Seattle is home to a lot of restaurants, and among them are hidden gems some Seattleites just aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's many food luminaries to share with us their under the radar recommendations for a weekly feature dubbed Dining Confidential.
Mutsuko Soma has made a name for herself running the successful soba restaurant Miyabi 45th. She's also begun a quest to make Seattle's best ramen with her weekly Onibaba Ramen pop-up, held at Miyabi 45th every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. On her days off, Soma heads to Rocking Wok, a Taiwanese restaurant in Wallingford, for a fix of Lion's Head meatballs and Xiao Long Baos. But not before she's had a negroni and a cigar, natch.
Our restaurant is closed on Sunday so I love spending a lazy Sunday waking up to a cigar and negroni for breakfast and swinging by Rocking Wok for a late lunch. My husband Ken and I love their Lion's Head meatballs. In Chinese, they call this dish lion's head because of the large size of these meatballs, and the braised cabbage in the dish that resembles a lion's mane. I like the idea behind the dish. The name is memorable and the flavors are really balanced. It's different from western-style meatballs in that it's more bouncy and tender. The cabbage adds good balance to the broth and lightness to the dish and it also soaks up all the juices that come from the braised meatballs. This is one of my husband's favorite dishes.
I really enjoy their Xiao Long Bao, which I think is better than the ones at Din Tai Fung and for half the price! It's probably taboo to say that in Seattle, but in Asia, the Xiao Long Bao is very popular and there are many vendors that sell it. Each one are based on the same concept and recipe, but differ slightly in the texture of the skin, the flavor of the broth and filling. It's good to have more than one choice.
Rocking Wok is kind of like our secret spot. It's close to Miyabi 45th and to where we live. As good as it is, it's kind of in a hidden residential area, so the people who go there really know and really appreciate the food.
Rocking Wok, 4301 Interlake Ave N, Wallingford, Facebook, (206) 545-4878, Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.