There are many amazing culinary microhoods in Seattle. The intersection of 12th and Jackson in Little Saigon is one of the best. Though this just scratches the surface of what’s in the area, here are eight of my favorite places at that particular corner.
Dong Thap Noodles
It’s the newest restaurant on this list, and though only a year old, it’s already a success. At Dong Thap Noodles, they’re taking rice and turning it into fresh-made noodles that form the foundation of the menu. You can try their noodles in soups like pho and bun bo hue, or dry with grilled pork and shrimp. Best of all, you can buy the various noodles to cook yourself at home.
At Huong Binh, the house specialty is banh hoi thit nuong, in which skewers of grilled pork cooked to the point of caramelization accompany bundles of thin rice noodles. There’s much more on the menu, though, including a variety of noodle soups, rice flour crepes, and stir-fries with rice. Crowds come on Saturdays and Sundays for weekend specials that include chicken pho and a couple of congees.
Hue Ky Mi Gia
Hue Ky Mi Gia is a Vietnamese-style Chinese noodle house. The menu is chock-full of noodle dishes that range from egg or rice noodle soup, chow mein (soft or crispy), chow fun (gravy or dry style), and stir-fried rice vermicelli. Perhaps the perfect order: the crisp and delicious fried butter chicken wings along with the popular mi vit tiem: braised duck noodle soup.
Pho So 1
Despite the name, Pho So 1 serves up a wide variety of Vietnamese dishes. That said, there’s good reason to get the namesake dish; pho. The delicious broth (a little less sweet than at nearby restaurants) earns the #1 mention in the restaurant name in the minds of many. You can customize what meat you want in that broth, though I recommend you try the combo that includes all of them.
Saigon Vietnam Deli
There are so many Vietnamese delis within a stone’s throw of 12th and Jackson, and probably just as many opinions about which is best. Saigon Vietnam Deli serves up solid banh mi sandwiches, including a BBQ pork sandwich that you should get with jalapeños if you can handle them. The “lunch boxes” with your choice of two entrees and a side of rice are also a great deal.
Seven Stars Pepper
Perched above the 12th and Jackson intersection is Seven Stars Pepper, the place to head for spicy Sichuanese food. The massive menu makes note of the spicy dishes with a pepper symbol, though chili-lovers can ask for added heat. In addition to lunch specials, look for dishes like dan dan noodles, chopped pepper fish, boiled beef in hot sauce, and Chongqing chicken.
The other Sichuanese restaurant at the corner of 12th and Jackson is the aptly named Sichuanese Cuisine. A bit grittier than Seven Stars Pepper, it’s a place you’ll want to come with a group to try their big orders of 20 steamed or fried dumplings. With that big group, you can also take advantage of their all-you-can-eat Sichuan-style hot pots that come with lamb or a combination of beef and pork.
Right next door to the better-known (to some) Tamarind Tree is Vietnam House. The menu lists more than 100 items, though most tables tend to have at least one order of bun mang vit—which includes a bowl of rice vermicelli soup with bamboo, a plate of poached duck atop salad, and a side bowl of ginger fish sauce. The broken rice dishes are also fun to try.
Originally published at EthnicSeattle.com on 10/5/16.