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Sep 2, 2012 12:32 PM

Chiang's Gourmet - Lake City Way - Seattle

Our children moved to this area last winter and we've eaten there four times in two trips! If that tells you anything :) And not because it's convenient. It's really, really good. We have our server of choice, whose name I can't remember, but she's probably 60ish and is the sister of the owner. She works FR-SU and we turn her loose to bring us whatever she wants us to have. She knows that we're adventuresome eaters both in heat and "parts."

A few things I can remembered we've had. Always start with the spicy Sichuan dumplings simply cause they're an all round fave of ours. We've had this interesting sandwich-type item. It's a rectangle of dough filled with seasoned ground pork, sealed, topped with white sesame seeds and baked. Not spicy. A hotpot type dish with pig intestine, pork 'bloodcake,' and 'sour vegetables.' The first time we had it it was very good; the second time it ranked as one of the best things we've ever eaten. The textures of the pig parts was excellent. We had a cold beef honeycomb tripe with sprouts that blew us away. So crispy and refreshing. Two bean curd wrapper dishes, one stuffed with vegetables and steamed; the other stuffed with chicken and vegetables and fried. I'm sure there's more but I can't remember.

You don't have to go bold like we do. Everything looks terrific. I can't recommend them highly enough and IMO it's worth going out of your way to try it.

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    4 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Pssst, C. As long as you're in that neighborhood/Lake City, try Rainin' Ribs, too.
      They smoke their own meat and that is some gooooood barbecue.

      I used to live off Lake City Way. I like Chiang's, too. Chiang's and Rainin' Ribs and the local Ezell's Chicken were our top three for a quick and inexpensive mid-week take out dinner.

      1. re: team_cake

        Ooooohhhhh, that sounds and looks REALLY good. Will do and thanks, tc.

          1. re: jillsea85

            I'm from the South originally. LOVE catfish! Thanks for the rec.

      2. Thanks for this and your Mr Villa review--I haven't been to either place in ages, and I'm going to have to give both another try.

        1 Reply
        1. re: christy319

          christy, I hope you will. We feel like we're not total pushovers :) and both these places are great.

        2. Hi, c oliver:

          Yes, Chiang's is great. I eat lunch there at least 3 times a month, and dinners whenever I can. The lunch menu is pared down a bit, but $9 (including tip) gets you a huge portion of very delicious food. Chiang's is one of the few places that does Mongolian Beef to my liking.

          I know your server, and have been in her capable hands many times. She actually goes by "Sexy".

          If you are adventurous, you might try their "Stinky Tofu"--it is somewhat famous.


          7 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            We eat off the specials menu and love it. We now deliberately get extra to take home. Maybe our next trip (next year sometime) we can share a meal. I've never had stinky tofu but would be willing to try if you recommend. Best, C

            1. re: c oliver

              Next trip, try to shoulder your way into the kitchen--it's as big as the front of the house. The only thing about Chiang's is that I think there are "A" and "B" chefs... It's always very good, but some days are definitely better than others.

              Another charming thing about this place (I think a former A&W Root Beer) is that the owner's *very* aged mom used to preside over the place from a particular central booth/table. She's gone in kino (body) now, but she's still there in uhane (spirit), if you know what I mean. They're really great people-- I used to get their 22-oz Tsing Tao empties for my cider operation.


              1. re: kaleokahu

                I've only gone twice for lunch and wondered what the fuss was all about because our meals were on the same par with Denny's. When should I go and what should I order?

                1. re: JayDK

                  Did you look at the linked menu above? What kind of Chinese food do you like? We've never ordered from the American or the lunch menus. Everything has been prepared fresh. What didn't you like? They're very, very accommodating so if you tell them that previously you weren't bowled over by x or y or z, they will probably ask you some questions and guide you. As I mentioned, since we first told her the kinds of things we like, we don't even order anymore. She just brings us what she wants us to have :) I'm sorry it was a Dennys experience for you.

                  1. re: JayDK

                    Denny's serves a Sichuan Slam? I've been missing out all these years...

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      A couple of green onion pancakes, tea eggs, black bean pork ribs, and steamed hum bao. That'd be a nice slam wouldn't it?

                      1. re: JayDK

                        I've not eaten that type of food there so can't reply to that. But I am interested to know if you let them not if you weren't pleased and, if so, how they responded. But, hey, not every restaurant is for every one.

            2. So glad you found this place, c oliver! A real treasure, for sure.

              3 Replies
              1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                A real keeper, for sure. Just like Matt's in the Market which you first turned me onto. That's a must-do every trip. Thanks, again.

                1. re: c oliver

                  My pleasure for real. We were just there about six weeks ago and I managed to trick the girl into eating (and loving) house-made blood sausage. If you're ever in that neighborhood and find Matt's closed or too busy, Le Pichet is just down the street and does some similar stuff quite well. I don't love the atmosphere, service, or food quite as much, but they make do some nice charcuterie and old-school French cocktails with lots of freshly-squeezed citrus.

                  If I recall that conversation, I should amend my comments to admit that I have become a Salumi convert. I still wouldn't go Thursday, Friday, or Tuesday in the tourist season. But since you are now probably here off-season and midweek I'd go if you haven't yet.

                  Usually (though not always), showing up midweek about 10 minutes before open from now through spring should guarantee you a short-ish wait and a table. The porchetta is the way to go, in terms of sammies, imho. I tend to ask for paper and a rubber band after half and finish it later or drop it off at the gf's office for her to enjoy since she often can't get away from the desk.

                  And if your kids have some foodie friends, I think you can now reserve a "chef's whim" table of 8-10 for under $50 a person that supposedly lasts at least a couple hours.

                  Please post after your next Chiang's visit! That is one big menu and the more feedback from trusted 'hounds the better...

                  1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                    Thanks for all the new recs. Esp. Salumi. Yeah, we've avoided it cause of crowds. With our grandbaby not quite one, we'd need to get a sitter for a two hour meal :)

                    Love Chiang's menu and we definitely want to keep working our way through it. We house exchange/petsit with a couple in the area so may we'll get back the first of the year again. I'd definitely like more Seattle folks and visitors to know that they don't have to go to the ID for great Chinese food.

                    Off to Barcelona in two weeks where we'll be wallowing great food :) BFN.

              2. I hadn't been in years so this post made me give it another try. I really wanted to love it but I think it's just okay. I ordered only off the Szechuan and Chinese menus, and out of those, I ordered only the things marked as Owner's Favorites (you'll see this in the online menu). It was fine but not anywhere close to the places in Bellevue I like.

                We got the Homemade Noodles with ground pork and bean curd, the bean curd Szechuan style (Ma po tofu, it turned out--this was billed as vegetarian but it has ground pork. This would have been fine except we already had one dish with ground pork--I didn't want two. It was also really lacking that Szechuan peppercorn flavor), the eggplant in hot garlic sauce, which was so incredibly oily I didn't want more than a bite, and what I know as Chong Qing Hot Chicken (I can't remember what they called it--hot pepper chicken szechuan style maybe).
                The chicken was pretty good.

                The bean curd wrapper dishes described in the original post sound great but I couldn't find them on the menu--the ones I saw had "brown sauce" which doesn't sound good.

                3 Replies
                1. re: christy319

                  I'm sorry you had a pretty negative experience. When I like a place this much, I always want everyone to. I'm guessing you won't be giving it a second chance but if you do, I'd go on a weekend, get the server described above, tell her your disappointment before and let her bring you things.

                  Here's a picture of the bean curd. I think it was one of the things she just brought us.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Can you figure out what that's called on the menu?

                    I don't mean to diss the place--it wasn't bad, it just wasn't as good as the other places I like.

                    1. re: christy319

                      I didn't take it as a diss. Valid descriptions.

                      The label on my pic (I wish that got included with the upload) said "bean curd with vegetables" which doesn't really match the menu. I don't know if it's even on the menu. Maybe she just told them to make it :)