“It’s better in Bellevue” is a long-time refrain about Asian food in the Seattle area, especially when it comes to Chinese cuisines. In particular, there’s a section of the Eastside where Bellevue meets Redmond — part of the neighborhood now called Bel-Red, which is awaiting an East Link light rail station in 2023 — with an abundance of high-quality Asian restaurants. From biang-biang noodles to pungent hot pots, here are the best options within a roughly one-mile radius of 148th Ave. NE and NE 24th St.Read More
The 14 Best Asian Restaurants Where Bellevue Meets Redmond
The best Eastside options in the Bel-Red area, from biang-biang noodles to pungent hot pot
District One Saigon
A stone’s throw from Microsoft’s Redmond campus, this upscale Vietnamese restaurant is run by the daughter of the owner of beloved Huong Binh. The food here is also finely crafted, with standout dishes including cha ca la vong (turmeric fish with dill and a great shrimp paste-based sauce), banh khot (turmeric mini-pancakes), mieng tom (glass noodle, shrimp, and pork belly claypot), and coconut shrimp ceviche.
Malay Satay Hut
Despite being a far cry from its heyday in the Chinatown-International District, when “grandma” made roti at the front window, but in its Redmond home Malay Satay still serves up satisfying food that isn’t commonly found around Seattle yet touches nostalgic points. Recommended dishes include the aforementioned roti canai, Malaysian laksa, mango chicken, Malaysian pork chops, and Belachan string beans.
Regent Bakery and Cafe
Regent serves Hong Kong-style savory dishes, but it’s the baked goods that make this Redmond place a real gem. As with many Asian desserts, the cookies, pastries, and cakes tend to be less sweet and relatively light compared to their counterparts from Europe and the U.S. The green tea mousse cake is colorful and dazzling, and thanks to the matcha, diners might even make the argument that it’s healthy.
This Redmond restaurant is a great place to go with a group. For starters, diners should get an order or two of steamed or fried dumplings. For more carbs, there are the chewy bean thread noodles with clinging pieces of pork, which give the dish its “ants on the tree” name. Finally, all-you-can-eat Sichuan-style hot pots are a real indulgence, featuring lamb or a combination of beef and pork.
Bai Tong Restaurant
This local chain may have slipped downhill a bit since its heyday as a hangout for the Thai Airways flight crews that came through Sea-Tac Airport in the ‘90s, but it was atop a high hill; that is to say, the quality remains good, all things considered. The branch in Redmond saves aficionados the travel to Tukwila for noteworthy dishes like gai hor bai toey (pandan-wrapped chicken) and hor mok (salmon and red curry steamed in a banana leaf).
Dough Zone Dumpling House
This local chain is such a darling of the area that it now has four locations on the Eastside and a fifth, with more modern styling, in Seattle. This is the place for small portions of noodles, dumplings, buns, and more, all at reasonable prices with efficient service. The soup dumplings give legendary Din Tai Fung’s a run for their money, and, as an added bonus, Dough Zone serves a fluffy fried version: the wonderful sheng jian bao, typically called Q-bao here.
This is the restaurant that first introduced the area to wondrous slap of biang-biang noodles being pulled and cut fresh. The hot oil-seared version’s simplicity shows off the springiness of the wide noodles best. Diners who descend in a group can get the same impressive noodles layered at the bottom of chicken on a big plate, otherwise known as dapanji.
Hunan items are the highlights at this little garden-less restaurant in Bellevue. Diners feeling adventurous should get the stir-fried pork stomach with dried bamboo, with smoky notes shining through. Less daring eaters can try pickled long beans with fried noodles. This place can be especially busy on weekends, even if it doesn’t look it. With only one cook, food comes to just one table at a time; people at other tables will sometimes go out shopping until it’s their turn to eat.
This Bellevue home of hand-pulled Lanzhou noodles with beef has a great formula: There are eight types of noodles, from angel hair to diamond-shaped to extra wide, served in a single broth, available as is (“original”) or with pickled cabbage. Diners can also add chile oil to spice up the comforting soup, showcasing rounds of daikon and shavings of meat. The beef patty, super-crispy, is a popular starter.
I See Food
This Cajun-fusion restaurant recently relocated from the University District to Bellevue. The cute name might cause pause, but diners can expect quality products that include seafood from Taylor Shellfish and plump crawfish flown in twice-weekly from Louisiana. The seafood boil with Sichuan ma la sauce is a must-order. Crawfish fried rice is a fine way to end the meal, and there are some interesting drinks, too, including butterfly pea pineapple soda.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Beef lovers should make a beeline for this import from Japan, which puts a Japanese spin on the more common Korean barbecue places in the area. Meats are high-quality, and the menu offers all kinds of cuts of cow. The best bargain is one of the happy hour specials, which offer a good sampling of the menu. Dessert fans will of course want to save room for the limited edition Lady M green tea mille crepe.
This homey Hong Kong-style Cantonese restaurant has long been a Bellevue fan favorite for nostalgic, comforting fare like congee, curry beef brisket, chow fun, and cream of corn soup. Anything featuring salt and pepper, such as the pork chops and the pan-fried squid, is worth a try as well.
Sizzling Pot King
Like Little Garden, this chain’s Bellevue and Seattle expansions represent the hottest new entry to the area’s Chinese restaurant scene: spicy Hunan cuisine. This casual restaurant attracts crowds for its smoked meats, magic tofu, mortar and pestle-pounded eggplant with green peppers and century egg, and customizable dry pots. Smoky plum juice offers a nice counter to the sour and salty spiciness of the food.
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Sichuan is the regional Chinese cuisine represented best in Seattle, and Bellevue’s Frying Fish is currently the best of the bunch. The place is constantly packed with people eating chile-laden dishes like the chef’s specialty “FeiTang” platters with crab, carp head, frog, and even fish fresh from the on-site tanks. Assorted cold appetizers along with spicy and sour dumplings are a great way to start the meal.