9 Amazing Asian Foods to Try in Seattle's International District (2023)

From plump crab dumplings served in a bamboo basket to crispy banh mi baguettes stuffed with grilled pork and artfully arranged raw fish sashimi, the culinary delights of China, Vietnam, Japan and other Asian cultures come together in one visit in the Seattle International District.

Once known primarily as Chinatown, the neighborhood that sits between downtown Seattle and its sports stadiums was referred to as thatInternational Districtin the late 1990s. Today, the district includes areas such as Japantown and Little Saigon, as well as the original Chinatown.

On my last trip toSeattle, I set out to sample as much of the city's Asian cuisine as I could and found many eateries in the International District that appeal to both locals and visitors. One of the beauties of the neighborhood is that the different Asian cuisines are quite close together. You can easily enjoy an authentic Vietnamese appetizer, a Chinese entree, and a Filipino dessert, all within blocks of each other.

Here are nine Asian dishes to try in the Seattle International District.

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1. Seafood stew

Pot of Happy Lamb

For a comforting lunch on a chilly Seattle afternoon, few options are more satisfying than hot pot. As the name suggests, the hot pot cooking method features a heat source in the center of the table where a pot of hot broth is brought to a boil. Guests order their favorite broths along with assorted meats, seafood, tofu, and vegetables. After the broth simmers, everyone cooks their selection using the helpful utensils provided.

On a rainy November afternoon, my family visited Happy Lamb Hot Pot, a cozy restaurant on the second floor of the International District. We opted for the all-you-can-eat option, which allowed for multiple courses and a seemingly endless combination of meats and veggies.

I love Hot Pot not only for the well-cooked food that comes out of the broth, but also for the social aspects. It's a great family meal where everyone contributes and chooses their favorite combinations.

Although Happy Lamb is known for its tender lamb and beef, I also enjoyed the varied seafood dishes, including mini octopus, shrimp, and fish.

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2. Har Gow and Roast Duck

Fischrestaurant Honey Court

Dim sum, the traditional Chinese meal consisting of small portions of dumplings, steamed buns and fried delicacies, is available at numerous locations in the International District. A quick internet search will yield a variety of options, each with their own specialities. For classic options with a focus on seafood, my family loves thisFischrestaurant Honey Court, a humble place in the middle of the International District.

One of the things I love about a dim sum brunch or lunch is the opportunity to sample small bites from numerous dishes. The Honey Court offers an extensive menu of shrimp, crab, sole, oysters, spare ribs, duck and tofu. We tried a variety of dishes including BBQ duck with fluffy little buns, walnut shrimp and taro cake. The highlight for me was thewow, a steamed dumpling with shrimp wrapped in a tender rice flour dough.

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At Honey Court, diners tick off their choices on a paper chart, and the different dishes come out of the kitchen when ready. Traditionally served with tea, dim sum is a calming and relaxing meal.

3. Garlic Shrimp and Cabbage Soup

Tai Tung

The venerable International DistrictTai TungThe restaurant has a few celebrity claims that set it apart from others. One is Tai Tung's place as Seattle's oldest Chinese restaurant, and the other is the restaurant's history as martial arts legend Bruce Lee's favorite restaurant.

These two features, along with the restaurant's classic Chinese cuisine, make Tai Tung an iconic stop in the International District. HeVisit the Seattle websitenotes that the restaurant "has been serving amazing Chinese food since Grandpa Quan opened his doors in 1935."

Tai Tung commemorates his connection to Bruce Lee with a booth at the back of what was Lee's favorite restaurant. Fans of the actor and martial artist will also want to try Lee's two favorite dishes at Tai Tung: garlic shrimp and beef with oyster sauce, both served with cabbage soup.

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4. Sashimi and Peking Duck


For a tour of Asian cuisine all under one roof, the main location of the Asian market and grocery store.UwajimayaIt's the place to be in Seattle. The International District complex offers more than 35,000 square feet of Asian specialties that, combined with its 93-year history, make the store a "must see in Seattle," according to the store's website.

I love visiting Uwajimaya not only for its incredible array of Asian foods like high-quality sesame oil, noodles of practically every type, and remarkable array of fresh seafood, but also for its fun Food Hall, which features restaurants from nearly a dozen countries. over Asia.

Plus, Uwajimaya Deli offers an impressive menu of favorites like sushi rolls, pork rolls, and poke. Two highlights for me were the freshly roasted Peking duck and the raw fish sashimi, available beautifully sliced ​​and packaged at Sashimi Island.

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5. Ube Windbeutel (Lilac Yamswurzel)

Bart Papa

Asian specialty venues include the Uwajimaya Food HallBart Papa, the chain of Japanese cream puffs that has become a popular dessert in places around the world. Dubbed "the best cream puffs in the world," Beard Papa's started in Japan almost 25 years ago and has since grown to more than 400 stores in 15 countries.

What sets Beard Papa's apart is the unique flavors. You'll find green tea eclairs, crunchy almond fritters and cream puffs filled with vanilla, green tea or chocolate. For a decadently delicious treat, try the Ube Cream Balls, which are filled with a fluffy purple yam-flavored cream (ube) that originated in the Philippines.

6. Salty Bread and Ube Latte

Bakery/Cafe + Bar Famous Hood

A taste of the Philippines can be had at a variety of restaurants in the International District and in the area sometimes known as Filipino Town. Stop by for a traditional breakfast or a late-night snackHood's famous coffee shop + bar, a cafeteria-bakery during the day and a cocktail bar with Filipino bar food at night.

Hood Famous is located in the Publix building in the International District, which was originally built to house migrant workers and housed Filipino canners and farm workers, according to the cafe's website. "Since we opened our Cafe + Bar in 2019, we have brought back that history through our cuisine, Filipino hospitality, storytelling and absolute visibility," he adds.

The daily menu focuses on desserts, baked goods, and light snacks, as well as Asia Pacific coffee. It's hard to beat a breakfast-on-the-go with Hood Famous's pan de sal, baked fresh all morning (also available as a breakfast sandwich with sweet pork, egg, mayonnaise, and butter lettuce) and a Hot Ube Latte.

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7. Banh Mi Shrimp Spring Rolls

Saigon Deli

From pho to stir fry noodles to banh mi, guests will find all traditional Vietnamese favorites atSaigon Deli, a mainstay in the Seattle International District.

Saigon Deli is known for its hearty grilled pork banh mi, served on a crusty Vietnamese baguette and stuffed with shredded carrots, cucumber and cilantro. For a perfect side, consider shrimp spring rolls made fresh from the deli (Phone call) filled with rice noodles and salad and served with peanut sauce or the hearty pho (noodle soup) with beef, chicken, tofu or shrimp and served with bean sprouts, basil and lime.

8. Spicy miso soup with clams and gyoza


Lovers of traditional Japanese cuisine should visit Seattle's oldest Japanese restaurant,Maneki, a Japantown favorite for over 100 years. When it opened its doors in 1904, Maneki was the city's first sushi bar.tatamiRooms (private mat rooms) and karaoke bar.

Maneki is known for its authentic atmosphere and cuisine, and its menu includes everything from miso with black cod neck to udon noodle dishes, teriyaki beef and tempura, nigiri sushi with yellow tail, shrimp, squid or scallop.

For a hot and nutritious appetizer, consider the plain miso soup or the steaming miso soup with clams in an iron pot, along with an order of homemade maneki gyoza. The Maneki website indicates that the restaurant offers dinner upon prior reservation.

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9. Japanese Taiyaki


Another Japanese comfort food found at Uwajimaya Food Hall is taiyaki, a fish-shaped waffle traditionally filled with red bean paste and sold as a street food. HebeanfishUwajimaya's restaurant prepares its waffles to order using cast-iron skillets, flames, and homemade batter.

Filled waffles are served sweet or savory. BeanFish's sweet fillings include unique flavors like original sweetened organic adzuki beans or classic smooth custard, along with options like matcha green tea or strawberries and Nutella. Savory fillings include bacon, egg, potatoes, cheese, scallions or mushrooms, and garlic sautéed in sesame oil with wasabi peas and Swiss cheese.

The BeanFish website notes that the business started out as a food truck popping up at street fairs, business parks and markets before becoming a permanent restaurant in Uwajimaya.

Pro Tip:The International District is one of the key stops on the Efficientlight railSystem, and many of the neighborhood's restaurants are within walking distanceBahnhof International District/Chinatown.

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