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