Tonight's Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce Asian restaurant cook-off at the Viking School of Culinary Arts in South Salt Lake saw six of Salt Lake's finest face down over chopsticks and paper plates before 200 guests. Along with the opportunity to enjoy some good food, it was also a potent reminder of the burgeoning growth of all things Asian in Utah.---
Along with Cafe Trang's mango fish, J Wong's Asian Bistro delivered up danang salmon curry, a beautifully dressed woman from West Valley-based Myung-Ga offered slivers of barbecued meat, Rice, an Asian fusion cuisine and sushi bar, provided a simple but elegant selection of sushi, Tandoor a lightly fragrant chicken curry and Layton-located Pad Thai pad thai noodles.
The winner of the cook-off by popular vote was Cafe Trang. I ran into the manager of State's Street's HoHo gourmet who rhapsodized over the quality of the lightly battered then deep friend tilapia served with strips of mango in garlic oil. The presentation, the texture and the taste were indeed all exceptional.
The Guv turned up at the last minute to award the silver plate to Cafe Trang while Asian Chamber president Roger Tsai looked on. Tsai has proved an adept hand at organizing beautifully mounted, perfectly executed public functions such as this. But the true star of the evening was the eternally modest Mayor Peter Caroon, who did a charming turn as guest chef.