Where arts and diversity meet
For this upcoming issue of the Bellevue Scene magazine, we’re going to be featuring the new Korean restaraunt, Oma Bap at 120 Bellevue Way N.E. Apparently, Korean cuisine is the next big thing. What do you think? Have you tried it out yet? Our intern tells me the BibimBap (bee-beem-bop) is delish. It comes with rice, veggies, egg, your choice of protein and spicy Korean sauce.
It does not surprise me that Korean food is an up-and-coming trendy dining option, especially here on the Eastside.
Last winter, after interviewing various respected food critics in Greater Seattle, it came to my attention that our Eastside Asian cuisine is pretty frikin’ incredible – specifically, then I was writing about Chinese and Taiwanese eats. Jay Friedman from Gastrolust, Denise Sakaki of Wasabi Prime and Lorna Yee, blogger, author and chef who grew up eating the best Chinese food outside of China proper (Vancouver B.C., duh) said glowing words like this about our offerings:
“In terms of authenticity and quality, I think a lot of us are jealous that the good restaurants are on the Eastside. It definitely gives us reason to go [across the water].”
“The flavors are a little better on the Eastside. The Chinese restaurants I’ve eaten at in [Seattle's International District] often have food that’s lukewarm and super greasy.”
Let me get one thing straight: I am not a food critic. I am but a lowly reporter. So whenever I have to write a serious story about food, I either hit up my girl from the Issaquah Reporter with an amateur, yet golden palate, Celeste Gracey, or I call in people who know what they’re talking about. After the food critics weighed in, I wrote an article titled, “Glorious Chinese food, just another reason why Seattle envies the Eastside.”
Naturally, the headline alone caused quite a stir.
If you look at some of the seething comments on the Seattle P.I.’s website (we share content with them) people seemed to think I was an uncultured country bumpkin who’d never been to Seattle’ International District or tasted real Asian fare.
That was pretty funny. Little did they know I was raised on gohan (rice) and nori (seaweed), and my bachan made the best, sweet tofu inari in the world.
In my year or so of working for Reporter newspapers, I’ve found that our Eastside community is a colorful one. I’m talking about diversity.
I think one of the first stories I wrote as an employee was about Diwali, a festival of lights celebration in Sammamish, and the balancing act of the community raising their children to be both Indian and American.
From there, many of my stories have focused on multiculturalism – from a Palestinian fashion designer commissioned by Queen Rania of Jordan, to a Miss Hispanic Seafair Princess and the booming Spanish-speaking population, to stories of Din Tai Fung and our sought-after Chinese food on the Eastside, to the recent Bellevue Scene story about Japanese American taiko drummers.
It’s no secret that the Eastside is a hub for diversity, with booming techie industries that pull in well-educated employees of Eastern European, Asian and Hispanic descent to name a few. In the past decade, Bellevue saw a 12 percent increase in people of color. Roughly 30 percent of Bellevueites are foreign-born.
Diverse|City is my attempt to fairly and accurately cover race, diversity, cultures and traditions here on the Eastside and in the Pacific Northwest. Everyone should get a chance to see themselves and their communities in mainstream media. Help me increase coverage of minorities and diverse communities by dropping me a line at email@example.com.
As a hapa girl (that means mixed race) with a multicultural family life that includes everyone from Christians to Zen Buddhists to proud Irish and Japanese Americans, I’m pretty excited. So, as my jichan (grandpa) would say in true multicultural fashion, konnichiwa, y’all.
Check back here each week to stay fresh on the diversity beat.