Bruce Lee Ate Here: Tai Tung Restaurant, Seattle


Bruce Lee ate here. And now I have too. For a Christmas gift, I took my husband to the Wing Luke Asian history museum in Seattle for an interactive walking tour about Bruce Lee and his past haunts in Seattle, which included a Chinese performing arts theater, an apartment which used to house his dojo in the basement, and of course, one of his favorite Chinese restaurants, the Tai Tung.

tai tung sign

Built in 1935, the Tai Tung is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Seattle. There are large circular tables with lazs Suzans for group dining. Bruce was born in San Francisco, lived in Hong Kong and then moved to Seattle and lived there for a number of years long before he gained a major following as a movie star in the U.S.  He attended, though did not complete college at the University of Washington and met and later married his wife, Linda in Seattle. Our tour guide told us the Tai Tung was one of Bruce’s favorite places to eat .

The Tai Tung were three other couples who joined us on the tour, which made for easy family-style dining. The meal included in the tour started out with a simple bowl of chicken stock with wilted cabbage leaves. Basically won-ton soup without the won-tons. Apparently, Bruce chose this lighter soup to serve as more of an appetizer, something to whet your mouth before the main course.  The second appetizer was Chinese fried chicken wings. Unlike Southern fried chicken wings which are dredged in all-purpose flour, Chinese chicken wings are dredged in a rice flour, which gives the wings a lighter and crunchier texture.


Chinese fried chicken is crunchier and lighter than traditional fried chicken because it is dredged in rice flour.

Chinese fried chicken

Chinese fried chicken

The main courses included a  glazed garlic shrimp stir-fry. The garlic was amply-sized and tender and the garlic glaze was neither overly-salty nor overly garlic. It allowed the fishy, sea brininess of the shrimp to shine. Our tour guide tells us this was one of Bruce Lee’s favorite dishes, which his wife Linda learned to cook for him.

Garlic shrimp, one of Bruce Lee's favorites

Garlic shrimp, one of Bruce Lee’s favorites

chow mein

pork chow mein with sliced mushtooms and pan fried noodles

The other components of the meal included a sampling of other menu items, which may or may not have been Bruce’s favorites, but are popular with the locals. There was a pan fried pork chow mein. The noodles had a soft texture sort of like spaghetti, not the harder gelatinous texture found on most other menus. There was also a grilled, marinated pork  dish with plenty of sauce to pair with sticky Calrose rice and sweet and sour chicken. 

Glazed pork stir fry

Glazed pork stir fry

The tour also includes all-day admission to all the exhibits in the Wing Luke Museum and the guided historic hotel tour, located next to the museum. It served as both as an Asian-run general store and as a place to live for Asian immigrants and refugees.

Me (left), My husband, Steven (right) with Cardboard Bruce Lee (center) at the Wing Luke Musem

Me (left), My husband, Steven (right) with Cardboard Bruce Lee (center) at the Wing Luke Musem

The Bruce Lee Tour is $41.95 per adult, plus tax.

The Tai Tung Restauranunt

659 S. King St, Seattle


Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-midnight; Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Price Range: $8-14