It’s all about the journey, not the destination – particularly when you’re talking about the never-ending search for the best undiscovered restaurants.
Tucked into a shopping center between Harbor Freight and 99 Ranch Market at 22315 Highway 99 is Qin. If you love noodles, wontons, potstickers and buns, you should make a note of it.
People don’t beat a path to Qin for their opulent decor. But the place is sparkling clean, well lit, offers very reasonable prices, and the service is as prompt as you could possibly expect for a small, mom-and-pop operation.
Some of my little tribe and I gathered there last Saturday based on good intel I gathered from one of my customers. I had mentioned in passing that I loved biang biang noodles and his immediate reply was – “oh, you’ve got to try Qin!”
Biang biang (pronounced roughly bi — ong bi — ong) are the long, fat noodles that have been described by some food commentators as “belt like.“ They tend to provide a greater challenge to your chopsticks, but when prepared correctly, they are fantastic.
Qin’s hand-made, fresh biang biang have that great “bite“ – chewy, but not too chewy and certainly not mushy.
Tea, and a delicious cold pickled broccoli appetizer started us off. After studying the menu we ordered a half a dozen items to get a sense of the place. There can be a little confusion created by the language barrier, (the only words I know in Mandarin are “thank you”) but pointing and gesturing worked out just fine for us.
Our server worked tirelessly, swooping in and busing tables as soon as they became empty. He was working five or six tables that evening and seemed to be handling them without difficulty.
Probably the most notable of the items we sampled were the pork buns. The dough was sweet and cooked perfectly, the pork filling was subtle, but complimented the doughy exterior beautifully. Also on the hit parade for us that evening was the stewed pork biang biang, with big succulent chunks of pork and tender bites of bok choy on a bed of the aforementioned amazing biang biang. We gave the pork zha jiang (literally “fried sauce) a whirl – it turned out to be an ample scoop of delicious fried ground pork and long thin slices of bok choy atop more biang biang noodles.
Dumplings are offered in soup or alone and come in half dozen increments. We tried the lamb and pork, and both were delicious. Our wonton lamb soup had a vinegar rich broth, which I’m told is not uncommon in the cuisine of Northwest China. I thought the broth was wonderful, but was alone at my table in that assessment. The pan-fried dumplings were also quite good – but then, I love pan fried dumplings of almost any description. We left satisfied and impressed. Since Tapioca Express was just a couple of doors down in the same shopping center, we swung by for a liquid dessert. They do a lot more than just sweet bubble teas. I was surprised to see a full menu of snacks and an enormous variety of beverage options as well.
Qin’s a keeper, for sure. My sole regret is not having tried their plum juice. But, there’s always next time, I guess!
More at www.qinedmonds.com.
85° Celsius opening soon near Ranch 99 Market
I recently wrote about their Lynnwood operation and now it looks like it won’t be long before 85° Celsius will be opening the doors in Edmonds on Highway 99 at 22611 76th Ave. W., in the old Payless Shoes building, adjacent to Ranch 99 Market.
The popular bakery and coffee house has been described as Taiwan’s version of Starbucks. Looks like they’re hiring, too.
The furthest thing from a finicky eater, James Spangler insisted on trying everything on the table from the earliest age. At 13, he prepared Baked Alaska for an entire classroom and has had an insatiable appetite for good food ever since. On his days off, he’s rather be in the kitchen cooking for the people he loves than doing just about anything. If you catch him reading a book at his bookstore on 4th Avenue in Edmonds, there’s a good chance it’ll have something to do with food.