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HungWeiLo's Profile

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"Just eat it, you'll like it"

I've encountered this in an Egyptian friend's house too. To not endlessly provide food as a host is insulting. To not feign some attempt to eat everything served is insulting as a guest.

Asians (at least the older generations) do the same thing - to the point where your plate/bowl is sometimes grabbed and the food poured onto it despite loud vocal protests. And let's not even go to the topic of fighting over the bill at restaurants - it gets all WWF every time. As a kid, before I knew better I would always relish the moments when my dad would wrestle with other male relatives/friends over the bill - literally rolling on the floor of the restaurant like children.

Apr 17, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food
2

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

Not necessarily the best items there, but some of what I've tried: (I haven't yet fully explored the Hunan section as much as the other stuff)

#7 - plain thick noodles stir-fried peasant-style w/ choice of meat
#26 - wontons w/ spicy broth slapped on it
#35 - Sichuan staple of sliced beef and offal in spicy broth
#36 - same as #35 but with sliced pig ears
The soups are worth trying at least once.
#66
#96
#113
#114 - I like this one, though peppercorn load may vary; I'll have to try #115 next time
#117 - a bit too KFC, but still pretty tasty
#125 - swimming fire fish - but with beef
#152 - irrational love for eggplant
#165 w/ garlic - irrational love for pea vines
#185 - not as good as the handmade tofu at Szechwan99, but the flavor's there
#187 - swimming fire fish

Many of these items use identical/repeated descriptors, altered only by the meat.

The frustrating part about eating there is the wait as they seem to do every dish in the kitchen serially. I almost always get takeout now.

Apr 16, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

They do indeed have more peppercorns in it. But for me, they add a bit of the sourness/stinginess than just plain hot which is the more interesting aspect for me anyway.

Though I suspect I just don't have that sensitive of a palate anymore.

Apr 15, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Early Sunday AM Breakfast-Bellevue/Seattle Airport Area

In Bellevue Chace's is good. Couzin's in Kirkland is similar and opens at 7am. Or cross the (toll) bridge to the U District to Portage Bay - they open at 7:30am and is pretty much one of the best breakfasts you can get around here. The Bellevue Hyatt is OK for a standard hotel continental if you're in a hurry and don't want to travel far from the downtown corridor.

Most other places that would be good (and aren't already mentioned) don't open early enough for you.

Apr 15, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

Little Garden and Spicy Talk are run by Cantonese.

But having actually eaten in both restaurants and homes in Sichuan and Yunnan, I really don't think the spice levels are off by THAT much. Or maybe I'm too numb to notice these days...but I don't think the spice level of Cantonese-run places like Little Garden are that different than, say, the other non-Cantonese-run places.

Apr 15, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

I like the cilantro chicken at Little Garden. That dish has more peppercorns than chicken and the flavor is great.

Apr 10, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

Yeah, come to think of it, no Szechwan place up here really strikes me as particularly spicy. And I did not grow up with spicy food. It's probably a regional thing.

When I talk about the "racial profiling", I should elaborate that the same standards also apply to Chinese people as well. The waitresses judge you by your accent to make an educated guess as to how spicy you're likely to enjoy your food (based on what Chinese sub-group they think you probably belong to). Shoot, I've had good friends who still assume we like less-spicy less-oily stuff for me and my wife just because "hey, you southern Chinese can't handle what we northerners eat, so let's just take it a little easy on ya".

Apr 10, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Decent egg tarts (dan tat) in Seattle?

I was down at A Piece of Cake in the ID (http://www.pieceofcakeseattle.com/) and they had a sign that said you can order freshly baked egg tarts by ordering them online (or at least, you have a better chance of not getting ones that have been sitting under a heating lamp for a few hours).

Haven't tried them, so no idea as to their quality.

Apr 10, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

U:Don

It's really the only place that entices me to trek over to the U District these days.

Apr 09, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Do any Sichuan restaurants use whole, good-quality peppercorns here?

I don't think that Spicy Talk and Szechuan First will be any better.

There are 2 other places up in Lynnwood - Taste of Szechwan and Szechwan Garden that might be worth exploring. Haven't been to both in quite some time, though.

Also, keep in mind that many of these restaurants on your list like to exercise food censoring for non-Chinese diners. That may be a reason why your peppercorns do not readily present themselves (assuming your avatar matches your real life appearance).

Apr 09, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Chinese dinner in the ID

If she's from Hong Kong, she'll be disappointed with Shanghai Garden. On the other hand, if she's been stuck a while in some flyover state pit without credible Asian food, anything in the ID will do.

O'Asian is probably your best mix of non-grubby and authentic Cantonese. For a bit less casual, Purple Dot or Hong Kong Bistro are straight up familiar Hong Kong food. Henry's Taiwan or Rocking Wok will be fine for Taiwanese.

But if I were in your mom's friend's situation, I'd set aside some time for DTF posthaste while I'm in town.

Apr 04, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Kaisho, Bellevue

Walked by one time and read through the menu, and knew right away that their focus was probably more on "what can we mix/fusion together that no one else has thought of" than the actual cooking.

Judging by their empty tables while the Cheesecake Factory just next door has what looked to be a 2-hour wait, a new restaurant will pop up there soon enough.

Mar 20, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Ramen

Just tried Jinya yesterday. They're still on a limited menu (ramen only pretty much, and chicken karaage). We ordered the white and black tonkotsu respectively. Both were still a bit rough, but the broth was amazing. The noodle was not chewy like it is at Kukai. The pork is a fattier cut which is more flavorful but less smoky than the ones at Kukai.

This place is very promising, though it's going to be one of those dine at 4:30pm or wait 1.5 hours type places.

Mar 20, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle
1

Decent egg tarts (dan tat) in Seattle?

Making your own is surprisingly easy. It's just essentially water+egg+sugar in a tart crust. I've used some instant mini tart crusts from DeLaurenti's down by Pike Place and they work pretty well for this application.

The ones at all the usual dim sum places are all about the same quality (Harbor City, Joi's, Top Gun, Jade Garden), but usually gets to be cold by the time you get to them. The best experience will be if you manually order and they just happened to need to bake a new batch.

Mar 10, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Shady business practice?

It's not an entirely new concept if you've ever been on the business end of an IRS audit.

Mar 07, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

question for european visitors... what surprised you the most about american restaurant culture

In terms of tipping, I think Europeans are just accustomed to automatic service charges already included in the tab (10%). Even only after being there for 1-2 weeks, you start getting used to just putting down only the amount written on the check, despite having been conditioned to add a tip on top of that amount most of my adult life in the US.

But I think the opposing perception of "bad service" also plays a part in it too.

Mar 07, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

question for european visitors... what surprised you the most about american restaurant culture

Out of my wide circle of hundreds of friends, I know of only one actively practicing vegan (I know she's the only one - because as the meme goes, if they're vegan, they'll be sure to let you know) - and she's in the "trying-it-out" phase and apparently liking it a lot despite needing to constant eat all the time.

And my circle of friends are mainly in Portland and Seattle, where the number of restaurants per capita that caters to alternate dietary needs is above average.

Mar 06, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

question for european visitors... what surprised you the most about american restaurant culture

"Apart from not eating meat, fish and eggs, strict Jains do not eat onions and garlic because they increase sexual desires. Strict Jains also do not eat any root vegetables like potatoes because smaller insects are killed in their harvest and the vegetable itself will have millions of bacteria."

This was in a special pop-up box at the top of my Google search. It must be interesting information to many.

Mar 06, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food

question for european visitors... what surprised you the most about american restaurant culture

When I browse restaurant reviews (esp. chain restaurants) on more pedestrian sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon, your list of observations is typically used expectedly in the opposite fashion - if drink orders are not taken within 5 seconds of sitting down, that's rude; if the server doesn't come back to check on you within 10 min of entree arrival, that's rude; if the restaurant's portions are such that a doggie bag does not weigh at least the same as the dinner that was just consumed, then it's a "rip-off"; if plates are not cleaned off within 30 seconds of food being consumed, that means the servers are "lazy". Any one of these are often cited as an excuse for low-tipping.

Mar 06, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food
3

question for european visitors... what surprised you the most about american restaurant culture

Both Western and Eastern European business clients were always amused that you can conduct 99% of one's personal business - and all 3 meals - without getting out of the car.

Mar 05, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food
1

Shady business practice?

I have two accountants in the family who do nothing but non-chain/mom-and-pop restaurants. They said if they're offering cash discounts, you can safely assume a good chunk of them are tax cheats.

Mar 05, 2014
HungWeiLo in Not About Food
1

NE of the I-5 I-90 interchange

Tea Garden shouldn't be considered especially since you have other better choices in the ID.

Feb 28, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Recommendations in the Eastside area?

Agreed. I've lived in Mill Creek, and no one recognizes it as not being a suburb of Everett. Calling it Eastside is more than a bit of a stretch.

Bellevue to Mill Creek is 20 mi. Heading southbound 20 mi would land you in Kent, but no one tries to incorporate Kent into the "Eastside".

Feb 27, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Recommendations in the Eastside area?

The French Bakery at Bella Bottega is best avoided. There are literally better pastries and coffee at the QFC next door.

Feb 25, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle
1

A Most Expensive Piece Of Pizza

Actually, isn't pizza one of those food items that actually decreased significantly in consumer cost in recent years?

Of course, I'm referring to the chain places which have been at a price war with each other for seemingly forever - they all seem to be charging $10 for a large 3+ topping pizza. I remember these same pizzas going for around $15-$20 each in the late 80s. ($20 in 1990 = ~$35 in 2014).

Feb 24, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Lake City Way: Three Recommendations

Another LCW place we used to frequent is the Persian bakery Minoo. Another sad loss akin to the Shi'an.

Feb 18, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

A Most Expensive Piece Of Pizza

Something that popped up in my mind was paying $16 for a croque madame at Cafe Campagne for brunch. It was heavenly and delicious and I would order it again and again, but let's face it - it's kind of a fine line between that and a slice of pizza.

Feb 18, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle
3

Commonly mispronounced foods

That's a nonsensical rule.
Do you also say "Horse dee overs" when you're ordering "hors d'oeuvres" in a restaurant not in a French speaking country?

Feb 04, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News

Best place for a good quality steak?

Jak's steaks are not that much cheaper, but they're comparable in quality and they throw in the sides which would typically add another $10-$15 at the Met/Ruth Chris/John Howie.

If you have a Costco membership, gift cards can be bought to give you a de facto 20% off at the Met and (sometimes) John Howie.

I bought this John Howie gift card recently. I intend to stack it with a Groupon for a combined $50 off a $100 purchase there.

One place to try is the Melrose Grill in Renton. Similar vibe/quality/price point as Jak's - though I haven't been in years.

Jan 30, 2014
HungWeiLo in Greater Seattle

Commonly mispronounced foods

From what I was told - it was not uncommon to here that amongst the non-Hispanics in the southwest and Texas up until the 60s.

Jan 23, 2014
HungWeiLo in Food Media & News