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AAPI Night Spotlight Series Presented by Visit Utah

Updated Spotlight

When Real Salt Lake suits up on Saturday, August 6 against LAFC, the Club will be celebrating its second Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Night, honoring members of the AAPI community in the Beehive State. In 2012 August was designated as the Utah Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month to celebrate the ever-growing AAPI population, which has more than doubled since the turn of the century.

One of the best ways to honor and support the AAPI community is to get a taste of their culture at one of the flavorful restaurants up and down the Wasatch Front. While there are countless restaurants cooking up great AAPI cuisine in Utah, here are some of our and Visit Utah’s favorites:

Chubby Baker

Moving to Utah from Thailand during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Chubby Baker Owner Ying Nance is bringing delectable donuts, pastries, and cakes to the Wasatch Front. Nance struggled to find any baked goods she enjoyed, so she started baking herself. Her business began with Nance handling customer pickups out of her own mother-in-law's home until opening a storefront just around the corner from Liberty Park in October 2021. Her self-taught style and Thai background creates tasty, fruit-filled treats like her top selling passion fruit cream cheese donut and seasonal cakes such as Young Coconut Cake.

Bucket of Crawfish

Prestigious restaurateur Mai Nguyen brought her roots to West Valley City with Bucket of Crawfish. Nguyen has been catching crawfish with her family in Strawberry Lake and fine tuning the special sauce for over 20 years before opening the restaurant in 2010. Twelve years later and it’s a staple in the SLC seafood scene. Bucket of Crawfish was awarded the 2021 Best of SLC: Seafood Category due to its fresh seafood, secret broth, special sauces and perfect mix of Cajun and West-Coast Asian flavor. Additionally, Nguyen has a long list of top restaurants and real estate developments across the Wasatch Front with her Sapa Investment Group, including places like Purgatory, Omo, and Sapa.

Thai Village

In the heart of Utah County, Dao Vannarath is cooking up authentic, fresh Thai Cuisine that everyone can love. A native of Laos, Vannarath moved to Utah in 2003 and hoped to achieve the American dream through the universal language of food. To accomplish this, he opened Thai Village a year later with recipes he learned in his childhood and new ones he picked up along the way. Since then Vannarath has expanded, opening a second restaurant, Thai Hut, in Provo with the same family style flavors.

Hungry Hawaiian

Located in Woods Cross, Hungry Hawaiian has been a Utah staple since the late 70’s. Hungry Hawaiian is known for being the original Hawaiian restaurant in Utah and serves all the favorites plus traditional Luau foods such as lomi lomi salmon and laulau. Started by Ned Aikau, the Hawaiian cuisine is now served by Ned’s son, Keni who has recently expanded the family business out to Provo. You can also find Hungry Hawaiian on the road with the HH food truck making stops all over Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah Counties.

Ejo Korean BBQ

Originally from Korea, owner Cynthia Seo’s family has been serving Korean food to the Salt Lake community for over 30 years. Cynthia’s mother was the original owner of Korea House Restaurant which opened back in 1986, and Cynthia has now carried on the family-owned business with Ejo Korean BBQ in South Salt Lake. The Korean restaurant opened back in 2014 and still gives that family-feel to the traditional cuisine along with tasty meats to throw on the grill.