Dreaming of Noodles

Portland’s Gado Gado Pops Up at the Whale Wins This Weekend

Offering "sambal-rocking fever dreams" and grilled sardines, Portland's Gado Gado will be taking over the menu at the Whale Wins this Sunday.

By Philip Kiefer February 14, 2019

Curry laksa, offered at an earlier popup at Portland's Langbaan.

Gado Gado, an “Indonesian soul food” operation that made its name as a standout popup in Portland’s crowded restaurant scene, will make a Seattle cameo over the weekend. The restaurant—which apparently sets rumor mills grinding and gets strangers sharing forkfuls of food across the dining room—will do a menu takeover at the Whale Wins this Sunday.

Gado Gado’s food takes its cues from Southeast Asia—think handmade noodles and lime and fresh fish—but can’t be pigeonholed to one style. The name, borrowed from a type of Indonesian salad, roughly translates as “all mixed up,” or “chaotic.” If there’s anything constant about Gado Gado, it’s a tendency towards experimentation—chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly plays around with everything from pumpkin bao to rice noodles with ham hock ragu. On the Seattle menu for this Sunday, February 17: grilled sardines, Balinese blood sausages, and heaps of sambal, a house mainstay. (Our sibling magazine Portland Monthly described Gado Gado’s take on Sunday gravy as “a sambal-rocking fever dream.”)

The restaurant, which Pisha-Duffly runs with his wife, Mariah, got its start as a popup, playing around with both brunch and dinner menus. This past January, Gado Gado settled into a permanent space in Portland, serving dim sum-style brunches and dumplings to a burgeoning cult following.

The Gado Gado popup is the second in a series of “travel-inspired Sunday dinners” at the Whale Wins. The first of these dinners was held last month, and focused on Morocco. According to folks at the Whale Wins, the next, slated for March, will be tentatively aimed at Greece. Sunday’s menu takeover happens from 5–9pm. Make reservations online.

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