SEATTLE — Looking for a way to break out of typical summertime picnic fare? Take one of Wing Luke Museum’s food tours!
It showcases menu items from restaurants in the Chinatown International District that merge traditional cookout food with international flavors.
"Hot dogs and hamburgers are getting old,” said Senior Tour Guide Doan Nguyen. “Bring something new to the table!”
We tried items from three of the tour stops.
1. Phnom Penh Noodle House (permanently closing in May, 2018)
The Cambodian restaurant has been in business since 1987 and is the epitome of the American dream. Founder Sam Ung escaped the Khmer Rouge genocide, immigrated to Seattle and opened Phnom Penh. It's now operated by his daughters.
We tasted their Special Chicken Wings, made with honey, black pepper and jalapenos.
"They’re actually my dad's creation, not typically a Cambodian flavor - it's just his flair on it," said Dawn Ung.
To counter the heat, we also ordered a papaya salad - nice and refreshing on a hot summer day. Lunch for two runs about $20.
Phnom Penh Noodle House is closing permanently in May after a family emergency. If you would like to donate and help the family with medical expenses you can do so here.
Opened in 1935, it’s the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seattle. Bruce Lee was a regular and Anthony Bordain visited last month.
"I have been here since 1968," said third-generation owner Harry Chan. "It's fun to work here, you meet all kinds of people."
An order of their famous Fried Chicken Wings costs $8.95 and easily feeds two. Seasoned with salt, pepper, and a simple batter, they pack a legendary crunch and stay crispy even when they’re ordered to-go.
The casual seafood restaurant specializes in Cajun boils with a Vietnamese influence. Crawfish are flown in from Louisiana and the house-made Asian-style King Sauce has notes of curry and cinnamon. Seafood is sold at market price. Be prepared to wear gloves and a bib, and have lots of fun.
"When you have different immigrant refugee groups coming into the United States, they're not just bringing their bodies. It's also culture and tradition, language and food," Nguyen said. "It's so amazing to see these things coming together."
For more information on upcoming food tours visit www.wingluke.org.