Category Archives: Restaurants

Getting Bun Bo Hue from Huong Binh

After seeing Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” show where he described how much better Bun Bo Hueng is compared to Pho, I asked for recommendations where I can get this spicy soup made of pork and beef in Seattle and the former QA colleagues did not disappoint!

With 4 of my co-workers we set out to get a delicious lunch at Huong Binh at 12th & Jackson. The broth was clear with a nice spice level. The noodles are slightly thicker rice noodles, though not as thick as udon. There was a lot of different meat in the soup: Slices of beef, meatballs, pieces of pork with skin, and of course the pork blood cake. The less adventurous eaters traded the last two items away ;)

Huong Binh Menu

We also had a few appetizers, like the pork skewers and Cha Hue, which was fried ham and especially delicious. I’ll definitely be back :)

Cha Hue

Best food from home in Seattle

A recent reddit /r/Seattle thread asked all foreigners for their favorite restaurants of their home countries food. Here is the summary, based on number of upvotes:

German: Heidelberghaus (They even have “Spaghetti Ice”), Bavarian Meats in the pike place market.

Nepal: Annapurna Cafe

Puerto Rico: La Isla in Ballard/Redmond

Vietnam: Vietnam House, Huong Binh for their thit nuong, Pho So 1 for their bun bo hue

Indian: Kanishka in Redmond (Don’t miss their lunch buffets), South India: Chilli’s in U District

Denmark: Scandinavian Specialties (smørrebrød for lunch), Nielsen’s Pastries (dessert)

Mexico: el camion a food truck parked by centurylink stadium

Cuba: Casa de Mojito on Lake City Way

Taiwan: Rocking Wok in Wallingford

China: Fu Man Dumpling

Hawaii: Kauai Family Restaurant (smoked pork, and tripe stew), Saimin Says in Kent (shoyu chicken/mix plate is just like home)

Russian: Vostok Dumpling House (pelmeni and bread); Piroshki on 3rd (piroshki and borsch)

Japanese: Koharu in Federal Way

Mexic: La Conasupo in Greenwood (barbacoa on weekends, also great carnitas and quesadillas)
Señor Moose Café in Ballard, La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard, Mezclaría Oaxaca in Queen Anne, Acá las tortas in Bothel (tortas, also flautas and quesadillas), El taco maestro in Renton (best tacos around)

Philippines: Isla Manila in Shoreline, Seafood City in Renton (chicharon bulaklak and crispy pata)

Peruvia: San Fernando’s Roasted Chicken on Ranier Ave

Poland: Polski Dom

American but I live in China and have a Chinese wife… Chinese visitors to Bellevue really like Top Gun

Korea: New Seoul Restaurant on 99

Brazil: Novilhos in Factoria or South Lake Union.

That is just mean, Tom Douglas

Coming into work into the morning, I smelled something delicious. I went around the corner and looked at this beauty, at 9 AM.

I sometimes take interview candidates to Trattoria Cuoco. The food is pretty good, but their grilling always looks and smells phenomenal – even early in the morning. Sometimes they do this rotisserie style, sometimes they break out their Big Green Egg, which causes even more serious envy ;)

Naanz Kitchen + Bar on Republican & Pontius Ave

I wasn’t a fan. They try to be the Chipotle of Indian food. They even sold their daal as being like refried beans, but the prices were not Chipotle.

I guess phrases like “Indian-inspired food” and “naanwiches” should have been warning signs for me …

If you make the meat separately from the sauce it is not going to taste as good. I had lamb + vindaloo on a rice bowl. Both meat and sauce were so-so. My friend had his naan sandwich with chicken tikka and felt similarly.

I payed $12 and was still hungry afterwards.

The Spice on Curve food cart on Republican has better Indian food at better prices. The buffet at Royal Palace on Fairview tastes better as well.

Seven Star Pepper

Seven Stars Pepper Szechwan Restaurant on 12th and Jackson is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. We used to go here a lot, when we were all working in Beacon Hill at PacMed and it was just a short 5-minute walk away. The big family-style lunches, where everybody helped themselves to the many different dishes by turning the “Lazy Susan” are a very fond memory and even ten years later we do our reunion lunches there.

Wikipedia tells us that Szechwan cuisine, also Sichuan, or Szechuan is a style of Chinese cuisine originating from Sichuan province in southwestern China. It has bold flavours, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavor of the Sichuan pepper.

And yes, a lot of the food here can be quite spicy. I’m just going to list a few of our favorite dishes:
Green Onion Pan Cakes are an excellent appetizer, Twice Cooked Pork Szechuan Style, Fish in White Sauce, Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce, Cumin Lamb, Honey Walnut Chicken, …. and many more. Go explore the menu! :)

Osteria Rigoletto for lunch

We went to Osteria Rigoletto on a Friday for lunch with a group of 15. We came unannounced, because Lunchbox Lab had lost our reservation and there were only 4 other guests, so they were able to seat us right away.

I ordered the Minestrone, which was way too hot: At least 80F, so I burned my mouth and had to wait 10 min before I could start eating it, but it tasted pretty good. The vegetable soup didn’t have pasta, which I usually like, but a good helping of parmesan.
One thing that I found pretty weird, when I asked them for a to-go-container for the rest of my soup, this is how they packaged it…
Minestrone to go!
…soup in tinfoil?!?

I also ordered the cappellini con calamari e pomodori for $10 from the lunch menu. The pasta was al dente and had plenty of sea food in it. Could have used a little salt and pepper, but there wasn’t any on the table and I never saw our server until I was done.

For the large group we were, service was ok and nobody had to wait for too long. Gratuity was included in the bill. I really liked the industrial design of the place and will likely come back. Sometimes it is hard to find a lunch place in SLU that isn’t super crowded yet. The owner also has the Bakery La Toscanella on Westlake.

Ten Leaves Bistro – Great Vietnamese food

Went to visit Ten Leaves (at 12th & Jackson in the ID) with my son on a Saturday for lunch. The other guests were about 10 older Vietnamese couples – I take that as a good sign :)

I had the Bánh xèo (vietnamese Crêpe), which was not on the menu, but was on the specials board. It was delicious and exactly, what I was craving. Now the kicker: It happens to be gluten, dairy, and egg free. It’s made with rice flour and water (sometimes coconut milk as well) and is filled with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts. Of course, you get a big plate of greens to fill it with, so it makes quite a balanced meal!

My son always orders the chicken vermicelli, but this time I got him the tray with rice paper. So much fun! You dip the rice paper into hot water and fill it with the chicken, vermicelli, greens, mint, basil, sprouts, and add a little of that awesome fish sauce. We love hands-on meals, especially if they taste this good :)

(Also posted this on Yelp)