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Little Uncle Packs Big Flavors



Go to Little Uncle for the best way to introduce kids to Thai food.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

At first glance, Little Uncle appears to be a modest eatery with just a handful of tables and a walk-up counter, but this Capitol Hill spot has become a powerhouse of the Seattle dining scene. 

After working in restaurants since the age of 15, Wiley Frank and his wife PK moved to Thailand to fully immerse themselves in the local cuisine. They found inspiration in Thai family-run shophouse restaurants, and soon learned to re-create their favorite dishes. After returning to Seattle, they moved from pop-up restaurants to a wildly popular walk-up window, and now to a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Capitol Hill. 

Part of Little Uncle’s charm is the welcoming, casual vibe; there’s no table service — you order at the counter, seat yourselves, and bus your own table. Kids love the open-plan format of the restaurant, says Frank. “They have plenty to look at, whether it be the harried cook cutting up giant chunks of meat, weird pieces of cooking equipment, or dishes getting assembled before their eyes.” 

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

As for the food, Seattleites have been flocking to Little Uncle since day one, enjoying what Bon Appétit magazine calls “some of the best Thai food in Seattle, if not the country.” Their noodle dishes are the house specialty, particularly the pad thai (big enough to serve a couple of kids, says Frank), which is served with peanuts, sugar and blisteringly hot chiles on the side, so you can season and spice your dish exactly as you like it. 

The Burmese-influenced khao soi is another can’t-miss, with a rich and complex chicken coconut curry served over egg noodles and topped with deliciously funky, house-pickled mustard greens. Frank says that the most popular dish for kiddos is the khao mung gai (poached chicken served over rice with a sauce on the side), which he says his two kids “eat religiously.” So if you’re looking for dinner and a show, and a great way to introduce your kids to some of the best Thai food around, head to Little Uncle. And come hungry. 

1523 East Madison St., #101, Seattle, littleuncleseattle.com

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