600 Fifth Avenue South

(206) 624 6248

After visiting the Chinatowns in San Francisco, Vancouver (BC) and New York, Seattle's "International District" always seemed a bit lackluster. There were always a few stores selling sweet pastry buns, roast meats and the like, but the neighborhood lacked energy and possibility. Now, there is a new anchor store - Uwajimaya - a veritable marketing complex, and a reason to visit the area all by itself.

Uwajimaya is not new. The store, in smaller incarnations, has been around since 1928, but the latest version is a fantasy Asian supermarket with fresh fish, geoduck clams, durians in their mesh bags, exotic cuts of pork, bean pastes and curries, an aisle of soy sauce, and just about any packaged good one might imagine.

The merchandise is pan-Asian and pan-Pacific. This includes China, with the usual bean curds, dried squid, black beans, and fresh coriander. It also includes Japan, with sashimi and sushi fixings, wasabi powders and pastes. Are you cooking Thai food, or Vietnamese, or Philipine? This place has what you need.They even have Hawaiian goodies, like lau-lau, ti leaves, and taro root and greens.

You would have to go to a whole series of stores to make the same purchases in New York or San Francisco, but here, it is all in one big supermarket setting complete with wide aisles, laser scanners at the check out, and plenty of free parking. There is even a bank branch with ATMs and a bookstore. Even if you aren't doing any Asian (or Polynesian) cooking, drop by and check this place out.

Review: 24 Jan 2001

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