Thanksgiving is a terrific holiday, stable in always being the fourth Thursday of November, and for many the start of a four-day weekend. There are numerous rituals to celebrate, like the gathering of friends and family, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, reflecting on what we’re grateful for (right?), feasting, napping, and—of course—watching football.
But let’s talk turkey. Unless the breaking of the wishbone is of importance, who cares about the bird? The traditional dinner is delicious because of the sides, not the main. Dry poultry takes a backseat when there’s sweet potato casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and more.
If all of that sounds like a bother, or still too bland, do as I do each year: celebrate Thanksgiving (and this year, Thanksgivukkah) at a Chinese restaurant.
I’ve repeatedly said that Seattle’s dim sum is inferior to what you’ll find north in Richmond, B.C., and that our area’s best Chinese food is at the Szechuan joints in Bellevue. Still, if you want to stay in Seattle, I have some suggestions, starting with dim sum at O’Asian Kitchen. The downtown location offers free parking on weekends and holidays and an upscale setting that will take you away from the chaotic crowds in the International District.
O’Asian is serving dim sum until its 4pm closing on Thanksgiving day. To fit with your NFL festivities, look for an item simply called “football” (pictured above) on one of the dim sum carts. Known as hum sui gok in Chinese (it roughly translates to “salty water pastry”), this football-shaped dumpling is dough (usually glutinous rice flour with wheat starch) that’s deep-fried, resulting in a crispy outer shell and a soft, chewy interior. The puff is fairly hollow, though it contains a mixture of ground pork, mushroom, and seasoning. It’s slightly sweet, and fun to eat.
If you’re looking for lunch or a later meal, I have several recommendations in the International District. Ton Kiang B.B.Q. Noodle House has roasted and BBQ pig and duck, but my favorite is the poached (free-range) chicken. Be sure to get the ginger-scallion sauce to go with it. Gourmet Noodle Bowl is a great choice for hot pot dining and other dishes. Both locations of Henry’s Taiwan will be open, with beef bing my favorite item there. As for me? Being a fan of bolder flavors, you’ll likely find me at Seven Stars Pepper, saluting Szechuan dishes (like the chicken and chili “hot pot” pictured) as spicy-red as possible.