We were by the Lowe’s in Bellevue looking for boots and saw this new restaurant, Looking for Chai. We heard good things about it from friends and thought we would give it a whirl. We were there on Monday afternoon at 1:40 and there were 3 or 4 other couples in the restaurant. A steady stream of people trickled in and out the whole time we were there. It was not crowded and so the wait staff were very attentive and very friendly with the kids. The restaurant was clean, bright and also pretty quiet ( so we didn’t have to shout to be heard). I also really like the place settings they have for little kids!
Bright and airy restaurant.
Great place settings for kids.
Without further ado, the food. They have the usual stuff like popcorn chicken, beef noodle soup, pork chop fried rice, stewed minced pork over rice and Taiwanese A cai. I took a picture of the appetizers on the menu but not every page of the menu cause I didn’t want to look like a stalker. The prices are pretty decent and comparable to other Taiwanese joints in town.
The menu at Looking for Chai.
We ordered the beef noodle soup, pork chop over rice, popcorn chicken appetizer, and tomato seafood hotpot.
I did not get a chance to take a picture of the big bowl of the beef bowl noodle soup ( it got devoured very quickly as we were ravenous), The beef noodle soup comes with some pickled veggies and spring onions. The noodles were smooth and soft ( not the chewy kind), the meat was tender and the broth was light but flavorful. I thought it was not bad for the size of the bowl, amount of meat and price.
The pork chop over rice comes with half a soy egg, and corn. The pork chop was spiced with salt and pepper. It was a pretty decent size pork chop but maybe a little too much breading for my liking and a tad dry. The rice could definitely use more gravy ( stewed minced pork gravy). I think I still like the pork chop over rice at Facing East a tad more.
The popcorn chicken was tasty, not too much breading and the pieces of chicken were a decent size. I would order this again for sure.
Lastly the tomato and seafood hotpot. On the menu were other options like Taiwanese spicy hotpot, lamb and kimchi hotpot, beef with satay sauce hotpot, milk with pumpkin puree hotpot and a few others. As can be seen from the picture, it comes with a serving of rice, sa cha sauce and chili oil. There were 3 clams, some prawns and some other stuff in the hotpot, it was definitely filled to the brim with food, not just soup (slightly sour tomato based). This reminded me a Boiling Point but cheaper and just as tasty. Boiling Point has more selections; it is after all a hotpot restaurant. It is meant for one but can be easily shared family style.
We also ordered a milk tea trio (bubbles, pudding and jelly) and you can order it with no ice and reduced sugar (hurray!). There were generous pieces of jelly and pudding and tapioca bubbles were just the right amount of chewiness. I did not manage a picture of this as the kids drank it pretty quickly. They have a huge selection of bubble tea with all kinds of add-ons. They also had winter melon tea which I used to drink pretty often in high school ( going to try that next time!).
Our total bill came to about $50+ (including tax and tip). I thought the bill was reasonable and the service was really good. I liked our experience there, and liked that it was very kid friendly. I saw other patrons ordering the 3 cup chicken, clams, bamboo shoot pork and noodle dishes. I can’t wait to try out the rest of the menu!
IF you like taiwanese food, check out our review for Hardwok Cafe too.