A Walk through Seattle’s Chinatown

Okay so maybe it’s not San Francisco but it’s authentic and it’s ours and it’s still the best place for real Chinese food in Seattle.  When you work downtown you’ll likely make the walk there for somebody’s birthday lunch;  or like I did recently, to meet up with old coworkers at Jade Garden – where I admit to trying jellyfish for the first (and last) time  – who thought it would be crunchy??

I took the Light Rail to town and emerged at the International District Station 30 minutes later.

I headed to Jade Garden where we shared dish after dish – from the land, from the sky, and from the sea,  admittedly trying things I would never order myself and that’s what makes it fun.

But I might prefer Seattle’s oldest Chinese Restaurant, Tai Tung, opened in 1935 and operated by the same family since.  It was Bruce Lee’s favorite restaurant – so they say – and he always ordered the beef in oyster sauce.  (I’d go with anything sweet and sour.)

After lunch I dropped by  Hing Hay Park, a local gathering place and popular with martial arts practitioners.

Then it was onward to King Street Station, after passing through Chinatown’s Historic Gate.

Opened in 1906, King Street Station was designed by the same firm who later worked on New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.

Recently renovated it’s quiet and grand and inviting, quite unlike today’s airports.

I wanted to hop a train to anywhere!

Instead I headed to nearby Smith Tower,  Seattle’s first skyscraper.

There I was reminded of my first trip to the top when I was 10 years old.  I was bored one summer day so my mom suggested a friend and I take a trip downtown to see Smith Tower.  We did just that,  paying 35 cents to ride the elevator operated by a friendly man in uniform.  Quite the adventure for ten year olds!

I thought 35 cents was rather expensive at the time, so I felt no need to pay the $20 to go to the Observation Deck today.  I continued on and got this view of the Tower from the other side.

Are you tired of walking yet?  I wasn’t but this post is long enough.  So before I go,  I’ll show you one more building: Seattle’s tallest skyscraper, 76 story Columbia Center.  It was the tallest on the West Coast when completed in 1985, but not anymore.

Apparently it too now has an Observatory that you can spend too much money on to enjoy.  Honestly, I spent enough time here during my working days, though mostly for lunch, as my building is the one on the right:  Seattle Municipal Tower.   See how I managed to squeeze that in?  Just a bit more nostalgia to go with my walk. 🙂

Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks. 

~ Susanne

20 Comments on “A Walk through Seattle’s Chinatown

  1. What a great tour of downtown Seattle – at least the parts that are still nice – and here’s some trivia about the Colombia Center – the women’s bathroom at the top of the building – at least when opened – had stalls that looked out windows because those winds were higher than anything else around – no one can see in from that height!

    • Yes, I visited one of those gorgeous bathrooms! Still open to the windows as of a few years ago! By the way, did you notice I tried the jellyfish? Once was enough! 🙂

      • Yes, you must keep giving Jellyfish a try because it’s the food of the future…try it tempura style and it will change your mind!

  2. Thanks, Susanne 🙂 🙂 I’ve always liked the sound of Seattle, even though I understand it gets bloomin’ cold in the winter. I did appreciate our walk.

    • Thank you so much for coming along! 🙂 I enjoyed your walk too! Seattle doesn’t usually get that cold in the winter – our recent snow storm was something of an anomaly. It’s the gray and the rain that gets people down.

  3. I think the older buildings are much more attractive than those modern monstrosities.
    Our nearest Chinese Restaurant is also called The Jade Garden. Obviously a popular name! (I won’t even be trying jellyfish though. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Yes, the older buildings had a lot of character didn’t they? As far as the food goes, these are not things I would have ordered, and I didn’t try everything. But I figured I’d try the jellyfish since John posted about it! The texture was not at all what I expected so one bite was enough! 😉

  4. Portland too had a small Chinatown along with tunnels where men were abducted supposedly and put on ships. Thanks for the tour.

  5. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Boa Vista | restlessjo

  6. Hi Suzanne – I didn’t know Seattle had a proper Chinatown. Next time we are there, I know where to dine! Thanks – Susan

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