Every so often, we need a break from the same ole, same ole routine of cooking at home or hitting the drive-thru. We need to experience something new, something different and exciting, something that thrills our taste buds and maybe takes us out of our comfort zones.
Ethnic eateries have become the new normal in the American meat-and-potatoes diet. Not too long ago, nobody ever heard of Pho, Pad Thai, and Hot Pots. Hand-pulled, hand-made Chinese noodles and soup dumplings were the stuff of pure imagination.
All that’s changed, baby!
Edmonds has been leading the pack and setting trends in the diverse culinary arts, with an exciting mix of the known and unknown in its many ethnic eateries. Many of those eateries are centrally located in Edmonds' own International District off Hwy. 99.
What time is it? You already know.
Bar Dojo Chef de Cuisine Luis Brambila conducts an East/West symphony in his fusion of upscale delights. For Hawaii and the Philippines, look no further than Barkada, where Filipino-American Chef Brian Madayag combines his heritage with his Pacific Northwest upbringing, for a brilliant rendition of his favorites. For more Hawaiian flavors, head straight to Steven Ono's Ono Poke, where the Kahulu'u-raised owner and his staff serve up poke bowls with aloha. For more on these restaurants, read here.
Edmonds’ very own fish market/grocer/café, The MAR•KET on 508 Main Street, deservedly earns kudos for dressing up American classics (lobster roll, chowder bread bowl, Cajun shrimp breakfast sandwich) and introducing their own kind of global-fusion chic to street food (Singaporean Crab in a Bag, Malaysian Mee Siam, Korean tteokbokki). Indonesian Chef de Cuisine Hans Korompis is behind the bold, innovative menu.
Noodles & Hot Pots
Noodle Hut on 8418 Bowdoin Way fulfills that Thai jones big-time, with a whole bunch of home-spun, feel-good food for the soul. The menu’s broken up by fried rice dishes, pan-fried noodles (Pad Thai, Kee Mao Drunken Noodles), noodle soups (Tom Yum…yum yum, Meat Ball Noodle Soup), appetizers (crispy fried green beans with hot mayo, turnip cake), and most popular (satay noodle, nam fried rice, crab fried rice). Specials, like chicken ramen curry and Massaman curry, will rock your world.
Biang-biang noodles, the ultimate, elevated peasant food, will soon be your go-to comfort food when you try some at Qin.
Hand-pulled, spicy noodles — a Shaanxi Province dish in China — is a fast-growing food sensation all over the U.S. Biang-biang, btw, is the sound noodle dough makes when it's pounded and stretched into submission for your culinary enjoyment.
Qin’s pork sauce biang-biang noodles are the bomb. The restaurant on 22315 Hwy. 99, Unit H, features cuisine from Northeast China, an adventure for newbies and a taste of home for transplants. If you’re there, save room for Xinjiang-style fried noodles with tomato eggs, braised beef hand-shaved noodles, and Chinese wonton in chili sauce.
Hot pots are all the rage, now. In Edmonds, there’s one called the Boiling Point to check off your foodie bucket list. The small chain has restaurants in California, Canada, and Japan.
Every culture has a hot pot. In various parts of Asia, the ingredients change, but the concept’s the same. You put different ingredients into a boiling broth and dive in, sharing with friends and family. It’s very communal. Definitely the perfect place to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
Boiling Point offers several different styles, from Korean Bean Paste and Milk Cream Curry, to Taiwanese Spicy, Tonkotsu Miso, and the House Special, with fermented tofu, sliced pork, fish cake, pork meatballs, quail egg, fried taro, pork intestine, and Napa cabbage. Don’t be scared; you’ll like it. The one in Edmonds, 22001 Hwy. 99, #100, is open every day, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun.-Thurs., and 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat.
If you do nothing else, order the Dan Dan Noodles with spicy sesame sauce at Boiling Fish on 22511 Hwy. 99, Suite 101. Like most Chinese restaurants, Boiling Fish’s menu takes some time to go over. So much food, so little time.
The selections range from exotic — FeiTeng Live Fish, Pork Knuckles and Frog Legs with Chili Peppers, Spicy & Sour Pork Intestines Noodle Soup — to familiar — fried rice, Chow Mein, hand noodles, Mongolian Beef. Your choice. Boiling Fish serves truly authentic, spicy Chinese food in huge portions. Highly recommended: soy ginger fish, eggplant in hot garlic sauce, and deep-fried chicken with spicy chili. Service is friendly and efficient.
For authentic Hunan style Chinese, Dong Ting Chun (22001 Hwy. 99, #400) fits the bill. There’s also one in Redmond.
Hunan, or Xiang cuisine, is characterized by the liberal use of spicy chili peppers, garlic, stinky tofu, and smoked, cured, and braised food, as well as dry pots, where you fry meat and veggies in hot oil, with — yup — more chili pepper and garlic.
Fun fact: you can get your Yeung Chow fried rice with Hunan style bullfrog, too.
For the less adventurous, the steamed fish, spicy prawn dry pot, stir-fried, bone-in chicken with pickled chili, and braised pork belly with fried tofu go down real easy. Everybody raves about the cauliflower dry pot with Chinese bacon. You might wanna try some.
Rather play it safe? Family-run Chopsticks in Edmonds to the rescue. An old favorite, the restaurant on 23025 100th Ave. W. sticks to classic Cantonese-American comfort takeout: Kung Pao Chicken, Crab Rangoon, pot stickers, fried chicken wings, Mongolian Beef, Moo Shu Pork, honey sesame seed beef. Single and family dinner combos are a deal, allowing you to taste a bit of everything.
The specialty cocktails take you back to the good, ole tiki torch days of the post-war ‘50s, where everyone is hula-hooping to exotica lounge jazz and sipping Mai Tais and Chi Chis. Managers-turned-owners Terry and Ling Woo preside over this beloved restaurant that’s been pleasing regulars for over 55 years.
Furi Chinese Restaurant (546 5th Ave. S.) is the downtown go-to for Chinese food. The menu covers the gamut of Chinese standards: egg rolls, egg flower soup, steamed and pan-fried buns, General Tso’s Chicken, Beef with Broccoli, Mongolian Beef, Crispy Duck, Lamb with Sa Cha Sauce, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Ma Po Tofu, Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic, Sweet & Sour Pork, Curry Beef Clay Pot, Singapore Rice, Fried Rice, and of course, Chow Mein.
Fashion Dim Sum’s soup dumplings just might make you forget that big chain with the big lines. This place on 22923 Hwy. 99 draws its own long lines, just for the hand-made dim sum: cute little piggy pork buns, egg custard sesame balls, golden cakes, egg rolls, taro shrimp cake, seafood siu mai, deep-fried Chinese donuts… The menu may be small, but it’s packed with flavor.
You go to T&T Seafood Restaurant on 22511 Hwy. 99, #103, for a weekend blowout.
It’s like Sunday dinner for extended Chinese families and their friends, but with dim sum and more seafood than you can believe, prepared in a million ways — all of them good. This is where you go to break your diet, big-time.
The menu’s so big, there are two, one for dim sum (49 items) and the regular one for main dishes (a whopping 126)…sizzling sea bass, Peking Duck, abalone hot pot, clam with black bean sauce, sizzling filet mignon with black pepper, beef chow fun, Singapore style vermicelli...
Waroeng Jajanan may be the first Indonesian grocery store in Edmonds, but you can also eat here too. Some of the weekend specials include Ayam Bakar Pedas, spicy-sweet grilled chicken; Lontong Cap Gomeh rice cakes; Sate Padang, beef satay; and Martabak Telor, deep-fried beef rolls. The Indonesian food, snack, and grocery store is located at 22315 Hwy. 99, Unit I.
Thai Cottage has been around forever, near the corner of Main and 5th Ave. N. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves all the tried-and-true Thai faves. Kick off your meal with vegetable spring rolls, wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried. Skip right on over to the curries, red or green, with a nice choice of proteins (chicken, prawn, pork, beef, calamari, scallop, seafood combo, tofu). Pad Thai, Drunken Noodle, or maybe some Thai Basil Fried Rice. Bonus for vegans: tofu fried rice.
In 2019, Thai by Day opened its doors at 182 Sunset Ave. to modern Thai fusion, featuring creative interpretations of a lot more than the standard curries and spring rolls. Right up there with veggie spring rolls, Pad Thai, and curries are interesting new Thai and Thai-inspired dishes, mash-ups with other cultures. Try Katsu Fried Rice, Mee Krob Thai crispy-fried vermicelli noodles, Firecracker Shrimp, Larb Geso Karaage (crispy squid legs with Thai seasoning), and yeah, curry — but with Thai plantains.
Formerly Tasty Thai, Savvy Thai Cuisine at 22611 76th Ave. W., Suite 103, wants to introduce diners to the complexity of Thai food, in the fine balance between “tangy, spicy, a bit of saltiness, and a bit of sweetness all blend[ed] together perfectly in harmony [website],” along with a whole lot of fresh ingredients.
The menu reflects that commitment to authentic, beautiful Thai cuisine: fresh summer rolls, soy-marinated, grilled beef with Nam Jim Jeaw — a Northern Thai style dipping sauce, Yum Woon Sen Glass Noodle Salad, Gai Yang Thai BBQ chicken marinated in coconut milk, garlic, and curry powder, and a whole lot more. The gluten-free menu really shows off the chef’s skills in the kitchen.
Dessert before pho. Only at Pho Than Brothers, a local chain revered by Seattle rappers Macklemore and Sabzi. “They give you a cream puff immediately when you sit down. You're practically greeted with it when you walk in the door, before they bring your pho out,” the "Thrift Shop" rapper tells Bon Appétit’s Sam Dean [“Macklemore Loves Pho,” March 1, 2013].
In Vietnamese culture, pho is love. It takes hours, sometimes days, to make the broth, a magical medley of spices, care, and time. Than Bros. makes theirs delicious, affordable, and as homemade as can be; the closest to eating at mom’s.
Pick your bowl — small, medium, large, or extra-large — with the usual lime, beansprouts, and basil to toss and stir in. The nourishing rice noodle, meat soup comes in 14 varieties, from Chin Gan’s brisket and soft tendon to the traditional Tai eye-round steak, sliced medium rare. Vegetarians rejoice, there’s Pho Chay with tofu, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms.
In business since 1996. Ten locations, including Edmonds in Bohan Plaza, 22618 Hwy. 99, Unit 101.
Take a trip through Pakistan, India, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Armenia, and Turkey in one rapturous restaurant, located in the Firdale Village Shopping Plaza. Caravan Kebab presents a multi-cultural feast for the senses.
Pakistani Chef Raja Shahzad incorporates the flavors of his travels throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia into his deeply flavorful, farm-to-table dishes.
If you’re overwhelmed and want everything on the menu, he’ll gladly suggest some dishes to try, then kindly encourage you to return for more. And, you will.
Highly recommended for first-timers and experienced foodie travelers: eggplant stuffed with walnuts and caramelized onions, served in the Georgian style, Moroccan lamb Tagine, potato pierogi dripping in buttery cheese sauce, Borscht, Turkish Kofta kebab, Lebanese Muhammara red pepper dip from Aleppo, Syria, and baklava.
Sampling tapas (small, shareable bar bites) at Demetris Woodstone Taverna on 101 Main Street is almost like being there, tripping around Spain, Greece, and other parts Mediterranean, with a little Northwest attention. Be adventurous. Try a little of everything.
Poutine, harissa-kissed empanadas, bacon-wrapped dates, salmon crostini, seafood paella, a pasta bar. What are you waiting for? Grab a friend or two, and get over here.
Woodstone Taverna is a part of the Kafé Neo family dynasty, and run by Edmonds native Sofeea Huffman, who first opened the original Kafé Neo Edmonds in 1991.
Whenever locals crave Greek food fast, they head on over to Kafé Neo Edmonds on 21108 Hwy. 99. Operated by the Kafé Neo family — with locations throughout Snohomish County — this little Greek café puts out some hearty, heart-warming dishes for every kind of appetite and taste: classic, specialty, and vegetarian gyros, mezedes (appetizers), and some of yaya’s homemade recipes (moussaka, makaronia & mizithra).
Jerk chicken could solve all the world's problems. Calypso Edmonds on 109 Main St. does this Caribbean staple proud, with jerk chicken wings and jerk chicken fettuccine on the menu. Other favorites: peppered beef stew, blackened rockfish, curried goat, and coconut curried lentils. Jennifer Myatt (Salt & Iron) and Michael Chambers (The Loft) opened the restaurant where Café de Paris used to be in December 2018. The two met in the Cayman Islands and did some serious time working restaurants there for years. Gorgeous Edmonds beachfront views, lively music, lots of fun, what’s not to love?
Love of beer, sustainable living, and a hurricane eventually led Venus Forteza and chef husband Anthony Kjeldsen to create their dream Latin-Caribbean restaurant, Maize & Barley.
In 2017, after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Forteza’s homeland, she and Kjeldsen — and several of their friends in the beer industry — chipped in what they could to help her grassroots fundraiser for celebrity chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK).
“After several months of planning, the fundraiser was held at Naked City. Over 100 people came, nearly $6,000 was raised," she says. "We served Puerto Rican food via a considerable donation by Cameron Catering, my previous employer. The response was overwhelming. People loved the food, the music, and the socialization. I met other Puerto Ricans, people with Caribbean-Latin roots.”
That giving spirit lives on in this small, but powerful space, which serves as a café, taproom, and gathering place. The small menu rotates seasonally, featuring new, heavenly bites, designed to tickle not stuff.
One day, you may be in the mood for a Trinidad Fish Sandwich with your house-made Packless Mule. The next, a Midnight Cuban and arepa (corn cake) with, naturally, a pint of Pfriem Belgian Dark Strong from Hood River. Everything’s as sustainably-, locally-, and seasonally-sourced as humanly possible. Find them on 525 Main St.