Just a few minutes from Sea-Tac, Juba does Somali and Ethiopian dishes served in big portions with a complimentary bowl of broth, jug of orange juice, and ripe bananas. Driver Ahmed S. tell us, “Man, if you want great Somali food, this is the place. They use all the East African spices and the injera is the proper Somali style.”
Phnom Penh Noodle House, 660 King St
“Because it’s super good food,” driver Sokhom S. explains, recommending this Khmer cuisine mainstay. While the vast menu includes Thai and Vietnamese staples, many more dishes ace Cambodian’s food’s deceptively simple balance of savory, spicy, sweet, and sour. Expect a bit more garlic and a pinch of prahok (fish paste) for extra zing.
We're sad to report that Phnom Penh Noodle House has recently closed after 30 years. We wish the owners and family all the best.
Skillet Diner, 1400 East Union Street
Skillet Diner owns southern-oriented comfort food in Seattle with three locations. Fried chicken with a volcanic crust is piled on top of a waffle with sweet braised carrots and a pat (more like a quarter stick) of butter. Open from 7 in the morning until 10 or 11 at night.
Taqueria La Fondita, 9811 15th Ave SW
Tacoma’s taco savants brought Fondita truck number two to Seattle, where classic street plates fly out of the kitchen until 11pm nightly. Driver David S. notes, “I’m from Los Angeles and this is the closest I’ve had to legitimate East LA Mexican food in Seattle.”
Star Coffee Ethiopian, 16005 International Blvd
Owner Zinash Aegaw opened Star four years ago. “At the time, there weren’t any good Ethiopian places around here,” she says. Her restaurant is packed with hungry drivers stopping in for a veggie platter or a cup of top notch coffee. “With our food, the ingredients are always fresh. And we have the best chef in Seattle.”
Shawarma King, 4337 University Way NE
The King serves Mediterranean and Egyptian classics until 2am, shaving “supreme cutz” of the finest chicken from the big spinning stick. Overflowing platters of fluffy pilaf are another specialty. Driver Kennedy M. sums it up nicely: “They’re open late and I love their food.”
Illustration: Livi Gosling
I adore food. I’m always thinking about my next meal so this feature was both a joy and a challenge to work on. It constantly made me hungry! I’ve since become a little obsessed with Ethiopian coffee pots and am desperate to try Somali injera.