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October 7, 2008 at 6:57 AM

Ancient Chinese (not so) secret?

Drive around and you’ll see them everywhere: the Chinese restaurant holdouts. I’m talking about those old-school joints we’ve been eating in for decades. (Or snubbing — depending on your tolerance for sweet and sour pork and hang-the-red-lantern decor.) Lately I’ve noticed that some of these places have bit the dust (all shed a tear for Inn Bin). And in their honor, I’m looking to compile a list of longtimers: like Tai Tung, the Rickshaw and Louie’s Cuisine of China. You don’t have to love them. Just name them. Operators are standing by:


Posted by mike

7:45 AM, Oct 07, 2008

Mandarin gate, Oaktree

Posted by Vince

7:47 AM, Oct 07, 2008

Wah Kue on 1st Ave S in Burien. Been there since the ’50s, and inexplicably still very popular. About as old-school Americanized Chinese as it gets.

Posted by Suzanne

9:08 AM, Oct 07, 2008

There’s Chopstix in Edmonds. Over the top greasy, with bright red sweet and sour sauce, huge portions (we split 2 dinners for the 3 of us, including a teen boy), cheap. Killer mai-tai’s.

Great service!

Posted by Anne

9:14 AM, Oct 07, 2008

Fu Man Dumpling House on Greenwood. I don’t know how long it’s been there but it looks like forever. Delicious pot stickers and pretty much everything else.

Posted by Wendy

9:49 AM, Oct 07, 2008

Thai Siam in Crown Hill. A classic.

Posted by Diana

9:50 AM, Oct 07, 2008

Moon Temple in Wallingford. My parents stopped going there in the 60’s because it had entered into its eternally slow decline back then. Really strong drinks though.

Posted by mms

9:54 AM, Oct 07, 2008

perry ko’s south china restaurant. i’ve been going there for as long as i can remember – first on beacon hill and now since they’ve moved to newcastle. you have to know what to order, but regardless, it feels like family and you usually run into at least one person you know while there.

Posted by Interplanetary Janet

1:26 PM, Oct 07, 2008

The China Doll in Everett has to be 50 or 60 years old…best chow mein, ever.

Posted by Mindy

1:27 PM, Oct 07, 2008

Golden Gate on Roosevelt near Northgate. Went there for the first time last week-end. Pretty awful, but cheap, strong drinks.

Posted by E. coli lawyer

2:41 PM, Oct 07, 2008

I sometimes still go to China Gate, in the ID, even though the food is pretty awful, and the dim sum worse. Sun Ya, too. The food is better, even the dim sum. But the atmosphere is late-70’s employee lunch room.

Posted by stubborn1

8:57 PM, Oct 07, 2008

My dad never fails to remind of when I was 5 years old (1975) and got up on the barstool at Tia Tung and started sing “Chinatown, My Chinatown”. We ate there at least once a week, so the owner gave me a pack of Wrigley’s.

Posted by Marty

6:49 AM, Oct 08, 2008

Mandarin Garden/Cloud Nine Lounge in Issaquah – Pot Stickers to die for!

Posted by Nancy Leson

7:09 AM, Oct 08, 2008

Stubborn: I love that story, which reminds me of the the time I “performed” as a very young child while dining out at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant in Philadelphia.

I was with my Aunt Joan and after our waiter took our order I did my “impression” of a Chinese accent. My aunt thought it was hilarious, and while I’m not exactly certain what happened in the aftermath but I believe it had something to do with the Chinese waiter having seen it — and me, as a grade-schooler — being acutely aware of his scorn. It’s the only way I can explain that some 40 years later I cringe at the thought of that rude “show.” Believe me, if my son did that today, I would not be laughing. And he would certainly remember exactly what I’d said to him about rudeness and insensitivity 40 years later.

Posted by Crickett

11:43 AM, Oct 08, 2008

Tai Ho in Bothell. Best homemade noodles * potstickers Ever! The owners had a little boy abt the same age as my now 25 yr old & they would play. Great lunch specials and prices!

Tai Tung before the remodel thirty? years ago. MY 1st father in law, when commenting about the doorbell like buttons on the wall by each table, said “those (insert racist name) just put em there for the dumb white people so they think they are important.” The waiter heard him and within 8 minutes FIL was wearing a family style platter of hot food in his lap! The waiter never changed expression and FIL looked up at him and said “Guess you got me good didn’t you!” I am still laughing over thirty years later!

We used to sell fresh caught salmon to the kitchen in Tai Tung in the seventies. We would trade for lunches or just get cash and spend it there.

When they remodeled they invited lots of people and served quite the feast and as I remember did not charge for drinks either.

I have a necklace I bought there in the early eighties and still wear in – carved hematite.

Sadly they did refuse to serve my second husband the fried whole chicken feet w/skin on that the waiters were eating after the lunch rush one day. He was told “Not for customer, not allowed” My husband was drooling and said it made him homesick for Brasil where every part of the chicken is employed for some use!

Ah, the memories this has refreshed. Thank you Nancy

Posted by Christina

3:24 PM, Oct 08, 2008

MMS – I live in a location very convenient to Perry Ko’s and I’d love a tip – what do you order there? In my humble opinion, they are “good” but everything I’ve ordered there tastes THE SAME. (Fried, and brown.) It’s “good,” but kinda boring.

Give us some tips!

Posted by ceepdublu

4:42 PM, Oct 08, 2008

Best Wok in Bellevue… killer long beans and beef, and a very tasty Kung Pao.

Yea’s Wok in Newcastle also has very good Chinese food. Their Chicken Chow Mein reheats very well.

Posted by Ballardite

1:56 PM, Oct 09, 2008

ohmygosh. We loved Inn Binn and miss it so much! It was our favorite place. We would go there every Friday night. Our grandson got his first taste of chinese food at Inn Binn. He loves chow mein and rice! Their Mandarin Garlic Chicken was to die for and no other place we’ve tried has chinese food as good as Inn Binn. I even tried to convince the owners to re-open when I ran into them at Costco but no such luck!

Posted by candycane

1:47 PM, Oct 10, 2008

China Star in Kent has the absolutely best Won-Ton soup in the world! We have tried other chinese restaurants in the area (including chinatown in Seattle) but none of those restaurants even comes close to the quality and quantity of food at China Star. Until we found it, we believed no one on the west coast knew how to make fried rice the right way! I absolutely love the friendly, welcome back attitude the staff has there! All the people who have submitted comments on this blog haven’t been to China Star yet, I guarantee!

Posted by xinapray

2:57 PM, Oct 10, 2008

I suspect that these qualify as well 😉

China Gate

Kau Kau

House of Hong

Sun Ya

Sea Garden


China First

Posted by JCL

11:04 AM, Oct 12, 2008

Yummy Cafe 4008 NE 55th Street — in the Bryant neighborhood by the Metropolitan Market (think Sandpoint area). This place is a gem and delicious beyond belief. They have a good selection of American-Chinese, but if you ask the husband or wife about their daily specials they will tell you what else is available (beef brisket hot pot with the extra spicy sauce on the side – goooood). You get the sense that they will make anything you ask for (within reason). I think I even saw them serve bittermelon with beef one time. They definitely do a brisk take-out service and also have free delivery. We generally eat there because the service is great and it feels like a real caring place. Definitely recommend the orange beef, hong kong style chow mein with seafood, beans/veggies, and the hot pots…

Posted by tekkadon juan

4:46 PM, Oct 15, 2008

i remember going to sun ya as a kid every weekend for dim sum with my extended family of two uncles and their families. it was always a tradition. now we’ve moved on to top gun in factoria because it’s more convenient for my eastside-dwelling relatives.

also, kau kau is another household name. we would, and still do, go there for duck, fat back, and barbecued pork to bring home for either (chinese) christmas or new year’s. ah, the memories of childhood when everything was fun and chinese food.

oh, lest i forget, honey court used to be a more upscale kind of place…no fluorescent walls and lights. sigh. now it’s a great place to snag some gailan in a pinch.

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