HardWok Cafe makes a Taiwanese street-food feast easy
The HardWok Cafe near the Chinatown-International District has a wide-ranging menu of dishes with a Taiwanese street food theme.
Seattle Times staff reporter
1207 S. Jackson St., Suite 111B, Seattle
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Etc: Credit cards accepted; no obstacles to access; parking in small mall lot and ample spaces on street; no alcohol served.
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Tucked away in the corner of a small strip mall just east of the Chinatown International District is a new kid on the foodie block.
The HardWok Cafe has a catchy name, dishes with a Taiwanese street-food theme, and is a popular gathering spot for the Gen Y group.
The cafe opened just six months ago, but there is a constant stream of customers, especially during the weekend lunch- and dinnertime hours.
In addition to entrees, there is an assortment of side dishes with some that are equally as filling and inexpensive. The dessert and beverage items are fairly extensive, which includes shaved ice with a variety of fresh seasonal fruit toppings, tofu pudding, and milk tea and slush drinks.
The menu: Includes a wide range of offerings such as a Taiwanese pork burger ($3.25), fried pork chop ($5.50), popcorn chicken ($4.95), crispy onion pancakes ($2.95) and fried tempura ($4.25) that is more fish cake than the typical Japanese-style breaded shrimp. A heartier meal includes soup noodles and rice dishes.
What to write home about: An excellent waitstaff got food to us quickly despite a dinner rush. Our favorites were Tainan specialty soup noodle with minced pork, vegetables, hard boiled egg and shrimp ($5.75); a mildly spicy beef brisket noodle soup with pickled cabbage, thick sliced carrots and leafy greens ($7.75); spiced meat sauce over rice with hard boiled egg and pickled daikon ($3.75); and eight-piece steamed mini bun dumplings ($6.25).
The setting: The constant whirring of the blender making slush drinks and steam piping from the espresso machine give way to modern décor surrounded by tall glass windows, which provides an open-air feeling despite the tightly packed seating and tables.
Summing up: Four of us had the spiced meat sauce over rice ($3.75), dry noodle with meat sauce ($4.50), Tainan specialty soup noodle ($5.75), fried tempura ($4.25), Taiwanese pork burger ($3.25), steam mini bun ($6.25), mango slush with boba ($3.75) and coconut slush ($3.50), for $38.33 with tax, plus tip.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or email@example.com