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Best Chinese food in Seattle area (Chinatown/ID up to Everett)

I'm a Seattle-ite who's been back and forth between Seattle and the east coast for the last couple of years. I'll be back in Seattle for a few weeks in Dec/Jan and looking for the current best places for Chinese food in the area -- ideally, Chinatown/ID would be great, or anywhere north up through North Seattle, Shoreline, Edmonds, Everett... but also willing to make the drive elsewhere, to the Eastside or south of Seattle.

Things I'm looking for:
1. good value (quality + price)
2. noodles (I liked noodle king's hand-pulled noodles but I read that it's now closed)
3. wonton soup (Mike's Noodle House still good for this? where else?)
4. dumplings (fried, boiled, steamed) -- I know there have been threads about Din Tai Fung and I plan to try it for the sake of trying it, but where else has good dumplings (doesn't need to be soup dumplings)?
5. fried rice

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    1. Chiang's on Lake City Way (at 80th) is my favorite in Seattle. A little grubby, but first-rate food and not expensive. Their kitchen is actually bigger than their dining area, and their menu and specials are vast. Their "stinky tofu" is famous. No kidding.

      6 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Anything that smells like that, is famous. When we were in China, we smelled that stuff everywhere.
        I haven't tried it, but can definitely recommend Chiangs. Make sure to order off the Chinese menu, not the one for Americans.

        1. re: Teknotic

          Disagree re the menus. If you dig Ma Po Tofu, it's on the "one for Americans," called something like "spicy tofu shichuan style." Best thing I've eaten there, which is saying something.

            1. re: Teknotic

              hey, any excuse to go back, right? Let us know what you think!

              1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                Actually, yes. I live just 5 minutes away, and have been eating semi regularly for 5 years now. One thing though, is I won't be able to order it as "Spicy tofu something or other". I'll ask for Mapo Dofu. Does it come with the ma?

                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                  I went to Chiang's again the other day, and the server said that they do not use the Sichuan peppercorns in the Mapo Dofu. I was unable to order it. They say in China that mapo dofu is supposed to be more ma (numbing spice) then la (burning spice; or chilis). While I'm sure it tastes great, there's no way it could ever compare for me.

        2. I like this new and pleasant addition in the International District called, Red Lantern right on Jackson St. They do many dishes well particularly in the Szechuan and Chinese/Korean style where i believe its one of few places in the Seattle where you can find Ja-jang myun and Jang-pong. They're desserts are quite good and not to be missed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: GeneralTzo

            Also in the ID is my standby favorite, Hing Loon, on the corner of Maynard & Weller. Great food, check out the specials on the wall.

            Hing Loon Restaurant
            628 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104

          2. Did you see this thread?


            I know people still love Mike's. Also read about Fu Man Dumpling House in North Seattle--they have a following as well.

            Fu Man Dumpling House
            14314 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133

            5 Replies
            1. re: christy319

              Shhh! No telling people about Fu Man Dumpling House! They're already too busy!

              Really, the dumplings are great - and you can get them in soup!

              Fu Man Dumpling House
              14314 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133

              1. re: bjones9942

                +1 on Fu Man, the best dumplings around.

              2. re: christy319

                You know, I am a BIG fan of soupy noodles and/or juk, but I just cannot get into Mike's. Which is odd, because it has been recommended to me several times by multiple people and I LOVE their Portland counterpart - Kenny's Noodle House (really fantastic you tiao & fish/pumpkin congee/juk).

                I used to like KC Kitchen's congee as my go-to, but they changed the home-made flavor and I don't care for it much anymore (plus, it really IS cheaper just to make a huge batch of it myself... ).

                1. re: starshinesMonet

                  The Seattle location is considered to be the superior location, but not by any huge measure (since they are using the exact same recipes and methods). I've been to both Mike's and Kenny's more times than I can count and I agree with that assessment.

                  Although by Portland standards Kenny's is certainly a godsend, regardless of what one may think about them.

              3. If you are actually looking for soup dumplings, I'd suggest Yu Shan in Lake City. I am not expert enough to distinguish the technical differences between "xiao long bao" and "cha shao bao", but whichever they are, these are great. Meaty, and juicy enough to need care not to mess up your shirt.

                I like the chive pancakes and the noodles, too, plus many other dishes. Owners are very friendly.

                One caveat: I would not go on a Tuesday night. They are closed at lunch and may have a second string cook staff on duty at night.

                Yu Shan
                14553 Bothell Way NE, Seattle, WA 98155

                3 Replies
                1. re: RandyB

                  Their xiao long bao are NOT the touted xiao long bao [with the soup inside], but are quite tasty. I eat Yu Shan's food quite often, and if you stay away from the 'American' Chinese offerings you'll do quite well. You can ask if they have anything special they can make for you as well ... often they will.

                  Yu Shan
                  14553 Bothell Way NE, Seattle, WA 98155

                  1. re: bjones9942

                    Good point about asking. As I said, I'm no expert on the Chinese names of dishes. So one time I just said please make me something very spicy with any meat plus vegies, and LOTS of ginger. It was really good.

                    1. re: RandyB

                      RandyB - have you tried their 'fish in hot and spicy soup'? It makes my eyes water and sets my mouth on fire! At first I can't imagine eating another bite, then the endorphins release and I can't quit eating it! And the sichuan peppers add just the right amount of tongue numbing! Hmmm..... I think perhaps tomorrow I'll have to make a foray down there!

                2. In no particular order (seems like most of these are over on the eastside):
                  Facing East
                  Henry's Taiwan
                  Mike's Noodle House
                  Li's Dumpling House - dumpling and noodle-type dishes; everything else was not that great
                  Spicy Talk - pretty good dumplings there too
                  Yea's Wok - take a Chinese friend / dictionary and order off the Chinese menu
                  Harbor City - dim sum only; everything else is not that great
                  Bamboo Garden
                  Szechwan 99
                  Top Gun - dim sum only
                  O'Asian - dim sum; alright happy hour

                  In terms of value - Hong Kong Bistro - $12.99 hot pot buffet - never tried, but sounds good considering the weather; good prices for adequate-to-above-average quality for things like wonton noodles, fried rice, etc. Same with Cafe Ori on the eastside.

                  Re: Chiang's - they do a good job with noodle-type dishes; stay away from dumpling-type items. They have a Taiwanese breakfast menu which is pretty nice.

                  I would wait a few months for Din Tai Fung to settle down from the hype, and for them to improve their overall quality. It's 1-2 weeks after opening and waits are still in the 2-3 hour range during peak times. Currently, I'd say it's not worth more than a 30-min wait.

                  Bamboo Garden
                  202 106th Pl NE, Bellevue, WA 98004

                  Cafe Ori
                  14339 NE 20th St Ste I, Bellevue, WA 98007

                  Mike's Noodle House
                  418 Maynard Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: HungWeiLo

                    Quoted wait time at Din Tai Fung on Saturday at 3:00pm (not generally a peak time for lunch in my experience) was 2 hours. Forget that - I'll try again in January. Hype plus holiday crowds equals no soup dumplings for me.

                    1. re: terrier

                      By sheer chance I managed to get in without a wait on Sunday morning. XLB were as good as Lin's in VAN which is my favorite in the PNW. Vegetarian dumplings and pork + veggie wonton in spicy sauce were both excellent as well. Wheat noodles with minced pork were also good. Shao mai and steamed buns were not available as the entire capacity of the kitchen was dedicated to dumplings.

                      Price is pretty high (lunch for 2.5 was $70) but so was quality. I will be back when I can get in quickly again.

                    2. re: HungWeiLo

                      Went to the bar on Wednesday night and was seated with not wait. The xlb was the juiciest I've had here in Seattle. While nothing was bad, nothing really knocked my socks off. The hot and sour soup was pretty good, not much sour but just enough hot. It was very thick and stew-like and the single serving was enormous. Also had the fried pork noodles and garlic spinach.

                      When they open until 2am, I'm sure the food will taste incredible after a night of drinking.

                      1. re: HungWeiLo

                        To this excellent list, I'd add Homestyle HK Cafe for stone pot rice and cart noodle combinations, one of the better values in the ID. I also like the seafood dishes from Sea Garden and Ho-Ho, especially the black bean sauce crab at the former and the crispy halibut at the latter.

                        I went to DTF the Sunday after its first day, and waited one hour. We ordered one crab/pork and one pork XLB. One order had sat for a bit too long after steaming, but the fresh one was the best I've had, better than specialized places I've been to in Jersey, Flushing or Manhattan (never been to places in LA or VAN). Even the tepid order was better than any other XLB in SEA, which are almost always soupless "soup dumplings". Like others, I anticpate that DTF will improve with time and diminshed frenzy.

                        Sea Garden
                        509 7th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                        1. re: equinoise

                          Homestyle HK Cafe also has good dumplings too. I believe they also sell them uncooked to go.

                        2. re: HungWeiLo

                          And to add to the "values" list - Top Gun (the one in Bellevue at least) does a very good lobster for $9.99/lb.

                          1. re: HungWeiLo

                            Nice list! I agree with you about Din Tai Fung - I've had the real thing and this is good, but it isn't the same. The pork is leaner (for Seattl-ite health reasons), which is fine, but it affects the authentic flavour and juiciness of the xiao long bao.

                            Do you know if Mike's noodle House is as good as its Portland cousin? We love Kenny's, but have yet to brave Mike's because we can always make our own congee.

                            1. re: starshinesMonet

                              The Portland one always felt a little "off". Not bad, per se. But just not quite the level of the Seattle restaurant.

                          2. Red Lantern is also my new favorite, with Chinese and Korean items. Great noodles (jajangmyn and jampong spicy noodle soup --best I've found in Seattle area). Good dumplings and other chinese dishes. The quality is extremely high with very reasonable prices for the quality of food/setting--not your usual ID restaurant (great desserts too)

                            1. Jade Garden is my top contender for Dim Sum. Prices are excellent as well.

                              Jade Garden Restaurant
                              7th S King S, Seattle, WA 98101

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bjones9942

                                jade garden! i won't go anywhere else.
                                make a reservation and don't sit upstairs, the selection suffers for the stairs...

                              2. For hand-shaved noodles, Shanghai Garden in the ID is amazing. Their salt and pepper scallops and sauteed pea vines are also delicious.

                                For dumplings, try Szechuan Noodle Bowl, also in the ID right next to Greenleaf (which has marvelous vietnamese food). If price is the issue, Szechuan Noodle bowl is your best bet. However, it's short on decorative touches, aside from being able to actually see the ladies make the dumpling before your eyes.

                                For seafood, Seafood Garden is good, but the dungeness crab in black bean sauce at Ho Ho is addictive.

                                Shanghai Garden Restaurant
                                80 Front St N, Issaquah, WA 98027

                                Szechuan Noodle Bowl
                                420 8th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

                                1. i love the thai ho on bothell way, just north of lake forest park. best hand pulled noodles in the north end.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: orangefleabait

                                    I agree with you about Thai Ho. I was hoping that someone would add that one to the list. The noodles there are fantastic. The spicy seafood noodles are really a treat. I haven't been there in a while and am getting hungry now.

                                  2. Thanks for all the suggestions.

                                    I made it out to DTF yesterday and only had a wait because my entire party wasn't there to be seated. We had the XLB -- pork and pork & crab. I'm no expert on XLB and have only had them once before, in California, but these were tasty. We also ordered the Shanghai rice cakes with chicken, which were delicious. Again, I'm no expert, but the texture of these were just like Korean ddukboki but with a different sauce. Also had the bok choy with garlic, which were slightly watery but decent.

                                    I've tried many of the other places suggested here but haven't been to Yu Shan or Chiang's, probably because I don't usually make it out that far. I'll definitely try to get over to both over the next couple weeks that I'm in town.

                                    I had Szechuan 99 tofu several days ago and it's as good as I remembered. Next time I'll need to order the fish with bean curd dish, since I've seen a couple posts on here about it and the server recommended it for me, too.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: calmossimo

                                        if you want to stick around the international district, i think 663 bistro has some of the best cantonese food around. it doesn't get a lot of on-line buzz, but is always packed. some standout dishes IMO are their stir-fried pea greens (i order this dish everywhere - their's is my favorite!), geoduck (a bargain at ~$14, it is not on the menu but is usually on the "specials" board handwritten in chinese), their xo fish & tofu pot is one of the best versions i've had, the honey-garlic spare ribs are addicting, and their chinese bbq is consistently excellent (i usually order this to-go, and the skin on the pork is always perfectly crispy). Also, since you mentioned fried rice - their dried scallop & egg white fried rice and their salty fish and chicken fried rice are really good.

                                      2. A recent PI article about Chinese food on the east side


                                        1. For those willing to make the drive, I recommend a trip to Tacoma Szechuan just off the freeway in south Tacoma, on South Tacoma Way. It's a bit hidden in a shopping center containing Pal Do World Grocery. Lots of American style food but plenty of more obscure offerings as well. The hot pot is delicious and perfect this time of year when I get cold all the way to my bones. The cumin lamb was also pretty good last time I tried it. Communication can be tricky depending upon who is working, but I always end up with something good.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: alitria

                                            I think I have been to this place! If it's the one I'm thinking about it really is worth the drive! It has the spiciest dishes I've found and their hot pot is wonderful! Incidently, it is also the ONLY place I will order mapo tofu. Which is saing a lot, because I HATE Americanized Chinese food.

                                          2. I like T&T on 99 near Ranch Market.