LYNNWOOD — On the worst days, it feels impossible to eat. Something terrible happens and suddenly food is as palatable as a tire.
It is difficult to write about food on the worst days, even when that terrible thing is happening to someone else. But I can’t not acknowledge the pain that so many families in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa are experiencing right now, and the future loved ones who will likely, statistically, lose someone to a mass shooting.
In this heaviness, I struggle to write about seemingly trivial things, about food, the six places you must try. It feels hollow.
But we must eat, even on the worst days.
If you are struggling today, I hope you nourish your body and mind in some way. It doesn’t have to be monumental. Go for a walk, stretch, hug yourself, call a loved one, voice your pain, breathe, cook — or order your favorite takeout.
With that, I want to show southern Snohomish County some love. Dare I say Lynnwood and Edmonds may have the best food per capita here, and a beautiful representation of countries, regions and cultures.
I’ve received many, many recommendations on where to eat down south — places that are worth the drive for north county folks. Most of these are not sit down restaurants, though some have seating. Below, you’ll find where to go for a quick filling bite, a break from work, a meal worthy of making your car smell like food for a week, a quiet place to eat without being bothered.
Yes, there are only six places here, so think of this as a Part 1. We have south county recommendations all day, so expect to see a Part 2 soon, as well as an upcoming guide on sit-down restaurants.
If you’ve read this far without skipping to the list, thank you for listening to my corner of the world for a moment.
Now hop on I-5 or Highway 99, and nosh.
LASA Sandwiches & Pearls
18009 Hwy 99 C, Lynnwood
Online ordering is available.
Pricing: Sandwiches cost $10 to $14, specialty drinks are in the $6 to $8 range
The gist: A Filipino sandwich shop with dessert drinks that will unleash your inner child. I ordered the lumpia sub, a sort of deconstructed Filipino egg roll, but with beef meatballs served on a French roll. The meatballs were salty, dense and doused in sweet chili sauce. The sandwich reminded me of a banh mi, though the unripe papaya pickle (atchara) was slightly more sour. I especially loved the shards of crispy, slightly sweet egg roll wrap. If you love Filipino adobo — a dish in which meat is marinated in soy sauce, bay leaf, garlic, vinegar, brown sugar and peppercorns — try the pressed adobo (shredded pork) and adobo fried chicken.
Don’t forget dessert. Halo halo is Tagalog for “mix-mix”, and its many components require you to do just that. The shaved ice dessert is layered with pandan rubies, jellies, halaya (purple yam jam), macapuno (coconut strings), jackfruit, then topped with coconut whip, ube ice cream and my personal favorite, leche flan. It is creamy, sweet, milky, custardy, fruity and so fun (albeit a bit messy) to mix up. It’s hard to finish in one sitting, and even harder to stop eating. Think of this as a great hot summer day treat that actually gets better as the ice melts.
Banh Mi Bites
23601 56th Ave. W Suite 600, Mountlake Terrace
Online ordering is available.
Pricing: Most sandwiches are around $7 to $8, rice bowls are just under $9, and smoothies, fruit teas, bubble teas, dairy free teas and iced coffee options are all just under $6.
The gist: For those who crave traditional banh mi (red and white ham, a smear of pate, pickled papaya and carrot, cilantro and jalapeno) or something different, like banh mi with red curry chicken, or beef and chicken meatballs, or the restaurant’s namesake, stuffed with dried shredded pork (a salty, chewy, jerky-like filling), Vietnamese red and white ham and all the fixin’s. Veggie folks have a choice of tofu or imitation meats for their banh mi. Wash it down with Banh Mi Bites’ inexpensive drink list. The strawberry raspberry snow tea (dairy-free), pandan milk tea and green coffee (with green tea) all caught my eye.
8418 Bowdoin Way, Edmonds
Pricing: Most mains are in the $10 to $15 range.
The gist: The name speaks for itself. You can get Pad Thai (gluten-free), Pad See Ew, wide noodle dishes like Kee Mao and Kua Gai, as well as soups (I’ve heard great things about the Tom Yum noodle soup). Their satay noodles with curried meat and a saucy peanut sauce sound especially tempting. If you’re not in a slurping mood, Noodle Hut also has fried rice dishes with crab, pineapple or sour sausage. Be sure to check out their specials when you pop in.
Omar’s Taqueria #2
20801 Hwy 99 #102, Lynnwood
Pricing: Ranges from a $2 taco to $13 for a burrito or asada fries and $14 for pollo asado (roasted chicken plate)
The gist: Head to Omar’s if you have a short lunch break but want something eons better than your sad meal prep chicken. I was in and out in under 15 minutes. Omar’s has your typical meat choices for tacos: beef, beef cheeks, tripe, chicken, and spicy or fried pork. I ordered one each of the chicken and beef cheeks, which were tender and juicy enough to drip down my arm. The tacos had an appropriately hefty meat-to-tortilla ratio, and the double corn tortillas held together well. One of the cooks brought out two large squeeze bottles of a spicy red salsa and a creamier cilantro sauce. Your breath will smell like onion, and that is perfectly okay. Order a mandarin Jarritos to wash it down. There are three tables inside and a couple of picnic tables for a nice day. Omar’s has a few locations, including its #1, at 2002 196th St SW A, Lynnwood.
Fork Mediterranean Grill
3925 196th St. SW #102, Lynnwood
Online ordering is available.
Pricing: Most sandwiches are $11 to $12, shawarma and kabob plates range from $13 to about $17, most salads cost $11 to $14 and burgers are about $9 or $13 for a plate
The gist: Classic Mediterranean done right. You can get thinly sliced lamb, beef gyro meat, chicken, falafel and more in wrapes and pita, over rice or salad or hummus — choose your own adventure. Customers have raved about the exceptionally smooth hummus; the gyro fries topped with garlic sauce, feta, lamb and beef; and the overall freshness.
9 Delicacies turned Sweet Radish
520 128th St. SW B-8, Everett
The gist: KFC, but make the “K” Korean. 9 Delicacies just announced it is rebranding to Sweet Radish, and unveiled its new logo: “Hand breaded chicken”. They will be back with an “exciting announcement” on their new adventure, so stay tuned. The south Everett Korean fusion eatery served up gochujang-slathered fried chicken with refreshing and crunchy pickled daikon and cucumber, macaroni salad and more. We are excited to see what’s in store next!
Contact reporter Taylor Goebel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-339-3046. Follow her on Twitter @TaylorGoebel. Join The Daily Herald’s food-centered Facebook page, SnohomDish.