The Vibe: Canton Wonton House emanates a casual, no-frills vibe with simple tabletops and a few pieces of Chinese artwork on the walls. A long window looks in on the kitchen, so customers can see the chefs at work.
Congee: a thick rice porridge prepared with meat, fish, veggies, and other add-ins.
Bok choy: this vegetable looks like a thick stalk of celery with a white stem and large, green leaves; it's also known as chinese white cabbage.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Take a stroll through the not-too-distant past at Pink Gorilla (601 S King Street), which specializes in old video games.
After: Get all the essentials for a home-brewed cup of post-meal tea at New Century Tea Gallery (416 Maynard Avenue S).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: King Noodle (615 S King Street), where you can build your own Chinese soup.
The broad, straightforward name of Lee's Asian Restaurant heralds a menu that visits just about every corner of its namesake continent. Prawns are cooked in an Indonesian-style marinade, eggrolls and sea scallops get Vietnamese treatment, udon noodles hail from Japan, and other meat and veggie entrees are dosed with the fire of classic Thai or Szechuan cuisine. The wide reach seems to be astoundingly successful. Among other satiated reviewers, the Seattle Times praised the "sophisticated and worldly" menu, whose text can be unscrambled into a helpful travel guide; they just about promise that Lee's will leave guests "smiling and munching all the way to the bottom of the enormous platters." Beyond the unassuming awning, red paper lanterns and teacup lights cast a honeyed glow on a large wood bar backed by wine racks. Warm sake offers an appropriately Asian alternative.
Korean and Chinese dishes mingle on Red Lantern’s eclectic menu. Under the glow of those namesake red lanterns, guests can order Chinese classics such as General Tso’s chicken and sichuan peppercorn shrimp, or try something new with traditional––and not often seen––Korean dishes such as kkanpunggi (fried chicken with red chilies), or fermented black miso noodles, otherwise known as ja-jang. When it comes to dessert, though, chefs often combine eastern flavors with contemporary western techniques, creating sweets like a crème brulee flavored with black tea, or a vanilla sponge cake delivered by a runaway stagecoach.
Pastel hues fill the dining room in the form of pink-cushioned chairs and mint-green banquettes that match the partitions lined with potted flowers and plants. The menu collects a Pan-Asian spread of recipes, including chow fun and chow mein noodles loaded with shrimp and sparerib meat, and a Vietnamese-style sole fillet. Guests can also sample LA Cafe's unique protein delicacies, such as ox tongue, roasted pigeon, and wild tofu caught grazing outside a natural food store.
When crafting his signature maritime dishes at KC's Seafood Restaurant, chef and owner KC Lam draws from years of experience as the chef at Chinatown-staple Sea Garden. But mostly, he enjoys the creative control he now wields over his culinary creations, a fact evidenced in each dish’s presentation. An appetizer sampler, for example, features sashimi arranged in concentric circles, encouraging groups of diners to attack the dish from all sides and nosh their way toward the center. Oysters are equally impressive, served on the half shell with sides of soy sauce and wasabi, while entrees win taste buds over with flavorful creations like salt and pepper pork chops, honey walnut shrimp, and a whole fried fish served with a zesty soy sauce.