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Attn: East Coasters- Where's The Decent Chinese Food In Seattle??

  • m

Hi. My wife and I have tried several of the highly recommended Seattle Chinese food restaurants we've read about and have been disappointed every time. I wanted to see if anyone here who's from the east coast (like from New York city for instance) has found any gems here?? We're not afraid to drive if it means finding some great chinese food in the greater Seattle area. Thanks in advance.

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  1. n
    Nick Nussbaum

    Most of the chinese here,especially Szechuan, is not in the same leauge as NY or even Boston. Tryaeafood, although I haven't had a good clams in black bean sauce here. I'm not up on the International District current favorites. One old standby is Shanghai Gardens in the International District for the hand cut green noodles.

    My current favorite is Jeems in Redmond at 148 and 24th in the Safeway Mall. Hong Kong Seafood with good dim sum at lunch. It's the only edible hot and sour soup I've had here.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Nick Nussbaum

      Thanks for the response. I'm going to check out Jeems this week. I have to believe there is at least one restaurant here that fits the bill. We moved here from Portland and while it took several years we finally did find a restaurant that was just as good if not better than anything I could get in New York. It turns out this restaurant (A Taste Of China in Lake Oswego) imported their cook from New York. Anyway, I have to believe Seattle will have at least one great Chinese restaurant given the asian population. I hope and pray this is the case at least!

      1. re: Mike

        I just moved here from DC... I have tried several places and found Judy FU's to be totally overrated.

        However, Shanghai Garden is really good-- esp. the hand shaved noodles and the soup dumplings. It's always busy in there which does tend to be a good sign.

      2. re: Nick Nussbaum

        Hey Nick. We went to Jeems the day I read your post. It was packed when we got there which is always an encouraging sign. We ended up having dim sum since it was Sunday. I have to say it's certainly the best Chinese food we've had so far. I'd like to go back and order off the menu next time. Thanks for the recco.

      3. It would help a lot to know where you've been already and what you didn't like about those places.

        5 Replies
        1. re: KathyR

          Hi Kathy. Here's where we have been to so far. Any new suggestions would be appreciated....

          Louie's Cuisine of China - yuck.

          Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon - mediocre food but probably
          had the most flavor of anything we've had so far in Seattle.

          Shanghai Garden - ok but nothing special. not much flavor.

          Seven Pepper Pepper- probably the worst chinese food I've ever tasted. We left both our entrees pretty much untouched. The hot and sour soup was ok though. The most memorable thing about this restaurant was that Bill Gates and his wife sat down next to us. That was cool.

          Jade Garden - can't even remember the food. It was ok but not memorable at all.

          Chinese Wok - not bad but nothing special. Tasted like the home made chinese food I would make at home with my wok.

          1. re: Mike

            I'm with you on Judy Fu's. So overrated.

            If you really hated Seven Stars Pepper (I'm seriously puzzled by this) and Shanghai Garden, however, I'm afraid you're destined to be disappointed by Chinese food in Seattle. I love Seven Stars and know scores of people who do as well.

            Give Sichuanese Cuisine a try (in the Asian Plaza, NW corner of 12th & Jackson). You don't go here for the atmosphere, but the food is excellent (the Chinese community in Seattle seems to agree) and very cheap. The same restaurant is also referred to as "Lo Sichuan."

            1. re: KathyR

              I too am blown away by someone hating Seven Stars Pepper-I've never had a bad dish there (their crab is one of my all time favorite dishes). What did you order? Was the food truly bad or do you prefer other types of Chinese rather than Szechuan?

              Also, no one has yet mentioned T and T Seafood in Edmonds. I believe it's Cantonese, if you are looking for that.

              1. re: KathyR

                I agree with you on Seven Stars Pepper and Sichuanese Cuisine (isn't it called Sichaun Noodle House, though? Maybe they changd the name. I know they changed the sign.). Perhaps more importantly, my Chinese friends agree, and in fact are the ones who got me to try these places. But, I suppose it's possible that my Chinese friends have never had the privilege of eating Chinese food in New York, so maybe they don't know what they're talking about.

                1. re: BradS

                  Brad: It's always been Sichuanese Cuisine (AKA "Lo Sichuan") as far as I know. If they've changed the sign, I have no idea, since unfortunately I moved out of Seattle a few months ago. I'd love to hear confirmation from someone who drives past 12th & Jackson, though.

          2. My favorite is Imperial Garden in the Great Wall Mall near Ikea in Renton.

            I've heard nothing but raves about Seven Stars Pepper in the International District for Szechuan food.

            A Chinese co-worker told me recently that Yee's Wok in Newcastle is the best place he's found in the Seattle area.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tighe

              That's Yea's Wok if you really want to find it ;) And I highly recommend their do si xue yu... sea bass with crumbly spices and red sauce.

              Also, Sea Garden in Bellevue is good with excellent service.

              I'm not from the east coast, but I've eaten CHinese food there... its tough to beat.

              1. re: starflyer

                Thanks for the reply. Adding your suggestions to the growing list!

              Honeycomb Seafood Restaurant
              Kau Kau BBQ fnor lunch.
              Top Gun for dim sum.

              Rainier Valley/Rainier Beach:
              Hong Kong Seafood for dinner or sim sum
              Saigon Dynasty Seafood both vietnamese and chinese but stick to chinese
              Golden Lakes Restaurant small menu and slow but good.

              try these before you judge Seattle, theres also many more

              4 Replies
              1. re: josh

                Top Gun in the ID has been closed for some time. There is one in Factoria -- haven't been, but I heard it is on par with the old ID one.

                1. re: Nick Z

                  I actually think the Bellevue Top Gun is better than the one in Seattle, mostly because it is a larger space and has more variety. It's my favorite Dim Sum place in the Seattle area - although House of Hong seems to have improved some since they remodeled.


                2. re: josh

                  Correction its the Honey Court Seafood Rest., also order some crab!

                  1. re: josh

                    Thanks for the list. I will definitely check each one out - one by one.

                  2. I'm curious about the significance of East Coasters' opinions on this matter. The West Coast tends to have better Chinese food and more sophicated palates when it comes to Chinese food, in my experience, and a lot more San Franciscans, Los Angelenos and Vancouverites travel to Seattle than New Yorkers. You are most likely discouraging some valuable inputs.

                    Link: http://eatingchinese.org

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Gary Soup

                      Everyone knows you can't get any good food outside of NYC....

                      1. re: Madhatter

                        Houston is good for Tex-Mex, Seafood, and Barbeque. NY does have the best Chinese takeout.

                      2. re: Gary Soup

                        Well I guess it's all personal opinion. All the restaurants we've tried so far were highly reviewed in the major newspapers in town. I was trying to take a different angle to find a restaurant that was more in tune with what we considered tasty Chinese. I've definitely had some great Chinese food in Vancouver BC and San Francisco without having to look very hard.

                      3. The best Cantonese-style restaurant in the Greater Seattle area is T&T Seafood, located next to the Ranch 99 Supermarket in Edmonds. For Dim Sum, go to Noble Court in Bellevue. If you're up for a roadtrip, go to Richmond (Canada), where you'll find the best Chinese food outside of China/Hong Kong.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: allbus

                          I have to file a dissent on Noble Court. It's mediocre on its best days and I would avoid it.

                        2. I'm not a New Yorker but my mom is originally. Snappy Dragon is way past its prime. Was good about 5 years ago and has been riding on its popularity ever since while food quality has dropped.

                          A little place I am quite fond of is called the Mandarin Chef on University Way (aka "The Ave") just past 50th. They make their own dumplings fresh daily.

                          I also was very disappointed by Shanghai Garden, even tried the infamous hand shaved noodle dish. It was okay, but nothing to rave about.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lisa

                            I agree that Mandarin Chef has relatively tasty food. But they don't deliver. Aside from that, I haven't found a reliable source for good Chinese food in Seattle.

                            I'm surprised nobody's spoken up for what Chicago has to offer. My favorite place used to be a hole in the wall called "Shanghai Minnies" in Belmont Harbor. Then I discovered Lulu's Dim Sum and Then Some on Davis in Evanston.

                            As a former Chicagoan, don't even get me started on the dearth of decent pizza in Seattle...

                          2. I moved here from the East Coast 10 years ago and, too, was initially disappointed with the Chinese food (and quite surprised to be charged for steamed rice). The one place that comes closest to the flavors and textures I was used to was Yea's Wok. It's definitely worth a try. In the meantime I've come to appreciate and truly enjoy West Coast Chinese at many of the places mentioned here.

                            1. FWIW, I moved here from NYC three years ago.

                              China is a big country (understatement). Immigrants from different regions of China settle seem to be clustered in different places in the US, and this is reflected in the local specialties of Chinese restaurants. I no longer bother trying to get a Shanghainese specialty like xiao long bao in Seattle; much better ones are to be had in NYC.

                              On the other hand, I much, much prefer the local Sichuan joints like Sichuanese Cuisine, Seven Stars, Szechuan Noodle Bowl (which I think is underrated here), and especially Szechuan Chef in Bellevue to any I've had in NYC.

                              I guess contradicting my thesis is dim sum - it should be good in NYC given the relative concentration of immigrants from Guangdong province there, but I've never had dim sum in NYC that equaled the better places in the Seattle area (and forget comparing it to what's available across our Northern border). Try Jade Garden in the ID (expect a wait on the weekends) or Noble Court in Bellevue.

                              Or, maybe, go north to Richmond (and over to the Western Canada board) for a weekend. If you don't find any Chinese food you like there, maybe your taste is really for "New York Chinese" which in its execution of Chinamerican staples like "General Tso's Chicken" is arguably its own regional cuisine - it certainly diverges greatly from any authentic culinary tradition on mainland China or Taiwan.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: terrier

                                Excellent points. I'll go a step further: the conceit of the OP, i.e. that "east coasters" have superior knowledge of what is good chinese food, is mistaken. Having sampled chinese food in NYC, SF, Vancouver/Richmond, and Seattle, I would argue the opposite is true. (Note that this does not the offerings of LA's San Gabriel Valley, arguably the best overall source in the Western hemisphere-I haven't been yet). The west coast has it. Seattle vs. NYC particulars:

                                Shanghai: Of course, as terrier mentions, the shanghai cuisine in NYC is very strong. Haven't yet compared it to BC, but Seattle's got nothing in this regard. Shanghai Garden, while it makes some good noodles, is not what its name suggests.

                                Dim sum: A recent visit to Jade Garden affirmed my conviction that Seattle dim sum is better than NYC. This could simply be a function of the quality of seafood available, which is critical in Cantonese/dim sum IMO.

                                Sichuan: Very strong locally. I would add to terrier's list Bamboo Garden in bellevue, which had taken alot of the good stuff off the "english" menu but has promised via a proxy on this board that it will be back on very soon.

                                Taiwanese: Yea's Wok, Facing East, Rocking Wok. What I've had has been quite good.

                                Some Northern specialties are avaialble at Chiang's gourmet and Jack's Tapas Cafe Mainly Chinese. There is one Shi'an place on Lake City.

                                P.S. Szechuan Noodle Bowl: The "den den" noodle is nothing at all like what is served at other places as "dan dan" noodles. Just the faintest hint of that ma la peppercorn magic that makes the cuisine superlative. Good texture on the noodles and dumplings though, at great prices.

                                1. re: equinoise

                                  i would agree on all these points, although i would hesitate to blame the entire east coast for the sins of NYC ;) e.g. Boston has some very good Sichuan and Taiwanese, and the area surrounding the "other" Washington (DC) has tons of good Chinese food. And there are specific non-Shanghai-style places in NYC that execute certain dishes better than any in Seattle (i'm thinking NY Noodletown, New Green Bo, even Shun Lee Palace which is a favorite among non-CHinese). But for Cantonese dimsum i'll take the west coast, esp. places like Yank Sing in San Fran.

                                  1. re: barleywino

                                    Cantonese and Taiwanese tend to migrate to the west coast and mainland Chinese are more likely to migrate to the east coast (more than Cantonese and Taiwanese anyways). Simple demographics in terms of what to look for in Chinese food from the two coasts.

                                    I've been to NYC several times and have never been too impressed with the food that my friends take me to. SF and LA have much better Chinese food. Hopefully, I'll try out offerings in Boston or DC one of these days. I hear Atlanta's got more and more good Asian food these days.

                                  2. re: equinoise

                                    sorry can't agree w/ you on this one...i've had better szechuan food in the suburbs of atlanta (where i am) than seattle/bellevue (where my parents live). they practically live across the street from that new szechuan place (szechuan chef?), and i can get dishes in atlanta thats reflective of stuff in SGV in LA and china than i do in seattle...

                                  3. re: terrier

                                    New York is obviously a big city with a lot of great Chinese food. I dream of the xiao long bao in china town. Dim sum there can be pretty good too honestly. There are just soooo many options.

                                    That said If there's a better Szechuan place in NYC than Seven Pepper Pepper , I'll try it next time I'm there!

                                    Vancouver is also amazing, and I guess you could compare it to a trip to Queens for Chinese from the Upper West side. If there was a subway, I mean.


                                    1. re: colsea

                                      The above sentence, to be factually correct, should read:

                                      "New York is obviously a big city with a lot of Chinese food."

                                      Also, I can't say I've tried all the XLB in NYC, but I've tried lots, and nothing compares to any number of places in Richmond BC. My favorites being Shanghai River, Shangai Wind, and Top Shanghai.

                                      1. re: hhlodesign

                                        are they better than the xlb at Evergreen on 38th in NYC (haven't been for a while so do'nt know whether they've gone downhill)

                                  4. If you are willing to make it over to the east side I would try Chan's place in Kirkland. There Wonton Soup and Fried rice are as close to New York style as I have been able to find


                                    1. From this post, it's hard to discern the parameters of "good Chinese," but I will add that for the sake of exhaustive reseach, give a try to Jack's Tapas Cafe (Mainly Chinese).