Lunch at Manao Thai, Capitol Hill

The snow is back! It’s not as apparent on blogs with a white background but it never fails to make everything look cheerier!

I found this place while surfing instagram and seeing a fellow Seattlelite’s pictures of the chicken rice. Chicken rice is one of the most iconic Singaporean dishes that’s extremely difficult to get just right, and I was pretty excited to find it in Seattle, in this tiny little Thai diner in Capitol Hill.

We started with the taro and shiitake spring rolls, which were really nice with their plum sauce.

The tom yum soup was alright but nothing really special. I still don’t get why so many Thai places here use white button mushrooms instead of straw mushrooms. This was quite a large portion and very nice on a cold day. As you can see from the photo they also have these very nice concrete slab table tops.

The chicken rice was sadly nothing like Singaporean chicken rice. So I thought maybe this is how Thai style chicken rice is done, but then we did that road trip to Portland and tried Nong’s Khao Man Gai and that is also nothing like this one. For starters Manao Thai slices their breast meat thin before boiling it, without even velveting the meat so it was kind of tough. Typical chicken rice chicken is poached to very precise timings so it’s not overcooked. It’s also only sliced after the entire chicken has been poached, not before cooking. The rice here is not cooked in chicken broth, rather it’s just fried rice. Very oily, but no chicken taste. Oh well. I’m sure the other dishes here will be better but we didn’t have room to try them all.

Down a couple of blocks is this wonderful chinese bakery that I like to get chinese-style cream cakes from. This is their coffee cake, which doesn’t mean the same thing as when americans say “coffee cake”. The cake is actually flavoured with coffee, unlike the cinnamon flavored travesty they call coffee cake in grocery stores here. Which I take to mean goes with coffee instead of being coffee flavoured, and doesn’t all cake go with coffee? Anyway this has the lightest coffee flavoured buttercream sandwiched by vanilla sponge.

Regent Bakery also does a very nicely marbled matcha mousse (not a cheesecake, which is great since I don’t eat cheesecake) but their mousse cakes tend to have a thin layer of gelatinous substance on top to prevent the mousse from drying out. Even their ganache is a little on the gelatinous side. But their sponge is so fluffy and light and so is their buttercream. They have an assortment of chinese buns like polo buns, pork floss buns, buns with cheese and ham and corn, etc. One of my favourite things here is the coffee flavoured short bread cookies with almond slivers. You HAVE to try them, they are so light and delicate and buttery!


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