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Mar 20, 2007 03:33 PM

unique/out of the ordinary cuisines?

after reading some recent Seattle posts, am starting a list of places i need to try that serve unique/out of the ordinary cuisines, particularly Eriterean and Salvadoran. does anyone have any other suggestions for countries/regions that fit this bill in the Seattle area? not different regions of countries like Italy,France,or Mexico-have experienced most of those-but some thing more one of a kind. thanks in advance.

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  1. The very few places serving Cambodian or Laotian specialites should be experienced, such as Phonm Penh in the ID or Vieng Thong on MLK Way. I only wish there were more of these places, which there should be considering the local ethnic communities.

    There are several Persian restaurants, such as Kolbeh, Caspian Grill, etc., which is a remarkably unique style. I really enjoy the sandwiches at the Persian Grocery and Deli on Main St. in Bellevue.

    You said you were not interested in regional cuisines of countries, but it would be a shame to ignore the Szechuan (7 Stars, Szechuan Chef) or Taiwanese (Rocking Wok, Facing East) food available here.

    Seattle has a very large Filipino community, but I have not tried any of these restaurants, perhaps because I have generally not liked the Filipino food I've tried elsewhere.

    I can also think of other cuisines, for which there are maybe one or two restaurants serving it up: Cham (Salima on MLK Way); Trinidad (Pam's on The Ave); Malaysian (Malay Satay Hut); Haitian (Waid's); Afghan (Kabul). There are others, I'm sure, but I can't think of them now.

    4 Replies
    1. re: equinoise

      thanks for the feedback. most of the pacific rim cuisines-thai,vietnamese,japanese,cambodian-i have enjoyed along with the regions of china. i should have mentioned that initially. trinidad and afghan sound good though. also am not familiar with the term Cham. can you elaborate? and whwere is the haitian establishment located. thanks

      1. re: bighound

        I don't know what Cham is, but Waid's the Haitian place is at 14th and Jefferson or so on first hill. Another tidbit for you is that Waid's is in the middle of the whole Seattle nightlife political debate. The owner is an extremely nice guy, and it is the only haitian food for a thousand miles, and he clearly loves his business, but seattle politicians are basically using him as an example and trying to shut him down for noise that goes on on the block around his bar...

        1. re: bighound

          The Cham are an ethnic muslim minority living in Vietnam and Cambodia. They emigrated to those areas from Malaysia. The food's an unusual cross-section of all three cuisines (halal of course), and Salima is delicious and well-worth checking out:

          You should also try El Trapiche Pupuseria and Restaurant (Salvadorian), in Burien, and a Venezualan friend swears that the Mojito cafe serves muy autentico traditional Venezualan fare. El Chalan, in White Center, is a Peruvian restaurant.

          I loved Dahlak (Eritrean), and if you haven't been to Pan Africa (on First between Pike and Pine) definitely go -- the menu includes West African dishes (the groundnut stew is excellent) and supposedly dishes from Madagascar, and the owners are wonderful.

          Finally, venture up to the CD and try Carribean food at Casuelita's Island Soul. Here's a review from the Seattle Times.

          I am similarly obsessed with trying new and unfamiliar cuisines -- the options for doing so in New York, where I'm from, are endless -- and currently have a "rule" that forbids me from going back to the same restaurant twice unless someone else invites me, so if I stumble across anything else worthwhile, I'll post back.

          Have fun, and eat well.

          1. re: ssusu

            Do we know what Venezuelan food the Mojito cafe serves? Arepas? Has anyone tried it?

      2. There's an El Salvadoran bakery in White Center that serves light meals, I think. I believe there are Peruvian places, one on the Eastside and one in White Center.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PAO

          It's called the Salvadorean Bakery

          1719 S.W. Roxbury St.
          Seattle, WA 98106
          Phone: 206-762-4064

          Tasty pupusas.

        2. I'm not sure if it meets the exotic test, but Friday (or is it Sunday?) dinners at the Polish Home Association are one-of-a-kind around here, AFAIK.

          2 Replies
          1. re: terrier

            can you provide more detail please.

            1. re: bighound

              Dom Polski.


              Dinner on Fridays from 7-11, Sundays from 1-4. Closed Easter week (4/1-4/8) and closes in the summer as well.

              $1 temporary membership charge, well worth the price of admission.

              It's as under the radar as any place that has been written up repeatedly in The Stranger can be.

          2. Ever tried Cafe Zum Zum? It's a downtown (3rd and Marion) week-day lunch place that quickly serves up fabbo Indian/Pakistani curries. Sounds like Indian might not qualify as quite exotic enough for you but they're not like any Indian food I'd had before so say they're Pakistani! (And yeah, I realize we have geography issues here...) Anyway, total comfort food and perfect for a blech day like today.

            1 Reply
            1. re: laurahutch

              I saw this post again, and I was reminded of my trip to Marwa for Somali food.