It’s paramount to have a working knowledge of good restaurants in your neighborhood for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But what about snacks? Or those times you’re not super hungry but you just want … something. Something small, just a few delicious bites. Sweet or savory. That was the question I needed answered in White Center the other day.
I already knew about Good Day Donuts, and unfortunately it was too early in the day for a Spicy Dog from Das Wagon. But there are plenty of other food trucks, hidden counters and cafes — both sleek and no frills — to satisfy that snack craving. Here are a few.
To say this spot is only good for a quick snack break is selling it short. You can get everything from platters of Salvadorean sausages with eggs and fried plantains and pupusas to whole rotisserie chickens and tamales. There’s also a small grocery section selling cheese, tortillas, hot sauce, dried beans and other pantry staples. But it’s hard to get past the three glass-fronted cases brimming with pastries, cookies and rolls, a row of bright piñatas swaying slightly overhead.
There are guava empanadas and guava turnovers; little spiced cookies called puerquitos shaped like pigs; and pinguinos, a chocolate cupcake filled with whipped cream. Hands down, the best thing is the pastelito de leche ($1), a rice-flour cookie filled with a Salvadorean custard that tastes similar to crème brûlée without the burnt sugar topping. The cookie is crisp without being crumbly, and the custard is rich and delicious. And that pinguino ($2.75)? If you were a kid raised on Little Debbie chocolate cupcakes, these are for you. Moist chocolate cake is coated in a magic chocolate shell — there was the tiniest amount of the promised whipped cream on the inside, but I didn’t miss it.
Best Roasted Corn
This sunny yellow truck is parked just behind Korean fried-chicken specialist Bok a Bok, sharing parking-lot space with Taqueria La Fondita #2. Here you can get ears of corn dusted with chili powder and lemon, mayo and cheese, or even just butter and salt (it’s called “The American”). There’s also corn served esquites-style, shorn off the cob and mixed with mayo, cheese, chili powder and lemon served in a cup or a bowl further embellished with everything from chips to chicharron. “The Mexican” is a classic preparation of mayo, chili powder, lemon and cheese ($3) — your choice of hot or mild chili powder — and served on a stick, tightly wrapped in foil. Unwrap the foil as soon as possible, as the corn continues to steam while in the foil and could result in a slightly mushy cob. Forget butter and salt, this is the way to eat corn as it hits all your taste receptors.
Taqueria La Fondita #2
Yes, I’m counting tacos as a snack. Obviously they are also a meal — but one or two street tacos can really take the edge off. Here, a plate of tacos is accompanied by a half of a tiny roasted onion and a blistered serrano pepper. That, along with the red salsa that comes with each order, turned the pork street tacos into a blissful two bites each ($7.50 for four tacos). In addition to serving tacos, this family-owned truck has a hits parade of taco-truck favorites; sopitos, tortas, burritos, mulitas, taquitos and more. There’s a little covered seating area in the event of inclement weather, although beware of hungry pigeons that lurk underneath the wood picnic tables.
New Angkor Market
As you munch on roasted corn, you might notice the vibrant mural covering the wall just across 98th Street depicting the Angkor Wat Temple, a bodhisattva from a Buddhist temple and a golden lotus. The building houses a Cambodian grocery store, New Angkor Market. Inside you’ll find the usual grocery-store items as well as a jewelry counter, but right next to the cash register there is a tiny little hot case filled with fried items. There are noum kong, ring doughnuts topped with sesame caramel-like glaze, sesame balls filled with mung beans, strips of fried taro, and mung bean and taro cakes. Pick any two for a dollar — and make sure to get at least four of those doughnuts. Noum kong (also called nom kong) are made with rice flour. They’re light and sweet, the crunchy glaze a perfect sugar injection. On the other end, the chunky mung-bean cakes are almost like a muffin made of hash browns. They’re a little greasy and wonderfully salty. I would grab a sackful and bring it over to Beerstar for the perfect drinking snack.
You might need a spot to bring those noum kong doughnuts, and luckily Moonshot Coffee is just a few doors away. This bright, plant-filled space serves beans from Olympia’s Olympia Coffee Roasters and has a full menu of specialty drinks, like the Miel — a combination of espresso, honey and cinnamon ($4.25). There is also a case of premade cookies and pastries available.
Salvadorean Bakery, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily; 1719 S.W. Roxbury St., Seattle; 206-762-4064, thesalvadoreanbakery.com
Best Roasted Corn, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; 9811 15th Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-307-7724
New Angkor Market, 9660 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-763-9269
Taqueria la Fondita #2, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. daily; 9811 15th Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-551-0529
Moonshot Coffee, open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; 9622 16th Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-620-0315, moonshotcoffee.com