So I’ve been guilted into doing some tags. Shireen, you’re terriblelah.

But before yours, I’ve to do Vien’s food tag.

Thing is, even though I’ve been here almost 16 months (but who’s counting?), we’ve almost always cooked and ate at home (to save costlah, why else?).

Having said that, I really don’t think Seattle, or Western Washington, has just one signature dish because it’s so diverse here. Everytime someone from Malaysia visits, we are always a little lost as to where to bring them for a good Seattle meal. And herein, I think, lies a huge difference between Malaysians and Seattle-ites when it comes to eating out.

Back in Malaysia, we tend to home in on the tastiness of a meal as a factor paramount over things like atmosphere. The quality of the ingredients used, particularly for seafood, the skill in the preparation, the overall taste of the whole meal – these things are more important than the location of the place and sometimes, even the state of the restaurant. We will eat next to a dumpster if we deem the food worthy. Of course, following that closely is the price of the meal, but sometimes, even that is thrown out the window. Good food is what we care about. Sometimes, it’s all we care about.

Here in Seattle, more likely than not, locals will recommend places like the revolving restaurant up on what is perhaps most signature about Seattle: the Space Needle. Or a meal and a cruise upon the Victoria Clipper. Or a train ride to the vineyards, that sort of thing. It’s almost always the whole package: good food, great atmosphere, and most of the time, cut-throat expensive.

With that, allow me to apply our Malaysian mentality to recommending good eats here. These places are not necessarily good-looking or be the best places to exemplify Northwestern American cuisine, but I think they’re pretty darn good.

First off, in a mall called Crossroads in a city called Bellevue, there is a food court and in that food court, is a little Russian shop called Piroshky, which my friend Irina tells me literally means ‘baked goods’. Lokes and I love a dish called Lula Kebab there, a pork sausage combination without the skin, served with pasta or rice and Russian coleslaw. Yummy. Ironically, I’ve never tried any of the Piroshky there, although they always look very tempting.

As for Chinese, we have yet to find a good restaurant, or perhaps we are just too used to Malaysian Chinese food. The only Malaysian restaurant here, Malay Sate Hut, IMHO, sucks big time. It is a good place to bring your American friends, though, to introduce our country’s cuisine. We do like a dim sum place called Jeem’s, which serves fairly good dim sum and Cantonese dishes. 

Now Seattle has LOADS of good Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I particularly enjoy Thai Ginger at Redmond Town Center and Saigon City in Bellevue. These are, to date, the best in their class.

Italian restaurants run rampant in Seattle, but they are mostly not traditional Italian, but more American bistro-like offerings, where the restaurant serves Italian plus other types of popular dishes, such as Southwestern fried chicken or even gumbo. Family chains like Red Robin or Applebee’s are a good example of this ‘fusion’ of something for everyone, and in this category, I vote Applebee’s.

I guess the best place to eat in the whole of Seattle, is still my house. And all the more so now when my mother-in-law is here. She cooks superb Nyonya cuisine and I’ve been gorging on sambal belacan, all the ingredients of which can be found right here in the great Northwest!


Coming up: What’s behind a name? Find out what went on in our crazy brains when we named our daughters Raeven and Skyler!