Everyone and their brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, and babysitter has gone on and on about the lack of good Chinese food in Seattle. Now, I am not going to blow smoke up your ass but enough already. Yes, Vancouver is way better, LA blows us out of the water, San Francisco kicks butt. You know what? Stop it with the negativity already. True we have no top to bottom great Chinese restaurants in Seattle. What we do have are restaurants that can do a really good job of a few to several dishes at each one, and you know what? That’s good enough for me.
I don’t need an epiphany every time I go out for Chinese food. I don’t even always need to be blown away. What I do need is to satisfy a craving when I do go out in search of something Chinese. Whether that craving is specific or generalised, with just a little effort I can usually satisfy it. Instead of lamenting what we don’t have constantly, why not take a happier approach? Seek out the dishes that you want at the places that do them well. Don’t try to get them all in one place.
I especially love a few dishes, dumplings, Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup, pork belly with preserved veggies, and spicy chitterling and pickled mustard green hot pot. There are places in Seattle where you can get perfectly good, even great renditions of these things. Can you find them all in one place? Oh, hell no. The next obvious question is, where do you go then loudmouth? Fine, here’s the first.
Yea’s Wok, Newcastle
It’s technically outside city limits, but shut it. A solid contender all around in when it comes to Chinese food, they server lunch and dinner seven days a week. There is one dish here though that keeps me coming back over and over. Spicy chitterling and pickled mustard green hot pot. It’s served in a brazier on a little can of Sterno that is brought to the table in all of its bubbling glory. Properly this dish is called Oooh Khung Chaang Waang, no idea how it translates, sorry.
It’s spicy, it’s piquant, it’s a bit funky, it’s offal-tastic, and it’s one of the few things my dad and I totally agree on. This is not a dish for the squeamish, but it rewards the adventurous with a full on rush of tastes.
There are other good dishes here as well, Kung Pao Kidneys for one and White Cut Goose. Unfortunately, this is one of those places that has succumbed to the American menu and Chinese menu dichotomy, so if you go make sure you have a tour guide.
There’s more good Chinese in the Seattle are, you just have to accept it for what it is and cherry pick where you go based on what you want. Oh, and by the way, in case you can’t tell, offal is my bag baby.