Recent big buzz in Seattle foodie circles: renowned restaurant Din Tai Fung will open a new location at University Village later this year, according to The Seattle Times. The Taiwanese chain, famous for its Shanghai-style soup dumplings, already has a branch in Bellevue that is always packed. The new location will probably have long waits, too, but at least Seattleites won’t have to cross the bridge to get their xiao long bao fix in the future.
The popularity of Din Tai Fung here, though, may be something of an exception among restaurants serving Chinese cuisine. Despite the thriving restaurant culture in Seattle, where eating out has become the norm rather than an occasional treat, patronage of Chinese restaurants is surprisingly low.
Less than a third of people in the Seattle metropolitan area say they’ve eaten in a Chinese restaurant in the past 30 days, according to surveys conducted by market data firm Scarborough Research. That’s 22 percent below the U.S. average, and it ranks Seattle 50th among the 50 largest market areas in the nation.
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That’s right — last place.
In top-ranked San Francisco, more than half the population say they’ve enjoyed a meal at a Chinese restaurant within the past 30 days. That’s 63 percent higher than Seattle.
We love eating out here — but why are so few of us choosing Chinese restaurants when we do? Has Chinese food been eclipsed by other cuisines in Seattle? Or is there some other reason?
Gene Balk: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-515-5052. On Twitter: @genebalk