I love food more than anything, more than anyone. It brought me comfort during my transition to Washington’s gray skies and strongly left-winged individuals. It gave me a newfound hobby in cooking and finding cheap eats around the Emerald City. Food excited me in my days of boredom and coddled me during bouts of sadness, so when I first attended the Bite of Seattle in 2015, I couldn’t control myself. Food vendors of all cultures gathered together in one spot under a bright summer sun with the occasional billowy cloud for cool shade. Who could ask for more?
Bite of Seattle 2016 was no different. For three days, the Seattle Center was packed with hundreds of locals and tourists, hungry and temporarily claustrophobic. Restaurateurs from all across Washington were invited to give the community a taste of the various foods Seattle has to offer. From July 15 – 17, Bite of Seattle aimed to showcase a variety of cultural and festival staples for people to experience.
There wasn’t a major difference between this year’s vendors and last year’s. Bite of Seattle hosted over 60 restaurants that served the festival staples such as cotton candy to more imaginative items such as Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburgers that would make anyone’s heart flutter with joy. There were dumplings, tuna poke, Hawaiian donuts, pad thai, noodle bowls, cheesecake dipped in chocolate and coated in peanuts, skewered alligator, the list can go on forever. In addition, I found a familiar sight from a Filipino vendor serving a lunch plate of BBQ, pancit and lumpia.
The food was cheap as well. Vendors served $3.75 “Just a Bite” options, which were samplings of some of their popular items. Bigger portions were also available for less than $10 at each vendor. Apparently, according to their website, that is the Bite of Seattle guarantee.
This year, I attended Bite of Seattle twice, though both times were at unfortunate hours. The first day, in hopes to beat the long lines and crowded pathways, I arrived exactly at 11 a.m., when the festival opened and vendors began setting up. I found myself 30 minutes until closing the second time around. However, that didn’t stop me from eating as much as I could.
I tried the chocolate-dipped cheesecake and threw it away after a couple bites. It would’ve been amazing if it were to quench the munchies. The tuna poke over rice was one of my favorites. It was fresh and cool, perfect for the summer heat. The malasada, Hawaiian donuts, were amazing as well. They reminded me of donut holes, but with softer and lightly sweetened bread. I had the pancit and lumpia from the Filipino vendors, which reminded me of similar foods back in Guam.
In addition, this time around, I tried the Alley, which served food from six different restaurants around Seattle for only $12. The Alley showcased different restaurants each day. On Saturday, I had the chance to taste samples from Din Tai Fung, Skillet Diner, Levitate Gastropub, Salty’s on Alki, Noi Thai and Sazerac. I ate root beer braised pork on a potato roll, vegetable and pork wonton, spicy papaya salad, bacon-wrapped date stuffed with goat cheese, seafood ceviche and New Orleans style fried boudin. Aside from the date, all the food was excellent, though I wish the servings were slightly larger. The proceeds from all three days were also donated to Food Lifeline, an organization that provides food to those in need.
Surprisingly, there were little to no vegan or vegetarian options. The only vendors that did serve those foods were Simply Soulful with their red beans and rice and Classic Catering Salmon Bake, which served a northwest berry slaw.
Like last year, I thoroughly enjoyed the Bite of Seattle. Although the food wasn’t earth shattering and the vendors were similar to last year’s, Bite of Seattle still held a beautiful event that invited the many cultures of Washington. At the end of the day, I sat in front of the Space Needle watching people dancing to Quichua Mashis, an Ecuadorian band comprised of Quichua Indians.
Bite of Seattle is definitely an event that everyone must attend once.