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102 Cuisines: Taking Inventory (SEA)

As some may have read, an out-of-work playwright in Santa Monica recently took it upon himself to eat in consecutive days one meal per day representing over 100 international cuisines. Most all of this was done in the greater Los Angeles area. For details: http://manbitesworld.com/

Looking at this made me ponder whether a similar feat would be even possible in the Puget Sound. While I lack this ambition (maybe), I decided to take stock of what's locally available by pasting in the Biting Man's list and seeing what is represented in the 206 (and 425, 253).

For each cuisine, I entered one or two examples I had heard of. I include only those I've tried and/or liked most where discrimination is possible. I placed a solitary ? where I had no candidates. I placed a (?) following places where I had doubts whether the listed place was actually serving items true to the cuisine in question (as opposed to pan-regional cuisines).

Personally, I would really like to see some Ghanian, true Lebanese, Burmese, Egyptian and Croatian/Slovak food.

Any ideas about what's lurking out there?

Day 1: Mexico : La Carta de Oaxaca, El Quetzal

Day 2: Argentina : ?

Day 3: Spain: Harvest Vine; Txori

Day 4: Thailand: Noodle Boat; Sea-Thai

Day 5: Ukraine: Cafe Yarmaka (?); From Russia with Love

Day 6: Vietnam: Tamarind Tree; Green Leaf

Day 7: Honduras: El Sabor Chapin (?


Day 8: Poland: Dom Polski; George's Deli (?)

Day 9: Serbia: ?

Day 10: North Korea: ?

Day 11: Trinidad and Tobago: Pam's Kitchen; Kallaloo

Day 12: Morocco: Marrakesh; Kasbah

Day 13: Pakistan: Naan N Curry; Kabab House

Day 14: Peru: ?

Day 15: England: George and Dragon (?)

Day 16: Jamaica: Eloi; Island Soul

Day 17: South Africa: ?

Day 18: Ecuador: ?

Day 19: Taiwan: Facing East; Yea's Wok

Day 20: Sri Lanka: ?

Day 21: Croatia: ?

Day 22: Ghana: ?

Day 23: Italy: Il Terrazzo Carmine; La Medusa

Day 24: Laos: Thai Palms; Vieng Thong

Day 25: Germany: Feirabend; Hans' Deli

Day 26: Singapore: Malay Satay Hut

Day 27: Nepal: Everest Kitchen; Annapurna

Day 28: Guatemala: El Sabor Chapin

Day 29: Russia: Cafe Yarmaka; From Russia with Love

Day 30: Lebanon: Karam's; Mediterranean Kitchen

Day 31: Lithuania: ?

Day 32: Venezuela: ?

Day 33: Canada: ?

Day 34: Indonesia: Julia's Indonesian Kitchen; Padi

Day 35: Kenya: ?

Day 36: Chile: ?

Day 37: Bosnia and Herzegovina: ?

Day 38: Cambodia: Phnom Penh Noodle House; Cafe Kiriom

Day 39: Ethiopia: Meskel; Ras Dashen

Day 40: Armenia: ?

Day 41: Burma: ?

Day 42: Nigeria: ?

Day 43: France: Cremant; Rover's

Day 44: Ireland: Fado (?)

Day 45: Haiti: Waid's

Day 46: Egypt: ?

Day 47: Portugal: Brasa (?)

Day 48: Greece: Panos Klefitko; Georgia's

Day 49: Nicaragua: ?

Day 50: Switzerland: ?

Day 51: Syria: ?

Day 52: Malaysia: Malay Satay Hut

Day 53: Bolivia: Copacabana (?)

Day 54: Bahrain: ?

Day 55: Austria: Danube Bistro (?)

Day 56: Uzbekistan: ?

Day 57: Hungary: Budapest Bistro

Day 58: Australia: Australian Meat Pie Co.

Day 59: Japan: Nishino; Tsukushinbo

Day 60: Denmark: ?

Day 61: Colombia: ?

Day 62: Iraq: Mawadda Cafe

Day 63: Georgia: ?

Day 64: Eritrea: Dahlak; Hidmo Eritrean Cafe

Day 65: Bulgaria: ?

Day 66: Norway: Svedala Bakery; Copper Gate (?)

Day 67: India: Spice Route; Curry Leaf

Day 68: Bangladesh: ?

Day 69: Cuba: Paseo (?)

Day 70: Afghanistan: Kabul; Bamiyan

Day 71: Belize: ?

Day 72: Romania: ?

Day 73: China: Bamboo Garden; Szechuan Chef

Day 74: Vatican City: ?

Day 75: Israel: ?

Day 76: Czech Republic: Danube Bistro (?)

Day 77: New Zealand: ?

Day 78: Brazil: Tempero do Brasil; Ipanema Grill

Day 79: Tunisia: ?

Day 80: Mozambique: ?

Day 81: Philippines: Kawali Grill; Kusina Filipina

Day 82: Hong Kong: Jade Garden; Homestyle HK Cafe

Day 83: Senegal: Afrikando

Day 84: Turkey: Bistro Turkuaz; Espheseus

Day 85: U.S.: Crush; Union

Day 86: South Korea: Kawon; Sorabol

Day 87: Scotland: ?

Day 88: Iran: Persian Grocery & Deli; Saffron Kebabs

Day 89: El Salvador: Mi Chalateca; SalvaMex/pupuseria (Burien)

Day 90: Puerto Rico: La Isla

Day 91: Macau: ?

Day 92: Belgium: Brouwer's

Day 93: Sweden: Svedala Bakery; Copper Gate (?)

Day 94: Finland: ?

Day 95: Latvia: ?

Day 96: Yemen: ?

Day 97: Dominican Republic: ?

Day 98: Tibet: Everest Kitchen; Annapurna

Day 99: Samoa: ?

Day 100: Jordan: ?

Day 101: Costa Rica: ?

Day 102: Slovakia: ?

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  1. Great list,
    It should be noted that as part of his criteria is that he allows home cooked meals. Many of these could be fulfilled doing this.
    I do have a couple to add.
    Argentina- Buenos Aires Grill- Not great but about as good as it gets in seattle.
    Canada- Any of the restaurants selling poutine.
    Peru- Mixtura might have filled the bill but it is closed.
    Nigerian- Apparently Queen Sheba has nigerian dishes on the menu but I have not tried it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dagrassroots

      Thanks for the tips. I've never had Nigerian food anywhere though I've read about it in the Village Voice; there are several places in the Bronx, NY. I'd give it a shot at Queen Sheba; I ate Eithiopian food there a couple years back, and it was really bad.

      Dagoose--I agree with you that regional differences within a single large country are often vast, while trans-border cuisines in neighboring countries can be often indistinguishable. "Chinese" is another example: Sichuan and Shanghainese are like night and day.

      You mean Bengal Tiger? Though I've never had Bangladeshi food, when I went to Tiger I asked about Bengali dishes. Maybe Bangladeshi food is similar (mustard seeds, fish, etc.)

      El Chalan and Mixtura have both folded. We can't really get by as a city without a single Peruvian restaurant at any price point. Come on!

      Ghanian and real Lebanese are tied for #1 on my wish list. I had great examples of each back when I lived in DC.

      1. re: equinoise

        Bengali food and some bangladeshi food is very similar. Bengal was divided between india and Bangladesh. So the food has some of the same origins.

        1. re: equinoise

          Kwa Tay's, across from the Coliseum (Key Arena) advertises Ghanaian. Though I've not been, it looks interesting...

      2. I can help fill in some of the blanks before I give a few lovely opinions: Bangladesh: Bengali Tiger, South Africa: well, I happen to work for a catering company that does a lot of south african foods, but I suppose that doesn't really count because you can't eat out there...Peru: El Chalan, Argentina: Buenos Aires Grill, Tango.

        I think that my problem with this is that the difference between Eritrean food and Ethiopian food is minimal, while you don't get any credit for eating, say Veracruzano food AND Oaxacan, which are far more different, right?

        Anyways, that said, I am so bummed about the lack of Ghanaian food around here, that is high on my wish list for Seattle restaurants.

        1. Interesting! A few gaps I know off-hand.

          Day 2: Argentina - Buenos Aires

          Day 91: Macau - Purple Dot Cafe

          Day 10: North Korea: Whatever you can forage in the Olympic National Forest? Food shortages aside, I don't know that North Korean cuisine differs substantially from the cuisine of South Korea - much of what is served in restaurants descends from Korean royal court cuisine predating the partition of the country.

          And I didn't know Afrikando had reopened! Excellent! I have a mad craving for West African dishes these days that the earnest but wayward Pan-Africa Cafe can't satisfy. (Man, if I could find a place in town with real Camerounais ndole...)

          2 Replies
          1. re: terrier

            What is represntative of Macanese at Purple Dot?

            I went to Afrikando once and really enjoyed the bouye drink (baobab nectar?), the accara (black eye pea fritters with shrimp sauce), and the spicy mustard sauce served on the lamb. The lamb itself was a bit overcooked. I'd try the yassa au poulet next time.

            I've had Burmese once in NYC and found it a bit meh. Usually, they have a special tea leaf salad. I wonder what Himalayan Kitchen does with it.

            1. re: equinoise

              You got me (re: Purple Dot) - I don't know their menu well enough not having been in years. I just remembered Macau being the explanation for the strange western ingredients on the menu (cream sauces, toast, etc)

              A return trip might be in order to investigate further...

          2. Himalayan Kitchen in Ravenna does Burmese (along with Bhutanese, Nepalese and Indian). I'm no expert on Burmese cuisine and can't vouch for authenticity.

            1. I also note that the Man Biting the World did not include Somali on his list, of which there are several locally, e.g. Marwaa, Salaama, etc.

              1. Vatican City is Roman, so that shouldn't be that hard to find at any good Italian place in Seattle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cvn66

                  One would think, right? I have thought for some time that a faithful and specifically Roman eatery could succeed: saltimbocca, artichokes, offal, etc. I imagine this place exists somewhere, but not here.

                2. I hate to see the Vietnamese options limited to Tamarind Tree and Greenleaf. This city is blessed with a plethora of Vietnamese options , most of which I have never visited but I would certainly recommend The Lemongrass on Jackson and the nearby Saigon Deli. There are many Vietnamese restaurants on Raineer, especially if you count those that specialize in pho and deli takeout. with sandwiches. Many of these are patronized mostly by Vietnamese people, who may not use Chowhound.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: forkit

                    By no means did I intend to "limit" possible Vietnamese restaurants to only those two mentioned. As I explained, where there were a mutlitude of examples of a given cusisine, I listed only the two I liked best. I also enjoy The Lemongrass, and also several different pho and bahn mi shops. I think you can understand that making a comprehensive list of the plethora of worthy Vietnamese restaurants in the city--perhaps a worthwhile task--is really unrelated to this particular project.

                    1. re: forkit

                      Another Vietnamese option is Wrap O Roll - on Jackson just east of I-5. Had lunch there with a friend a week or so ago and have been wanting to go back ever since. The crispy tofu appetizer was absolutely addicting, and everything we tried (we way over-ordered with four dishes, but we tend to do that...) was fresh and very good.

                    2. El Salvador: Salvadorian Bakery in Burien!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dnamj

                        Dominica: Eloi

                        I just visited Eloi, and learned, I am ashamed to say, that there exists a Commonwealth of Dominica, which comprises an island in the Lesser Antilles. I had read that Eloi's owner was from "Dominica" and assumed this meant the Dominican Republic.

                        The island looks pristine and lovely. I wish I could say the same about the food at Eloi.

                        1. re: equinoise

                          One more to add to the list? http://www.queenanneview.com/2009/07/...
                          Hopefully its a good representation of Ghanaian food.

                          1. re: dagrassroots

                            I love Ghanian food. Hope springs eternal. Good find.

                      2. Is San Fernando Roasted Chicken in Lynnwood still open? I went there a while ago, but they had some pretty good Peruvian.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: soypower

                          I stopped by on Sunday. The place was packed. Every table full. I had not been there since they opened, and one more time after that. It was good to see them busy. I finally ordered the fish cebiche. A bit expensive, but it was outstanding. I tcould have been a little mor chile hot, but very good, and not too limey tasting. Reminded me of the Panamanian style ceviche I used to eat in Panama. It came with toasted/roasted/dried beans of some sort. It was fairly tasty. Can anyone tell me what that is?

                        2. Sanfernandos for Peruvian., Ecuadorian/ Venezualan/ Colombian? Marimba, at Rucker and Hewitt in Everett.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: wallyz

                            Marimba does have an interesting assortment of South American dishes. I am usually wary of restaurants attempting more than two cuisines, but these people seem to know what they are doing. http://www.marimba-restaurant.com/

                            Anyone been?

                            1. re: equinoise

                              I've been, and was just as leery as you about their range, but I have had no complaints.

                          2. I've been pretty floored by the lack of diversity in Seattle as compared with Nashville and Atlanta. I had certainly expected the opposite. Hell, we had entire neighborhoods of middle eastern food.
                            I guess it just depends on what immigrant groups your city draws... in the southeast we had a lot more africans, middle easterners, and latin americans from the looks of our restaurants.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: dkcaudill

                              It's all about the wars, baby. We have been seeded with strong representations, through the years, with each tending to be assimilated and diffused over time. Railroad brought Chinese, WWII Japanese, Korean Conflict Korean, Vietnam, Vietnamese (some great stuff still), and a little Cambodian. Oddly, we have good sampling of Ethiopian/Eritrean. In South Park, bring a translator if you don't speak Spanish.
                              Italian immigration predates all this, of course, but its history is too rich to relate here. For today, find Big John's PFI and Salumi, from which sites entre to the current community can still be had. Mention Italo's and be ready to hear stories...

                              1. re: mrnelso

                                the italo's of shoreline? that's a passable indian place and extremely seedy karaoke bar now?? you just brought me back...

                                1. re: orangefleabait

                                  I know nothing of Italo's in Shoreline. The Italo's of memory was a dark little joint on Rainier (or was it MLK?), when I knew it, in the seventies (though it may have moved around some).
                                  When googled "red-sauce joint," just now, a wikipedia entry popped-up that pretty much describes what I remember.

                            2. el sabor chapin isn't listed as honduran in this stranger article : http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/un...
                              but if you know about a honduran restaurant, i would love to hear it. actually, searching honduras is how i found this very interesting article. a few new ones for the bucket list!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: orangefleabait

                                Still have not been to Chapin. I heard from somewhere, aside from the Stranger piece, that they had Honduran offerings. I have been Honduras, and enjoyed the cuisine there, especially the sopa de marinera served on the bay of Tela; the pupusas I had at a little place in Copan; and the balleadas we bought from a stand outside the airport in Roatan.

                                This list could use a few more updates. Several of the places I originally listed have closed. I think El Comal in Bellevue is the best Salvadoran place now, and Paladar is a good cuban option.

                                1. re: equinoise


                                  Bosnian: Dino's Grill in Tukwila is apparently serving at least cevapi.

                                  1. re: equinoise

                                    Peruvian: San Fernando roasted chicken on rainier, a couple blocks south of dearborn, has pretty decent chicken depending on what time you get there. Other dishes sound promising as well.

                                    1. re: dagrassroots

                                      "pretty decent chicken depending on what time you get there"

                                      Explain. When is optimal chicken time?

                                      1. re: GreenYoshi

                                        It's a crap shoot because they dont roast them to order. Not sure if they have a roasting schedule.

                                        1. re: dagrassroots

                                          We had no choice but to wait for our chicken from San Fernando, which took about 20 minutes, and it came out great. It would seem you could always request a freshly roasted one, and they may be willing to do it, assuming such a wait is feasible.

                                          1. re: equinoise

                                            Did your try anything else there?
                                            The tripe stew looked interesting and I also want to try some of their other traditional dishes.

                                            1. re: equinoise

                                              My experience was okay, but both of us were very aware of how salty the chicken was after the fact. We drank water all night long and woke parched. I did not really notice it while eating. I think I am done trying Peruvian food (one of the worst meals in my life was the place in White Center, since closed.) Unless somehow I end up in Peru. Oh, and it wasn't their fault, but we went to Andina in Portland and before the meal was served, I got a screaming migraine, so my association there is not so good.

                                2. Argentina - Buenos Aires Grill
                                  Venezuela - Meza
                                  Burma - no, but supposedly, Bombay Grill has a menu item or two
                                  Ireland - Mulleady's
                                  Australia - Kangaroo & Kiwi (with an added bonus of New Zealand)
                                  Iran - Caspian
                                  Jordan - Petra Mediterranean

                                  Also, we've got :
                                  Eritrea - Hidmo

                                  And personally, I really like the salvadoreno food at Tropicos Breeze

                                  Bombay Grill
                                  4737 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105

                                  Buenos Aires Grill
                                  2 Virginia St, Seattle, WA 98101

                                  Buenos Aires Grill
                                  2000 Virginia Street, Seattle, WA 98121