety of different cultures and religions. SLC’s food market is equally diverse and delicious. From Japanese cuisine to Italian delicacies, there is a cornucopia of options to chow down on. It’s easy to eat Del Taco and Burger King daily, but American fast food lacks the authenticity of foreign specialties. Here are some great selections in the Salt Lake Valley to break out of your food rut.

Pardon My French

Everyone dreams of visiting France, drinking wine in a vineyard and enjoying delightful gourmet dishes. The crêpe is only one of the delicious treats with origins in the Brittany region of the northwest corner of France. The thin pancake has been around for a long time. Traditionally, crêpes were made with buckwheat flour and believed to symbolize prosperity. Today, white flour is used and the crêpe is sold as a popular street food in France.

While crêpes might not hold the same prestige in SLC as in France, they are still delicious. Monsieur Crêpes keeps tradition alive with their made-from-scratch French crêpes. Not only do you get an authentic taste of France, but you also get to watch the magic happen when the French Chef Maxime and his wife Raysha make your order right in front of you. A trip to Monsieur Crêpes will catapult you into an international outing you won’t regret.

Let Me Shriek for Greek

Traced as far back as ancient Greece, souvlaki is a fast food staple commonly found in Greek restaurants. Meat and vegetables are grilled on a skewer and eaten directly off the stick. While souvlaki is sometimes served with pita bread, it is usuallyeaten on its own.

Founded in 1972, Greek Souvlaki serves an assortment of authentic Greek dishes. Lee and Mary Paulos decided to open the restaurant after a family trip to Greece. With locations in downtown SLC, West Valley, Murray, South Jordan and Lehi, the taste of chicken or pork souvlaki is definitely within reach. Take a tour to the nearest Greek Souvlaki and experience a Southern European dining experience unlike any other.

Jiving Japanese Cuisine

College students live on a diet of free campus handouts and Maruchan Ramen. As much as I love the packaged noodles, I love the real thing even more. The history of ramen is quite messy, fitting for a dish of tangled noodles, meats and vegetables. While most of the flavor lies in the broth, toppings are just as important in the Japanese soup. Scallions, pork, nori and boiled eggs are regularly featured atop the mound of noodles, creating unique tastes. What’s so great about Japanese ramen is the diversity of the dish. Each shop has original recipes with varying ingredients, broths, noodles, and garnishes, making each taste as novel as the first.

Koko Kitchen in Salt Lake City, UT on Wednesday September 12, 2018.
(Photo by Curtis Lin/ Daily Utah Chronicle)

Tired of boiling up cheap, pre-packaged noodle squares? Head over to Koko’s Kitchen in downtown SLC and order the real deal. This restaurant is truly a gem: large portions, affordable prices and extraordinary homemade ramen. The array of flavors alone is enough to keep you coming back time and time again.

Spanish Specialties

On a hot summer day, we often stray from warm foods to ease our body temperature. In Spain, people eat gazpacho, a cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables. Often using fresh tomato, onion, pepper and cucumber, the mixture is an incredibly nutritious and refreshing alternative to chilled American entrees. While not as popular as other Spanish dishes, gazpacho is still tasty.

You might find the lack of gazpacho in SLC restaurants surprising, and I did too to tell the truth. If you’re looking to try this invigorating entrée, I suggest you make it at home. If a homemade gazpacho isn’t an option, try heading over to Red Iguana. While the soup isn’t on the menu, it never hurts to ask if some is available. If it’s not, you’re still at one the of the most delicious restaurants in SLC, so it’s basically a win-win situation.

SLC is alive with culture. A step into the downtown area is all it takes to emerge yourself into an impeccably diverse world. Try something new by taking a leap into the unfamiliar, starting with those listed above. Potential distaste is a small price to pay for a completely flavorful experience.

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