By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Last week, eight hungry souls bundled up in thick jackets, with Seahawks hats and scarves, were hovering around the Uwajimaya Food Court in the International District. I recognized one of them as my former mentee.
“Hi, Joseph, going to the game?” I asked. “It’s going to be cold at the stadium.”
“Not with these,” he said, pointing to the donburi boxes he ordered from Uwajimaya’s deli. The stadium is so cold that even bringing blankets might not be enough.
But Joseph and his friends were smart to have those boxes of food. First, they taste much better than hot dogs or burgers inside the stadium. Also, prices are high, and lines are often long. Most people don’t know that Uwajimaya was the first Asian grocery store to build a large Asian food court 17 years ago in the Pacific Northwest.
From $6 to $10.45, you can combine sukiyaki beef with just eggs or one other item. I can’t finish one up myself. So these young people could cheer and shout during the game, while getting a bite now and then to refuel their energy.
For hungry folks, Uwajimaya’s Food Court is a paradise for a variety of Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Hawaiian, and Vietnamese food. You and your family and friends can look at the deli counter filled with over 15 yummy items cooked with veggies and meat, before you decide what appeals to you.
Across from the Uwajimaya deli is Shilla’s (Korean food), Saigon Bistro (Vietnamese), Aloha Plates (Hawaiian), Noodle Zen, Thai Place, and Tako Kyuuban (modern Japanese food). Don’t miss Beard Papa’s cream puffs and Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt.
I have eaten at most of the restaurants at the food court, and they cook fast. I will never forget how hot and spicy the Portugese sausage was at Aloha Plates. While Shilla’s is good, it takes a little longer to serve.
Uwajimaya’s Food Court is filled with customers of all races and backgrounds. From singles to families, friends to workers in the area, the food court has something for everybody. One thing these diners have in common is that they enjoy their food. I give credit to the food workers for serving their customers efficiently during busy hours, and keeping the place clean. They often carry a smile on their faces, even though it can be stressful.
Anything you buy from Uwajimaya’s stores, you can eat at the food court. It’s convenient.
You might not be aware that you can order your party food at the Uwajimaya deli. I ordered sushi plates a few times, barbecue pork, and duck. Their sushi platters start at $26 — the most expensive is the Hakata platter at $69. The platters are beautifully arranged. It’s usually eaten up fast when I serve it at parties.
Its department has many Japanese and Chinese-speaking staff, and you can order in your native Asian language.
Uwajimaya only closes on Dec. 25 and will open on Jan. 1.
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.