Food To Try In Seattle, Washington - Updated 2021

foods you must try in seattle wa
Swadeep Singh
Swadeep Singh

Seattle is situated just about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of the Canadian border on the west coast of North America. Seattle has been officially nicknamed ‘Emerald City’ due to its lush greenery and is also an established shipyard since the Gold-Rush era. It is also called the ‘Gateway to Alaska’. Talking about the beauty of the city, the downtown area and surroundings are absolutely breathtaking. A regular list of things-to-do in Seattle which every tourist should incorporate are visits to natural attractions in Mount Ranier National Park, Puget Sound region, the Olympic mountains, and walking the broadways of downtown. But there are also hundreds of under-rated things to do in Seattle. For instance, do you know that Starbucks was founded here and how the love for coffee has made this city a coffee town? Also, Seattle is known for its seafood varieties and is a junction of the ‘American - Canadian cuisine’. Our listing includes some of the authentic Seattle food to try when you’re here.

1. Pho

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kham Tran used under CC BY 3.0

This recipe came with Vietnamese immigrants to the Washington state after the end of the Vietnam War. Pho was food for the Asians originally, but the native population has adapted the recipe into their staple diet. It’s a hot soup that is prepared by cooking meaty bones (preferably beef bones) with a variety of vegetables and herbs, spices, and broth. It’s time-consuming but indeed a rewarding preparation. Poh is not just the food of Seattle today but it is the food of Washington.

2. Fresh-shucked oysters

European Flat Oyster
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Taishonambu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The world knows Seattle for its variety of seafood and oysters are one from the list. By shucking an oyster, what we mean is carefully removing a live oyster’s meat from its clam. Agreed that the oyster meat comes in bottles too but the freshness is always infinitely better. It is the authentic taste of Seattle.

3. The Seattle hot dog

Hot dog
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jeremy Keith used under CC BY 2.0

Seattle style hot dogs are known as the Seattle-dog. What differentiates these dogs from the regular ones is the use of cream cheese, grilled sausages and also grilled onions. Seattle uses a lot of mustard instead of ketchup. These food trucks and carts selling hot dogs are all over the city, so you won’t miss them. Have a Seattle styled hot dog and you’ll notice the difference.

4. Grilled cheese

Grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arnold Gatilao used under CC BY 2.0

If we have to list the fast food culture in Seattle from the local’s perspective, and most of them would rank grilled cheese on the very top. Now, a grilled cheese sandwich is not something that needs a mention, but it’s the place that makes eating those sandwiches an experience. Seattle has some very fine restaurants that melt a blend of not one, not two but three or more cheddar cheese varieties to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

5. Fran’s chocolates

Birthday Gift:  Truffles From Fran's Chocolates III
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joe Wolf used under CC BY-ND 2.0

The world knows about Seattle’s love for coffee. But in recent decades, Seattle has developed another trend called ‘Chocolate Fever’. Seattle has a number of chocolate shops and holds a chocolate festival every year for the last 10 years. Locals call it the chocolate mecca of the northwest. Fran’s is a chocolate boutique and a three-decade-old brand with a unique choco collection. But Fran’s got a lot of recognition when it was stated that it was the favorite dessert store of the former President Obama. Make sure to stop by Fran’s Chocolates.

6. Truffles and cupcakes

Like the chocolate lovers, locals also have a taste for truffles and cupcakes. Cupcake Royale is a bakery which started about 15 years ago. Seattle was the first place outside New York for Cupcake Royale. The citizens of Seattle loved this cupcake wonderland so much that there are five Cupcake Royales in the downtown area today. The store will provide some 20 cupcake varieties, along with ice creams, espresso, and seasonal delights.

7. Tokyo Classic

Remember this, Katsu Burger is restaurant and Tokyo Classic is a burger! This burger is an original preparation, you will find pork-cutlet between the buns, along with salads, Japanese mayonnaise, tomatoes, onion, and their secret ‘Tonkatsu Sauce’. All of that is cautiously deep-fried only until the crust gets a crunch, but the juices within the cutlet remain sealed in. You will never get this classic Japanese burger outside Seattle, hence it is our sincere recommendation that you should try this.

8. Hom Bow

B.B.Q. Pork Hombow
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kim used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Seattle has a diverse immigrant population, there are Asians living with the Americans. Thus the result is a new version of Chinese Bow, known as the Hom Bow. The Chinese prepare their Bun Bow inside steamers, but here in Seattle, they are toasting the curry stuffed buns. The fillings could range from anything like ground beef to pork or even chicken.

9. Geoduck

Geoduck is not a duck from anywhere, these are just oversized mollusks. Geoducks live about a meter deep in sand beaches, and digging them is a rewarding experience. Please note that Geoduck is commonly eaten in Washington and along the West Canadian coast, but it is rarely served outside, maybe because of the oddness of its shape. Geoduck has a unique taste and as a tourist, you should never miss an opportunity to eat this saltwater mollusk, because we cannot guarantee if you would ever see this preparation outside of Seattle.

10. Teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user user "... used under CC BY 2.0

Seattle’s love for Teriyaki happened some decades ago, and there are over 80 Teriyaki joints in the downtown area today. Traditionally, Teriyaki is a Japanese styled glazed, boiled-griller meat served with a sauce. Fishes are also cooked with the Japanese method. But Seattle’s version is very different. Along with the seafood, different meats are also included. Since this city has lots of immigrants, Koreans experimented with the Teriyaki recipe in the ’80s and made a completely new sauce with Korean flavors, making it a Seattle signature Teriyaki. Now, teriyaki in Seattle is what pizza is to New York. People just cannot get over this thing.

Wait, there's more

We cannot include the whole Seattle food culture in a short list. In fact, we have barely scratched the surface. There are numerous recipes and dissimilarities in every preparation. Therefore, for a passionate foodie - tourist, we suggest checking restaurants in the waterfront region where they can try made-to-order cuisines. They must also visit the Pike Place Farmer’s Market, where vendors gather 365 days a year with freshly caught seafood from the Pacific. Even if you’re not a foodie, visiting the Pike Place Farmer Market is worthwhile, as this market opened more than a century ago, and it’s a heritage landmark of Seattle.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Nicknamed Bobby, Swadeep Singh is a businessman since 2013, but he has forever been a writer. Traveling places never makes him exhausted, that is why he never say no to any travel plan. If he’s not...Read more

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