A Day in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District

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Seattle’s Chinatown, or ID as locals call it, is a cultural hub that is rich with history. It’s like a tiny version of San Francisco’s Chinatown. It may not be as big, but on the plus side, it’s less congested with people. There are all kinds of attractions, shopping and yummy eats. My days in the rainy city were numbered, so I took a day to explore. When I was not staying in one of the Lake Union Seattle hotels on the rainy days, I would be exploring all of the diverse and cultural restaurants that the city consisted of.

The famous Chinatown Gate
Uwajimaya
600 5th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104

Parking can be a serious pain here. The best thing to do is either take the bus in, or park at Uwajimaya Village, which is a huge Asian supermarket. The first hour is free with a $7 purchase. It’s impossible to leave that store empty handed. It’s packed with live fish, fresh meat, imported (and inexpensive) Asian cooking supplies and a huge food court that kicks the crap out of any mall in America.

Uwajimaya has one of the best lunch platters in Seattle. It’s half of a Peking Duck, rice and veggies for $10.99. The duck comes in that traditional Chinatown style, cooked and hanging. They chop it up right in front of you and it’s ready to eat. There was so much meat that I was able to cook another meal with it: Duck fried rice. I added the veggies and rice that it already came with and pan fried it with soy sauce. This is a great bang for your buck with this plate.
I walked around for blocks and tried a couple of pastries. Honestly, Asian pastries are a bit of a “miss” for me. They often taste a little too chalky, sometimes stale. I was intrigued when I walked by a spot that had a sign advertising “Chinese Herbal Jell-O”. Sounds strange, right? I had to try it.
Sub Sand
419 6th Ave S
(between Jackson St & Jefferson St)
Seattle, WA 98104
Sub Sand is known for their Vietnamese sandwiches, but I had to try that Jell-O. Especially after the man working there told me the Ancient Chinese believed it cured a common cold. I was stuffed up and willing to try anything to get rid of it. Upon first glance, it reminds me of the image below… and if you can name the movie it’s from in a comment below, I will give you a Twitter and Facebook shout out…
The texture is just like Jell-O, but it has a herbal/medicinal taste. They pour simple syrup over it to cover the taste but it doesn’t help… It’s not something I’d order again, but it was fun to try. I also had a hot and creamy Hong Kong Tea, which is hot black tea mixed with condensed milk. Also, I’m a huge dork and I loved the “under the sea” theme of Sub Sand which comes complete with life size hanging Hammerhead sharks.
After my stroll around town it was time to meet my friend Nin for a nosh session. One of our favorite spots in Seattle is Tamarind Tree.
Tamarind Tree
1036 S Jackson St
Ste A
(between S 12th Ave & S 10th Ave)
Seattle, WA 98104
Nin introduced me to this fantastic Vietnamese spot last Summer. During the Summer the patio has a quasi-LA feel to it, since it’s modern but with a lot of bamboo and Asian style infused to it. It was a dreary day as you can see form above so we had to sit indoors. For the Winter, they have a powerful fireplace that perfectly heats the room.
Nin and I shared the Cut Nuong Me (aka Quail in Tamarind Sauce) and it was awesome. Although it appears smallish, it was a decent amount for two people to share. It’s almost like having a side of fancy chicken wings. The Quail is marinated in a tamarind sauce which makes it perfectly tangy and has a side of carrots. Plus I love the sides Tamarind brings out with every meal, which are bean sprouts, mint, lime, jalapenos and another side of lime-chili sauce.
I’m going to miss you Seattle!
January 30, 2013

Julianne

Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2023647/ For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.

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