Hidden in a secluded corner of Pike Place Market, there’s a Filipino counter whose defining feature is a bunch of handwritten signs held together by clothespins. They’re intimidating at first, but grow increasingly more hilarious the longer you look:
“YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED!!! SO DON’T ACT LIKE YOU ARE!!!”
“TO: ALL U KNUCKLEHEADS, DON’T TALK 2 ME WHILE I’M COOKING!!”
“IF U DON’T KNOW HOW TO EAT OUR SALMON SINIGANG DON’T ORDER IT”
“IF YOU’RE IN A HURRY…I’M NOT SO DON’T RUSH ME!”
“WE DO NOT ACCEPT DIFFICULT CUSTOMERS…SO KNOW YOUR ROLE!”
This is Oriental Mart, and it’s a stall that serves the best lunch at Pike Place, let alone some of the best Filipino food in Seattle.
Everything here, from pancit to the perpetually sold-out salmon sinigang, is prepared by a woman who is quite kind despite the brash signage. And the food is so good that we’d gladly brave the yogurt-gulping Ellenos fanatics around the bend. Oriental Mart serves excellent tart pork adobo over rice seeped in braising liquid, lumpia wands whose crunch reminds us of a Butterfinger bar, and shiny red longanisa sausage that deserves its own long-form documentary—so that we can learn exactly why eating its cured, caramelized glory makes us feel like Michael Bolton is serenading us in a mossy sun-stained forest. This is a very powerful meat link.
This is up there for the best meal you can get in Seattle for around $15, not to mention that the secluded location makes for a particularly low-stress Pike Place lunch ideal for locals or tourists who want to feel like locals. But just keep in mind, “YOUR PORTION DEPENDS ON YOUR ATTITUDE.” So be nice and you won’t leave hungry.
Fried to order, these long batons of pork are skinny, crunchy, and come out piping hot. Dipped in sweet chili sauce, they’re a total slam dunk. If you’re galavanting around the market looking for something to snack on, skip Pike Place Nuts and grab a two-pack of lumpia instead.
The phenomenal longanisa sausage is like biting into a banana, if said banana was caramelized on the outside and gave way to rich, crumbly cured meat. Multiple handwritten signs behind the counter allude to the fact that you may leave your significant other for this rotund oval of melty, sweet red pork. We don’t blame these people, because this is indeed Seattle’s best sausage.
Oriental Mart’s pork adobo over rice is fantastic in its simplicity. We can’t decide what’s better—the tangy slow-cooked meat or the warm rice soaked in braising liquid. Good thing you get both.
The pancit is a tasty complement to everything else, and while it’s a little forgettable, these stir-fried noodles with cabbage and carrot come for free with any entree.