Driving through the cities that make up King County, you might think this region has a thing for Asian food. Thanks to a new report from the Pew Research Center, there’s proof. According to researchers, at least 25 percent of King County eateries serve Asian cuisine. In fact, the county is one of only eight in the whole country sitting in the quarter-of-all-restaurants booth.
Interestingly, only 20% of the population in King County is Asian (10% statewide), according to the most recent census.
Japanese, Chinese and Thai have the highest representation among restaurants in the greater Seattle area. The Pew report also noted that the county’s next-door neighbor Snohomish County is the second highest in the nation in terms of the percentage of Japanese restaurants. A whopping 8% of all dining establishments there serve Japanese cuisine.
King County has a wide variety of Asian cuisines, including Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, and others looked at in the study. But the bulk of King County restaurants fell into these three cuisines: Chinese, Japanese and Thai. Here are our picks for tried and true family favorites in these three categories — plus a few from other cuisines mentioned in the Pew report:
Tai Tung Restaurant is Seattle’s oldest Chinese restaurant, passed down through three generations and nearly 90 years. Not to mention it was a favorite of Bruce Lee – a karate action superhero element that is a draw for many kids and adults. But the food here also stands out, and the menu is long enough for everyone to find something to love. In Seattle at 665 South King St.
Harbour City Restaurant is one of Seattle’s go-to’s for dim sum with kids. Dim sum – which means both “touch of the heart” and appetizer – is a small plate dining style where the whole family gets to enjoy tiny tastes and order more if one stands out. Harbour City won the Top 3 Chinese Restaurant Award from ThreeBestRated.com.The menu is endless. In Seattle at 707 King St.
Kisaku dishes are not only delicious, but kids can reach out to receive their food directly from the chef. The chefs who operate the counter here make an effort to connect with kids, ensuring they know what’s going on and how to eat what’s in front of them. The broad menu encompasses traditional raw fish sushi, a variety of other styles, and salads and cooked food, so even squeamish kids find a way to enjoy the experience. In Seattle at 2101 N 55th St.
Dough Zone is all about the dough — or dumplings, to be more specific. It’s a Seattle-area chain and an excellent place to introduce kids to authentic tasting Chinese cuisine if they are new to it. Pick up some frozen dumplings while you are there for an easy school night dinner at home.
- In the Seattle International District, 504 5th Ave. S. Ste 109
- In downtown Seattle, 815 Pine St.
- In Seattle’s U-District, 4701 24th Ave. NE
- In Bellevue at 10300 Main St. and 14625 NE 24th St. Ste 4B
- At Redmond Town Center, 7625 170th Ave. NE
- At Issaquah Meaders, 1580 NW Gilman Blvd. #1
- At Kirkland Urban, 520 Uptown CT
- At Renton Landing, 800 N 10th Pl., Ste A
- At Woodinville Towne Center, 17650 140th Ave. NE
Hurry Curry in Seattle and Bellevue specializes in Japanese comfort food and has grown a loyal following since opening its doors in 1989 in West Los Angeles. When owners Becky and Tai Yoshitani relocated to Seattle, they brought a little piece of Japan with them, giving local families a new option. Our reviewer Joe Eike said soon after Hurry Curry’s 2016 opening: “Japanese curry is a perfect gateway curry for kids, as it’s sweet and spiced, but not spicy-hot.” In Seattle at 825 Harrison St. or in Bellevue at 15015 Main St.
Genki Sushi in Renton is delivered on a conveyor belt. What spells kid better? This lone Washington spot in an otherwise Hawaiian chain offers all kinds of kid favorites, from simple green bean sushi rolls to fried tempura to Éclairs, mini cream puffs, and mochi ice cream. Located at Renton Village Shopping Center, 365 South Grady Way, Suites B&C.
Sushi Me in Bellevue is another popular kaiten (conveyor belt) option that offers a variety of traditional Japanese and fusion dishes. Great food and entertainment for the whole family as you watch the chefs prepare the dishes and try to snag one as it rolls by. In Bellevue at 1299 156th Ave. NE.
And what about Snohomish County, where oh so many Japanese restaurants live? The Everett Herald asked their readers to vote for their favorites. When the votes came in, these three topped the list: Katana Sushi, Tokyo House, and Kai Sushi Fusion Roll & Sake.
Kirkland’s Soi specializes in cuisine from the northeastern Isan region of Thailand. The chef in this family-friendly spot is also a mom and knows some of her dishes are spicier than kids like, so ask for the special kids. At the Kirkland Urban, 425 Urban Plaza, Ste. 285.
Thai Tom is the place to take kids for a real food show. Other restaurants are easier to squeeze into or can claim better food, but there’s no restaurant in town where the chef performs as intricate a dance as the U-District’s Thai Tom. With just a few woks over roaring flames on the stove, the master flicks together meat, noodles, herbs, and vegetables practically without looking. His practiced art allows him to spoon sauces, stir pots, and serve dishes without hesitation or mistake. Located in the U-District at 4543 University Way NE.
Thai Siam’s website needs some work, but don’t dismiss this family-favorite spot in Ballard because of its aged website. We’ve been going since our now-adult kids were little and it’s still our family’s top spot for tasty Thai food and sweet service. Top choices for kids? Pretty much anything noodles, and always – always! — black sticky rice with coconut milk and the restaurant’s signature coconut ice cream. In Ballard at 8305 15th Ave. NW.
Nirmal, located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, gets family. They are happy to serve family style, the staff pays attention, there is a large community table at the center of the restaurant and the food is outstanding. No spice number system here. Just tell them the way you and your kids like it. It’s not a formal place, but great for a special night out. Located at 106 Occidental Ave S.
The Boat is unusual in that it offers only one dish, done a couple ways. Not fuss, no muss, no big decisions. Same with dessert. They serve Cơm gà mắm tỏ , a chicken and rice dish beloved in Vietnam. It’s a fried garlic-encrusted cornish hen with rice cooked in chicken broth that appeals to taste buds of all ages. For dessert, super tasty waffles. Located in Seattle at 314 S Jackson St.
Old Village Korean BBQ is located 15200 Aurora Ave N in Shoreline. For tasty, traditional food done in the family style this is it. Interested in learning more about Korean food? Check out our article “Inspired by a racist voicemail, TV anchor writes kids’ guide to Korean food.”
Hood Famous Bakery is the place to go for For tasty Filipino breakfast food and baked goods. From savory to sweet, this menu delights families with its many hand-held delights. The owners have made it their mission to share Filipino culture and taste. Do not miss the purple cheesecake. Located in Seattle at 504 5th Ave S. Ste. 107A.
More at Seattle’s Child: