Restaurant Review

I lived in Seattle for about 10 years and have quite a few restaurant I really like there.  A frequent dining spot was Judy Fu’s Snappy Dragon ( - it is in the Maple Leaf neighborhood Northeast of Downtown Seattle - 8917 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115).  It isn’t the most authentic Chinese food you can get in Seattle (the international district has some really fun options), but it has some stellar dishes that make it worth the stop.  First off, they use lots of fresh, local ingredients.  Everything is made from scratch.  They are probably most famous for their Jiao-zi (boiled dumplings) and their Chow Mein with soft, house-made noodles, rolled and cut to order.  The Jiao-zi are really freaking amazing.  They even have a Jiao-zi bar in the corner of the restaurant where you can sit and watch them make them.  And that was a good thing, because when I stumble on something I love in a restaurant, I kind of obsess over it until I can figure out how to make it myself.  So, I logged a few meals at the dumpling bar watching their technique, and then hit the library (for you young’uns, that is how you googled before the world wide web) to find some recipes.  After some puttering, I finally nailed it, and I make them a few times a year (and always on New Year’s Eve, where you sit with friends and drink and talk and make them in the last few hours of the old year and then eat them in the first hours of the New Year – a lovely tradition I’ve flatly stolen from the Chinese).  Another dish I adore from there is the “Dry Sauteed String Beans” (I can make that dish too).  As I mentioned, the fresh noodle chow mein is well known, and a great dish.  Fresh noodles are the bomb, and they do them wonderfully.  I’m also a fan of their Green Onion Pancakes and their BBQ pork.  I wouldn’t make a trip up to Seattle just for a stop at the Snappy Dragon, but I do try to work it in to a visit at least once a year.  Judy, the owner, and her son, David are usually around.  At some point Judy Fu put together a line of sauces which you can find in finer stores across the region (mostly in King County, but you can get the sauces at Metropolitan Market in Tacoma, I think).  And a jar of sauce may be a nice thing, but what makes the snappy dragon great is their dedication to fresh ingredients – and for that, you have to make a pilgrimage to the Snappy Dragon itself.     

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