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Redwood Bark

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Can you taste the New Year?

Lunar New Year—also known as Chinese New Year, Tết ​​and Songkran — is celebrated over multiple days in many Asian countries, including China, Thailand and Vietnam. Like other holidays celebrated worldwide, it is traditionally filled with friends, family and delicious food. While Marin has sparse options for cuisines celebrating the Lunar New Year compared to our San Francisco neighbor, there are still generous restaurants available to lavish over new foods, new cultures and usher in the new year.

Ming’s Restaurant – Chinese

When going to Ming’s we recommend take-out, but don’t forget to order Vegetable Spring Rolls to bring wealth and Garlic Chow Mein for longevity.

Chinese New Year is one of China’s most important days in the lunisolar calendar; it reunites families over food and honors ancestors or deities. Many dishes are said to bring good luck: uncut noodles symbolize long life, spring rolls are associated with wealth and sweet rice balls signify unity and harmony. Ming’s Restaurant in Tiburon offers a variety of flavorful and authentic choices with large portions and reasonable prices while avoiding any excess greasiness. Their crispy spring rolls and diverse dim-sum options are must-tries. The dine-in experience is basic yet efficient; however, I recommend take-out to share with friends or family.

Here’s what I ordered: 

  • Vegetable Spring Rolls 
  • Deep Fried Sesame Balls 
  • All in One (Har Gow, Siu Mai, and Xiao Long Bao) 
  • Garlic Chow Mein 
  • BBQ pork buns 

Golden Era 1- Vietnamese 

Celebrate Lunar New Years with a hot and plentiful bowl of Pho, we recommend ordering a cup of their sweet and unique homeblend of herbal tea.

Tết Nguyên Đán, which translates into Festival of the first day, celebrates the arrival of spring based on the lunisolar Vietnamese calendar. The celebration is typically shared between friends and family by worshiping family altars, house cleaning and sharing food like Banh Chung (rice cake), spring rolls, steamed fish, pork belly or glass noodles. Golden Era 1, a woman-run Vietnamese restaurant in San Rafael, opened only a couple of months ago but has some of the best Vietnamese food in Marin. While they don’t have many traditional Tết dishes, they have rich and flavorful Pho options, particularly the Beef Rib Pho with tender meat that falls off the bone, and plenty of sauce options to doctor-up your dish. Whether take-out or dine-in, you can’t go wrong here. Despite an untraditional and somewhat off-putting exterior, indoors, you’ll find a simple yet pleasant dining atmosphere with a spacious seating area, friendly staff and fast service.

Here’s what I ordered:

  • Beef ribs noodles soup 
  • Egg Rolls
  • Chicken fried rice
  • Herbal Tea (must try unique home blend!)

The Baan Thai Cuisine – Thai 

A meal at The Baan Thai Cuisine is worth the trip for the welcoming environment lauded with hanging plants and friendly staff; afterwards walk down San Anselmo Ave for local shops, book stores and more.

Songkran is the Thai New Year’s national holiday to celebrate the movement into the New Year by visiting local temples and paying tribute to Buddha. As a holiday of unity, it brings together family and pays homage to ancestors, similar to traditions in China and Vietnam. Some traditional foods eaten during the holiday include Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, curries, Mango Sticky Rice and fried rice. The Baan Thai Cuisine in Ross has been named a Thai Select for honoring the authenticity of its cuisine and won Best Thai Restaurant 2022 in Marin County. Their credentials and awards are indeed a representation of their exceptional menu, any dish will surely surpass expectations. The dine-in atmosphere is warm and inviting with modern yet cozy decor and an attentive service. Whether you choose take-out or dine-in, it is surely worth a drive to San Anselmo. 

Here’s what I ordered:

  • Chicken Satay
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • Coconut Rice
  • Pad Thai

Some other great options: 

  • Burmatown (Larkspur)
  • DJ’s Restaurant (Larkspur)
  • R’Noh Thai (Ross)
  • Good Luck Dim Sum (San Francisco) 
  • Dragon Beaux (San Francisco)
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About the Contributor
Lucy Wong Ryniejski
Lucy Wong Ryniejski, Feature Editor
Lucy is a senior and one of this semester's feature editors. She enjoys spending time with friends, traveling, and cooking!