Plate of Nations is the annual 16-day event (March 27-April 12) in Rainier Valley where twelve independently-owned ethnic restaurants offer $15 lunches and $25 dinners, each with enough food to feed two people.
Now in its fifth year, the MLK Business Association event is "going green," requiring all participating restaurants to demonstrate at least five ongoing green practices (water-saving, composting, recycling, etc.), verified by the Seattle Public Utilities’ Green Business Program. Participants must also feature at least one vegetarian special — because " studies have shown that the carbon footprint from food production for a meat-eater is about twice as much as a vegetarian," says event organizer Sarah Valenta.
Below, find our picks for five restaurants to hit for their green specials at Plate of Nations. Save for number five, all of these are totally new plates of food:
1. Foo Lam ong choy with preserved bean curd sauce and chili
Hollow ong choy stems trap the rich, fermented sauce, which bursts through with every bite.
2. Bananas Gril vegetable sambusas
These potato, pea, and lentil-filled Somali pastries are warmly seasoned to perfection.
3. Huarachitos tacos al Verduras a la Parrilla
Tangy, fruity, gently spicy guajillo tomato sauce smothers tortillas filled with grilled vegetables.
4. Rainier Restaurant & BBQ vegetarian Vietnamese crepes with vegetable wraps
Light, yet satisfying — enough said.
5. Café Ibex Atakletlte Alicha
This long-time favorite dish of sautéed-cabbage-and-potato will be served this year with misir wet, a mixture of red lentils, onions, red pepper and tomato sauce. — Sara Jones