Ben Thanh: Vietnamese Beyond the Menu

A blue neon sign astutely states "Lau De" in the window of Ben Thanh, tucked in the armpit of the MLK/Rainier intersection. Literally, this area, with beautiful, imposing and classic Franklin High School to one side and the, bright, modern light rail to the other, looks like a forlorn place. But if you know that 'Lau De' of which the sign speaks, you look a little closer. Traditional Vietnamese goat hot pot, to a person like me, anyway, holds much intrigue. I first came to Ben Thanh in search of a quick meal, low expectations, on a time limit, it was there. While I was vaguely aware that … [Read more...]

A New Favorite Dim Sum Dish

I've mentioned before that I think the best dim sum in town is Tea Garden. It helps that it is a quick walk from my house, but all other things aside, it consistently turns out good dim sum. And it only bothers me a little bit that they still drop forks at the place settings of all white people.   One of my big requirements of a great dim sum is that I'm surprised by new dishes, so two weeks ago, I was thrilled when they offered me jellyfish. I had seen the dish before and long assumed that it was some sort of noodle, as on the cart it looks a lot like a plate of pad thai. The … [Read more...]

Restaurant Review 360 Round Up: Jasmine Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant

  Photo courtesy of Michael at Thanks to everyone who particpated in the Restaurant Review 360, it sounds like everyone enjoyed their food--even the Surly Gourmand seemed to have to keep their profanity to a minimum (by SG standards, anyways). I'm hoping we'll get a few late entries, but I wanted to get this up for everyone to read, eat and enjoy! Over at Herbivoracious, Michael was a little worried at first that he wouldn't get veg-friendly food, luckily by the time he reached the end of the novel like selection, he found a novel vegetarian selection: about 20 … [Read more...]

Jasmine Restaurant Review: Trying not to eat the apple–Update: Closed

Reviewing Jasmine Provincial Vietnamese Restaurant, I gave myself a parameter that I would try not to compare it to Tamarind Tree. It's a little like Adam and Eve resisting the apple. It's so easy, ripe, delicious, low hanging fruit. To use Tamarind Tree as a reference point when describing Jasmine would allow me to describe with out effort, but also with out poetry. Anyone can compare two like things, I am challenging myself to describe from the beginning. And it just isn't fair--Tamarind Tree is one of the best restaurants in the city, and we want to compare just because it is also a … [Read more...]

ViengThong: Wow, its actually Thai…

"Wow, it's actually Thai" was the recurring theme of our dinner last night. We headed out to ViengThong, on MLK Jr Way, just past the Loews. And by we, I include my brother, who spent three weeks at Muay Thai training camp in Thailand, and his friend who lived there for a time. These boys snottily laugh at the Thai food we eat here in Seattle, comparing it to the delicious stuff they got in their time living on the beach there. As I reminded my brother, I think he has told me about the sticky rice like fifty times. They opened the menu and seemed pleased at the options. The waitress giggled … [Read more...]


I remember as a child, we used to go for Ethiopian food a fair amount. Mostly this sticks in my head because it was the only time we were not yelled at for eating with our fingers (which I'm pretty sure we did, regardless of cuisine). So when my roommate demanded I try this Eritrean place, I embraced the opportunity to use the one utensil that makes all food taste better--the hands.Despite being hidden behind the Oh Boy Oberto factory store on Ranier, we found the little hideaway fairly easily and were seated immediatley in the small room. A full bar was stocked behind us and the TV was … [Read more...]