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Halal Vietnamese at Olympic Express.

Image: Alex Hayden

Fourteen restaurants scattered along MLK Jr. Way S comprise this year’s Plate of Nations, a promo in which the restaurants serve set $15 and $25 menus large enough to share.

This marks Plate of Nations’ sixth year—and if you’ve never gone, now’s your moment. Why?

  1. It’s only on till April 10. That’s 11 more days, folks.
  2. More restaurants. Last year there were 12 restaurants; 11 the year before. Go Plate of Nations.
  3. More restaurants means more cuisines: This year there’s Mexican (Huarachito’s), Ethiopian (Momona Cafe, Cafe Ibex, Jazera), Thai and Laotian (Thai Savon), Vietnamese (Huong Duong, Rainier Restaurant, Hoang Lan), Halal (Mediterranean at Bananas Grill, Vietnamese at Olympic Express), Teriyaki (Othello Wok), Chinese (Joy Palace, Foo Lam), and good old Philly-style American (Original Philly’s).
  4. It's cheap. The $15 feast may feed two; the $25 feast may feed three. (But no judgment if they just feed you.)
  5. Some of these spots you already admire, like the Thai/Laotian Thai Savon, or the Mandarin/Cantonese Foo Lam. Others you probably won’t have been to yet, like Jazera,  which opened last spring. Be the first to tell your friends.
  6. Vegetarians will not be disappointed, given the high-plant content in many of these cuisines. (Even Original Philly’s has a Field Roast option!) Check menus on the Plate of Nations page.
  7. Huarachito’s, though not serving any of its killer huaraches (pillowy tortillas slathered with toppings), will be serving slow-braised short ribs with grilled asparagus, papas bravas, and Kahlua bread pudding with agave caramel for dessert.
  8. When Anthony Bourdain comes to Seattle he goes to Rainier Restaurant for Vietnamese BBQ. Seriously, he’s done it twice. Deep-fried quail and ong choy beef salad, along with other stuff. You, however, will eat twice-cooked pork and egg in clay pot. Along with other stuff.
  9. Participating in Plate of Nations is a win-win: Restaurants and cuisines that don’t get a ton of attention finally get the spotlight they merit, while patrons broaden their dining—and perhaps geographical—horizons.  Which leads to the granddaddy of reasons 2016 is your year to try Plate of Nations:
  10. LIGHT RAIL! Downtown and southern neighborhoods have long been accessible to MLK restaurants this way, but the residential enclaves of Capitol Hill and north of the cut are now a whole lot closer. Mt. Baker, Columbia City, and Othello rail stops are the ones you’re after, especially the latter with its close proximity to five of the participating restaurants and reasonable walk to four more.