Facing East Taiwanese dishes up fantastic fare
Facing East Taiwanese is a Bellevue restaurant that knocks out some fantastic fare, hitting the right notes for freshness, authentic flavor and a Taiwanese obsession — chewy textures.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Facing East TaiwaneseTaiwanese
1075 Bellevue Way N.E., #B-2, Bellevue; 425-688-2986
Hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays; dinner 5-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and Sundays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; closed Mondays.
Etc: MasterCard and Visa accepted; parking lot; narrow entryway could be an obstacle to access; no alcohol.
The instructions on the door at Facing East Taiwanese restaurant is really a warning: take a number and wait your turn.
Hordes of people already know what I just learned: Facing East knocks out some fantastic Taiwanese fare. The small Bellevue restaurant offers a taste of the real deal, hitting the right notes for freshness, authentic flavor and a Taiwanese obsession — chewy textures.
After three years in a strip mall north of Bellevue Square, owner Yu-ling Wong is trying to expand. She hopes to have more space by spring.
Until then, you will wait, stare down the diners devouring Taiwanese favorites and wonder if you can bribe the restaurant to call your name next.
The menu: Taiwanese cuisine is notorious for its stinky tofu, but you won't smell it here. Try other specialties such as sweet-potato-flour oyster pancake ($6.95), sticky rice sausage ($4.95) and steaming bowls of beef noodle soup ($8.99). Entrees include soy-flavored chicken with fresh basil ($10.95), pickled-radish fried rice ($7.75) and stir-fried clams ($10.95). Items listed in Chinese are for more adventurous eaters: Ask your server about pig's feet and intestines.
Shaved ice is offered for dessert, along with sweet peanut soup ($3.50) and grass jelly with sweet beans ($4.50, seasonal).
What to write home about: The restaurant made a delectable version of a personal Taiwanese favorite — spiced pork stew ($2.95 small, $4.25 large), with generously fatty bits of stewed pork served over rice, though I wanted more stew with my rice. The sweet-potato-flour dumplings ($3.25), stuffed with pork and smothered in a sweet and savory sauce, boasted a mochilike texture. Tender lamb was mixed with bright-green water spinach ($10.95) and seasoned with the Taiwanese version of barbecue sauce.
The setting: The clean, bright restaurant combines dark-wood furniture with a warm orange glow. It also is narrow and cramped, with people sitting elbow to elbow on benches at the four tops.
Summing up: Two of us ate generously for $30 before tip, with two appetizers and two entrees. You'll have trouble ordering less.
Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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