Add flavor to a gray day in the Northwest with the colors and cuisine of Asia

One of the richest men in America might work down the block, butSeattle’s International District is still a far cry fromgentrified.

In the shadow of Paul Allen’s steel-and-glass Vulcanheadquarters, the “ID” continues to buzz along – low-tech andfiery, oblivious to any Windows save those that look out onJackson, Main, or King Streets. Multiple waves of immigrants havemade this a pan-Asian neighborhood, but it’s especially festivehere in January, when the district is adorned in dragons for theChinese New Year, which falls on February 7. Here’s to the Year ofthe Rat.

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The International District is south of downtown, roughly between Qwest Field and I-5 along S. Jackson St. Head south from downtown on 2nd Ave., then turn left on S. Jackson.


Tamarind Tree
An upscale Vietnamese restaurant housed in a strip mall – and the kind of place foodies prefer to keep to themselves. The wait for a table is long enough, but the crunchy Tamarind Tree rolls alone are worth it. INFO: $; 1036S. Jackson St., Ste. A; 206/860-1404.

Buttery pink amberjack nigiri or steamed salmon in a creamy miso sauce. Our only reservation about this place is that it doesn’t take them. INFO: $; closed Mon; 304 6th Ave. S.; 206/622-2631.

Seven Stars Pepper
Probe your Chinese pals for tips on the best food in theInternational District, and this spot always makes the list. INFO: $; 1207S. Jackson St., Ste. 211; 206/568-6446.


A mega-market with fresh sushi-grade tuna, orchids, and Asian fare. INFO: 600 5th Ave. S.; 206/624-6248.

International Model Toys
Collectors come from all around western Washington in search of anime. Some of which, parents beware, is racier than Pokémon. INFO: 601 S. King St., 206/682-8534.

Kobo at Hi go
Japanese and Northwest fine crafts coexist with 1940s flotsam. INFO: Closed Sun; 604 S. Jackson St.; 206/381-3000.


At Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House (rooms from $75; 607 S.Main St.; 206/515-4000), rest your feet, soak up Japanese AmericanWWII history, and sip oolong infusions. Upstairs, the shared-bath hotel rooms appeal to history buffs on a budget.


The Wing Luke Asian Museum is arguably the International District’s most important cultural draw. In May 2008, after a $23 million restoration, the museum will reopen in its new home, the historic East Kong Yick Building (719 S. King St.; 206/623-5124).

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