Taiyaki from mobile food truck BeanFish, at Dragon Fest on Saturday. Image from BeanFish's Facebook.

One could go to the annual Chinatown-International District summer festival to see the Massive Monkee break dancers, the giant Japanese taiko drums, and the lions and dragons dancing in the streets…but one could also go for the food, which is probably honestly the bigger incentive (at least, if you’re someone who reads this blog). The lineup for vendors in this year’s Dragon Fest, one of the biggest pan-Asian street fairs around, is longer than ever. This year organizers promise new food trucks and an extra city block of restaurants—and, yes, booze.

This year more than 30 restaurants—including 11 newcomers—will be part of the $2 Food Walk, giving festivalgoers two-buck servings of everything from sweet sesame balls to rice noodle salads. Consult the list of paticipants, stop into the restaurants, and grab some of these bites to sustain your walk around the festival, browsing the outdoor market or watching the performances. Traditional favorites like Harbor City (offering bean curd rolls and shu-mai dumplings) will be participating again, along with new additions such as Fortune Garden (curry fish balls or salt and pepper tofu). Restaurants will also be open for regular business and in-house meals. Collect stamps from five restaurants in the food walk and you can enter a raffle for prizes.

To make this an even bigger food deal, organizers are bringing back a bevy of food trucks and stalls and adding new ones to the list. Though these offerings aren't part of the $2 Food Walk, the variety of offerings is pretty impressive, too. On hand this year: Bean Fish Taiyaki, whose fried fish-shaped pancakes have been growing increasingly popular, as well as Shabu Chic's shave ice and Tako Kyuuban Takoyaki, whose fried octopus dumplings were a big hit last year.

The festival will also have an all-day outdoor Japanese beer and sake garden. On Saturday evening, adults can get $2 drink specials around neighborhood bars during the $2 Double Happiness Hour, and maybe get buzzed enough to participate in a new addition to Dragon Fest: an outdoor dance party that lasts until midnight.

The list of the participating restaurants, food trucks, and performers can be found here.  The Chinatown-International District 2013 Dragon Fest will take place on July 13 from noon – 8 pm, and July 14 from noon – 6 pm.

 

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