Bellevue—specifically Downtown Bellevue—is one weird place. It’s nice. Too nice. Like free wifi everywhere nice. Quiet streets all the time nice. Teslas everywhere you look nice. I thought Bellevue was just a little sibling city to Seattle, but no no no, this is less city and more concentrated suburb, more Tyson’s Corner, Virginia than Seattle.
That said, I don’t hate it. It’s walkable, though good god do the crosswalks make no sense. Coming from a week in Chicago, if I see one crosswalk sign say stop then I assume I can just go the other direction and at least be moving somewhere but no, here in Bellevue you have to wait a minute and a half for that oh so brief 15 second window when it is 100% safe to cross, and let me tell you, it is horrible. I’m not asking for Manhattan’s grid of oh-so-easy-to-jaywalk one way streets but please, don’t do this.
Okay enough of that—Bellevue is still well worth it for the downtown park, chilling by Whaler’s Cove, and most certainly for Facing East, this fantastic strip mall Taiwanese restaurant just a block north of downtown. We actually went there twice because it was that good. I’m Cantonese and chow fun is my family’s comfort food, but Facing East’s Hakka style chow fun is somehow even better than the Cantonese version: wok fried wide rice noodles with pork, mushroom, dried shrimp (this is the magic!), and egg instead of the usual beef, scallions, and bean sprouts. I also recommend their 三杯鸡/San Bei Ji — braised three cup chicken with Fresno chilis instead of dried red chilis—but honestly with a place this good you can trust them and order anything.
Another fun place is 許留山/Hui Lau Shan, this Hong Kong mango dessert place. I give them props for using fresh yellow mangos (way better texture and flavor than your typical grocery store red and green ones) and you get them blended into drinks or iced desserts.
Last thing is if you’re into beer, definitely go to a grocery store or wine shop and grab some local beers. After drinking way too many IPAs in Richmond, it was nice to to have this “Red Cap” Irish style red ale from Kulshan brewing. Brings me back to that one night in London wandering around the river with Angus and Kristie and we ended up sitting down at this pub beneath the opera house and I had a Yakima red ale there which is a funny coincidence because the Yakima valley is right here in Washington. Whoa.
Oh yeah, also checkout Mount Rainier hikes if you got a car. We did Glacier Basin which was a nice 3 miles up, 3 miles down hike but there are so many others we wanted to try.