May 29, 2008 | | Comments 11

Seattle: House of Hong in the International District

This is our last post on our quick vacation to Seattle. It’s Day 5 and we decided that we go to Chinatown and check out the dim sum in an American city. We had expected that the dim sums here would be Americanized … you know … serve things like chop suey, beef & broccoli, fortune cookies and such.

We had wanted to go to a place called the Jade Garden and Hongkong Restaurant. It was recommended by Jeniffer who also recommended Cedar’s to us. As it turned out, we could not find parking. Well, we could find pay parking but we did not want to pay for parking. Alright, I admit, we are stingy especially for things that is supposed to be free!

So, we ended up going to this place called the House of Hong. As it turned out, it was a good thing we came here.

The House of Hong had won a lot of awards over the years. The awards (for best chinese, best dim sum, etc) were all plastered all over a wall near the entrance. The interior was cavernous which surprised us. We hardly had such a huge dim sum place in Vancouver and yet the one we went to is so big. It was very early on a weekday when we were there and there were only two tables taken.

We like the courteous and prompt service.

The Baked Char Siu Bun were great … soft and fluffy with moist sweet BBQ pork in it. We were pleasantly surprised how authentic the dim sum was.

Braised Chicken Feet … we love it. He he he … I know almost all my whites friends do not touch it. But seriously, it is really good and we always order this for dim sum. Until today, I am trying to fully figure out why chicken feet puts people off. Some told me that there is no meat in it but I think its the thought of chicken feet walking around chicken shit that really puts people off.

For the chinese, they don’t call this chicken feet. No, no … that’s too crude. The formal name for this is “fung jau” which means Phoenix Claws.

The Char Sui Bau (BBQ Pork Bun) was equally superb. Suanne had never quite figure out how to make fluffy texture buns like these although her buns can beat any Char Sui Buns in the world, no kidding.

Oh, one thing we noticed here … they serve the dim sums in metal tiffin cans, not the normal bamboo basket we normally see. Weird.

Potstickers … I am not sure if this is really Chinese traditional dish. Can someone confirm? I always thought that Potstickers are more Japanese than Chinese … you know, gyoza?

Beef tripe … nice. If people who are not used to dim sum ask me what this is, I normally tell them “don’t ask, just eat”. I love the crunchy texture. You guys know what tripes are, right?

Bean Curd Rolls are another favourite of ours. Looks awful right? But they are quite harmless … just meat wrapped in bean curd rolls.

Siew Mai … traditional chinese dumplings. Quite good … and very authentic.

Siew Mai is not complete without the type of chili sauce above. I don’t know if there is a specific name for this but we simply must have this chili sauce with siew mais.

The Shrimp Toast was OK. This I think is Americanized dim sum. I am not familiar with this.

We could not resist the delicious looking BBQ Duck with the crispy looking skin. It turned out cold. We would have preferred it warm. No bad though.

The Shrimp Rice Roll was also good. This is the favourite of Arkensen and Nanzaro.

Zeen Dui are sesame seed coated ball. You gotta love the fragrance and crunch of the sesame seeds and the chewiness of the glutinous rice ball.

We give this place a double thumbs up. The service was great, and the food was great. Highly recommended. We’re still quite surprised that there is such a place in Seattle.

So, here ends our Seattle series. Hope you all enjoyed it. Suanne and I are plotting our next vacation this summer. We’re gonna ship our boys to a 2-week camp which we scoot off, just the two of us. We are now looking at a 2-week trip of flying to Washington DC, rent a car, drive to Philadelphia, to New York City (yeah again but Suanne wants to see NYC) and fly home. It will be fun … and am sure I’ll document the entire trip too!!

Back to Suanne’s recipes for the next two weeks while I take a break from blogging!

House of Hong Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Categorized Under: Dim SumSeattle 2008

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Hong Kong Restaurant has its own parking garage but hey, I’m glad you found the House of Hong! My uncle still works there I think.

    The dim sum here is pretty good. The House of Hong is one of the bigger dim sum places since it also does hold wedding banquets and they renovated it within the past 5-7 years too.

    I’m gonna miss the Seattle series. I loved reading about my own city. But I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. frank says:

    Hey Ben/Suanne…firstly, great series on Seattle…I will be using your posts as a framework for my trip to the Bite of Seattle food festival this July with my son…

    Also, I am a white guy (italian actually) and I love all the things you had…tripe, chicken feet, etc…when I lived in Toronto I would go for Dim Sum with my Chinese friends and I used to eat things they wouldn’t even touch…!!!

    cheers
    Frank

    PS…will be going to Richmond on Saturday to check out some of your recommendations…not sure where to start…I think breakfast at the Yaohan centre…Braised Beef Brisket/Tendon and Dumpling Noodle Soup perhaps…mmm!

  3. Jessica says:

    I dunno, for me, the chicken feet are throw up worthy because they are little feet that I can picture the chickens walking around in a garden with their friends. I know that’s crazy. But, when I was little I asked my mom what chicken is made of and she told me “milk, flour and water”.

  4. koji says:

    Ben,
    some of the old vancouver places used the metal steamers, but i haven’t seen them in a while. shrimp toasts can probalbly still be found at places like golden swan on victoria, i like it, it’s probably one of the old school places still around. potstickers, my wife tells me is from china, the open ended ones are the classic styles from shanghai.

  5. sofei says:

    I’ve tried the cheesecake at Pike Market that you recommended, and they were great! I never noticed such a place every time I walk by. Too bad I only bought 4 cheesecakes last week when I went down to the states! I’ll gonna buy a dozen when I go to seattle again! Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. I believe beef tripe comes from the cow’s stomach.

    Not sure if the shrimp toast are Americanised Dimsum. We also have them in the Dutch Dimsum restaurants.. Although I never order them. I don’t really get the concept of fried toast. :)

  7. Erick says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m taken a bit back by your surprise of finding authentic Chinese food in Seattle. I thought you traveled around the US to know that the major cities on the West Coast will serve authentic Chinese food versus middle America.

    Yes, you will hear me complain about the Chinese food in Seattle because I’m comparing it to high standards like Vancouver, San Francisco, LA, but it shouldn’t surprise you so much to find authentic dim sum in Seattle. No, it won’t be as good as Vancouver but rest assured it’s a lot better than Dallas, TX.

    Glad you enjoyed House of Hong and stayed away from Jade Garden (blech!). Next time, we should meet at Top Gun in Bellevue for dim sum. That place comes as close to Vancouver as you’re going to get in Seattle.

    In any case, no worries…just surprised at your low expectations of Seattle Chinese food. Cheers!

  8. LotusRapper says:

    Ben, potstickers are traditional in Northern China and popular at Northern Chinese food restaurants as part of their “dim sum” (it’s almost a must-have item).

    Tripe is part of the cow’s digestive lining.

    Shrimp toast is not Americanized in the sense that it was actually conceived in China, in Canton province, over 100 years ago. Given the “toast” part, I’m sure its origin had some linkage to the foreign influences there at that time.

    Glad the meal turned out well. This gives us a new place to try out in Seattle area.

  9. Chris says:

    Potstickers are “woh-teep” in Cantonese, like what the other reader said, a Northern Chinese item. The shrimp toast is very popular in HK, esp. @ the “char-charn-teng” places(tea/ coffee houses). It’s called “har-torh-si”. I know, I keeled over in laughter when they told me this! My all-time favourite is ‘see-tor-peh-lei’ for “strawberry”!

  10. LotusRapper says:

    Chris, “torh-si” and “see-tor-peh-lei” are the original fusion dishes ;-)

    And of course there’s also “hum-bo-bao” (hamburger bun)

  11. scarlett_primrose says:

    I’m glad that there are so many people who know pot stickers are Chinese. If you actually look up the word “gyoza”, its actually kanji…which reads “gow ji” (cantonese) or “jiao zi” (mandarin). At least that’s what I remember in Japan.

    House of Hong is one of the few decent chinese dim sum places in Seattle so it’s good you went there instead of Jade Garden *shudder*. Still, nothing compares to the selection a little further south on the coast or Vancouver and Toronto. If you get a chance, go directly to the places of origin. So very very different.

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