The IE’s First Annual Northwest Asian Pacific American Reader’s Choice 2010

The International Examiner January 5, 2011 Comments Off on The IE’s First Annual Northwest Asian Pacific American Reader’s Choice 2010

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1. Best Dim Sum Worth Rolling Out of Bed For

424 7th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 622-8181

Renowned for its succulent chicken feet, this restaurant, voted ‘best’ dim sum in numerous publications, serves up giant shrimp dumplings and honey walnut prawns for a price that won’t break your wallet.

2. Best Finger-Licking Korean BBQ

2300 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 623-9996

Patrons experience a comprehensive menu while enjoying frothy and flavorful soups at Shilla’s. Easy parking and a convenient location in downtown Seattle mean repeat customers for this long-time Japanese-Korean fusion eatery.

3. Best Fresh Sushi

1001 Fairview Ave N # 1800
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 625-9604

An affordable $3 and up Happy Hour and amazing view of Lake Union is just icing on the cake for this trendy spot. This restaurant is appreciated for its fresh sushi and delicate presentations that will wet your palate.

4. Best Happy Hour

614 Maynard Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-6830

A popular hang-out for diverse crowds, the Bush Garden is known for rowdy good times and a large selection of happy hour treats. If you’re looking for the full happy hour experience, Bush Garden will satisfy both your appetite and thirst for stiff drinks.

5. Best Bang For Your Buck Restaurant

663 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 667-8760

This bistro is a favorite eatery for late-night diners appreciating great creamy curries, salty fish, and stuffed eggplant. Patrons enjoy large portions in authentic Hong Kong-style cuisine for a deal.

6. Best Chinese Restaurant

2828 Sunset Lane NE, Renton, WA 98058
(425) 228-9393

A great new find in the south-end where patrons can experience a hip lounge and good dim sum. A spacious and trendy environment invites professionals and a diverse clientele to step out of Chinatown for a change of scenery but still enjoy classic Chinese fare.

7. Best Vietnamese Restaurant

418 8th Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 340-1388

Known for swift service and consistent, good old-fashioned Vietnamese home-cooking, this veritable favorite has a devoted following. People have been praising it since its opening and the authentic Vietnamese cuisine will keep them coming.

8. Best Thai Restaurant

406 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 327-4838

Known for sweet dishes in an unassuming outpost in the International District, reasonable prices for good portions mean customers have an appetite to return! Consistently good Thai fare has gotten the attention of other polls and the small eatery is often packed with hungry diners.

9. Best Indian Restaurant

4759 Brooklyn Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 527-4000

Great, friendly service adds to the ambience of this long-time Seattle favorite. Their kebabs and falafels have satisfied the cravings of customers for years. The owners will greet diners personally and go above and beyond to ensure a great dining experience. Try the Turkish coffee at your next visit!

10. Best Bubble Tea Café

619 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-9028

As the first bubble tea joint to open its doors in the International District neighborhood, the café has earned repeat business for the trendy concoction it dispenses out — sweet milk tea in a vast array of flavors and combinations.

11. Favorite Local Artist


Born in 1930, the veteran artist, Frank Fujii, has a loyal and appreciative following of fans. When World War II broke out, his family was forced to shut down their business and enter Minidoka incarceration camp. Art inspired him throughout his life and he later received an Art degree from the University of Washington. He taught art at Cleveland and Franklin High Schools and at Seattle Central Community College for numerous years. Many of his former students are still living in the area and honor his work and dedication to preserving the community – often donating his art work to local organizations and causes. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience dedicated a space to the legendary artist, called the Frank Fujii Youth Space.

12. Best Local Musician/Band


Renowned as a smooth jazz keyboardist, Deems Tsutakawa is always a hit with the crowd! His warm smile and friendly eye contact encourages audiences to move to his rhythm and “go with the flow.” He expresses an artistic freedom refreshing to listeners and engaging to newer ones as he plays well-known hits with a “Deems” twist.

13. Favorite Local Community Activist


Al Sugiyama stepped away after nearly 30 years as the founder and former executive director of the Center for Career Alternatives (CCA). The local agency provides employment training, vocational education and career counseling for minority and disadvantaged communities – a critical cause in a down-turning economy. Al Sugiyama has been active in promoting and fighting for social justice for decades, beginning in his twenties. He also makes a point to share resources and contacts with other agencies, mentor youth, and fundraise for multiple causes — all in an effort to uplift the community. In 1989, he was the first API elected to the Seattle School Board.

14. Favorite Member of Seattle City Council


First elected in 2007, Bruce Harrell is serving on the legislative body of the City of Seattle — its City Council. He practiced law for 20 years before running for political office and earned a Masters in Organizational Design and Improvement. During his campaign, he received the most endorsements from current and former elected officials, organizations and individuals. Harrell had the most volunteers and out-raised all of his opponents, winning the general election by a significant 20 percent margin. He is the first member of Japanese decent to have served on the Seattle City Council. Among his accomplishments while in office are achieving savings at Seattle City Light, where he is the Chair, without jeopardizing the Utility’s strategic plan or commitment to provide reliable service; replacing many of Seattle’s residential streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights; initiating the Seattle Public Engagement Portal that allows Seattle residents to offer the City feedback and receive notices of the legislative process among other things; and helping spearhead a mentoring movement for urban youth.

15. Favorite Politician that’s Not a Politician


Bob Santos is one of the most recognizable figures in the Asian Pacific American community in Seattle. The son of Filipino and Native American/Filipino parents, “Uncle Bob” as he’s affectionately called, became involved in civil rights in the 1960s, encouraging Seattle activists of different ethnic and racial groups to collaborate together toward their common causes. For over fifteen years, he then served as the Executive Director for the International District Improvement Association (Inter*Im). He helped establish a number of culturally appropriate social services for Asians and mentored a new generation of young Asian activists. In 1982, along with the “Gang of Four”, including the late Bernie Whitebear, Larry Gossett, and the late Roberto Maestas, they co-founded the Minority Executive Director’s Coalition (MEDC). He also oversaw the Seattle C/ID Preservation Development Authority and served as Regional Director of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1994 – 2001. Today, he continues to provide resources, contacts, advice, support, and leadership to numerous causes and people.

16. Favorite Mom and Pop Business

2335 Rainier Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 322-4368

The Mutual Fish Company is a retail and wholesale seafood market owned and managed by three generations of the Yoshimura family for nearly 65 years – since 1947. The business was kept a small operation, allowing the family to cultivate life-long relationships with customers and provide quality seafood. Visitors snatch up the fresh shrimp, live Dungeness crab, and sushi-grade tuna to make their own gourmet seafood dishes. Knowledgeable employees are happy to greet customers and share their know-how.

17. Favorite Entrepreneur/Business Owner


Before providing the latest fare in Asian ingredients and groceries, the owner of the Viet Wah grocery chain, Duc Tran, first served as a translator for a refugee program in Seattle following the Vietnam War and helped refugees transfer from one part of the country to another. Noticing a need from immigrants for cultural food, Tran opened a catering business offering ingredients that reminded the refugees of home – a business that later evolved into the renowned Viet Wah chain. Few people know this successful businessman and entrepreneur also gives back generously to the community, a duty he remains humble about.

18. Favorite Neighborhood Coffee Shop

607 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 515-4000

The historic Panama Hotel and Teahouse was built in 1910 as a “working man’s hotel” – providing minimal amenities for residing immigrants and workers. The building was first built by Sabro Ozasa, a Japanese American architect. The hotel was home to generations of Seattle’s immigrant laborers and travelers — and even boasts the only remaining Japanese Bathhouse left intact in the U.S. The hotel is preserved in the same state it was in when it initially closed its doors in 1950. Today, it serves as a historic hotel with a popular neighborhood café, complete with original, exposed brick walls and historic photos.

19. Favorite Neighborhood Bookstore

1521 10th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 624-6600

Known as “Seattle’s legendary independent bookstore”, this city landmark is appreciated for its support of local writers, ethnic writers and unique books. Recently moving from its well-known location in the Pioneer Square to Capital Hill, the bookstore is home to over 150,000 titles and near-daily author readings.

20. Favorite Philanthropist


Jerry Lee is the chairman for MulvannyG2 Architecture, but is equally known for his philanthropic ventures within the Asian American community and mainstream causes. His efforts to support breast cancer research is a personal one and has dedicated his resources and time to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. He and his company have raised hundreds of thousands to the Susan G. Komen cause. He is also appreciated for his charity to causes of the Chinese and Asian American communities. Growing up in an impoverished Portland, Ore. neighborhood, Lee gives back generously without considering what will be given in return. This has become his rallying call and philosophy.

21. Favorite Corporate Giver

505 Fifth Ave S, Suite 900
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 342-2000

Often named one of the top philanthropists in the nation, with lifetime giving exceeding $1 billion, Paul G. Allen uses a range of philanthropic endeavors to improve the quality of life of others. Vulcan gives back to youth and education; health and human services, diversity; arts and humanities and in supporting communities. Vulcan says one of its highest priorities is in collaborating with the neighbors and partners in the areas they do business.

22. Event You Most Look Forward to Attending Each Year


SIS Productions
2315 24th Avenue South
Seattle WA 98144
(206) 323-9443

Sex in Seattle is an episodic theatre show exploring the evolving lives of four modern Asian American women. From a former IE review: “[it] offers audiences a sassy and lighthearted approach to an often marginalized and stigmatized conversation: Asian American sexuality.” The plays give voice to “often observed but rarely heard perspectives.” The long-running and popular play has captivated audiences for years. While many non-profit fundraising events made the cut, this fun-filled event is the most anticipated for Seattle audiences. Check out episode 19 playing April 1 – 19, 2011!

23. Favorite Executive Director of an Organization


Al Sugiyama retired from his role as Executive Director of the Center For Career Alternatives after nearly 30 years of leadership and vision. The center provides employment training, education and career counseling for disadvantaged people, helping them get back on their feet and restart their life. Al Sugiyama has been instrumental in the center’s growth from a start-up to established non-profit agency. His desire to build connections and give all people a second chance at life is an inspiring example to us all.

24. Most Beloved, Invaluable Volunteer

Sheila Custodio-Burrus

Sheila Custodio-Burrus is the President for the Filipino Chamber of Commerce for the Pacific Northwest (FCCPNW) and owns Sheila Burrus State Farm Insurance. Born in the Philippines, Custodio-Burrus is also a board member for the Filipino Community of Seattle and a founding committee member for the Seattle Symphony and Asian American cultural collaboration event, Celebrate Asia! An enthusiastic volunteer for both Filipino and Asian American causes, Custodio-Burrus is also a wife to Tim Burrus and mother to two boys, Detrix, 17, and Teiji, 9.

25. Best Youth Mentor


As the IDEA Space manager at the Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation Development Authority (ScidPDA), Joyce is often in charge of overseeing multiple interns, Americorps workers, and youth. The IDEA Space, the PDA’s design and resource center, serves as a way to spur dialogue and mobilize community members to ensure their voice is included in larger discussions that will shape the neighborhood. It’s a great breeding ground for young people to connect and give back to their community in a meaningful way. Her leadership has educated and inspired numerous youths.

26. Favorite Community Center

5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 722-9372

Remodeled and redesigned to serve the Filipino American community of Seattle, the center re-opened its doors in 2008. Back in 1965, Filipino elders scraped together money to buy the Empire Bowling Alley and turn it into a community center. There, it was an important home to the Filipino community for many years. Today, the renovated center on MLK Way boasts space for tutoring programs for Filipino American kids, and more space for meetings by Filipino and non-Filipino organizations. It has become a hub for young activists, a positive hang-out for youth, a place to maintain or develop ties between generations, and honor veterans and Filipino history and contributions to America.

27. Defender of Green Causes


As the Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona, in California, this recipient doesn’t hail from the Northwest, but we’ll honor our reader’s choice to award the first Asian American on Los Angeles’ City Council. Michael Woo spearheaded a redevelopment campaign for the Hollywood area, and was appointed to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission in 2005. He also chairs the national board of directors of Smart Growth America, the national coalition advocating compact development patterns and sustainable transportation choices.

28. Best Advocate for API Health

720 8th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 788-3700

The International Community Health Services (ICHS) is the largest Asian and Pacific Islander non-profit community health center in Washington state with a location in south Seattle and the Seattle’s Chinatown/International District. For over 35 years, ICHS has offered a full range of primary medical, dental, and preventive health education services, as well as Chinese Traditional Medicine. A culturally-competent and multilingual support staff makes the clinic a one-of-a-kind health center for the needs of the Asian American community in Seattle. Teresita Batayola is the Chief Executive Officer of International Community Health Services. She has worked with politicians, community leaders, and corporations to raise awareness of health issues and healthcare within the Asian American and disadvantaged communities.

29. Favorite Writer


Alan Lau has served as the Arts Editor for the Examiner for over thirty years and single-handedly developed it Arts section and cultivated its following, which exists to this day. The artist and poet has devoted friends and colleagues who he supports through diligent coverage. In a world where Asians are still stereotyped, Alan helped forge a new identity in Seattle of the Asian American artist – a pioneer in the community.

30. Local Politician with the Best Pipes


Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos may have a distinguished history of social justice and legislation, but its her pipes that readers say she’s renowned for! The representative of our 37th district has cut a rug and belted out a great medley of songs in a delightful voice, entertaining multitudes. Thanks for sharing your hidden talent, Rep. Tomiko-Santos!

31. Best Place To Get Your American Idol On To

614 Maynard Avenue S, Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 682-6830

It’s a long-time iconic haunt of Seattlelites, community members, politicians and those seeking a casual and chaotic good time. It’s where suit jackets come off, egos are left at the door, and friends are made. “The Bush” as it’s referred to, is a familiar happy hour hide-out. Actually, it may have started Happy Hour! In any case, stop by there for lunch or after work and find yourself surrounded with friends and a robust sound system.

32. Favorite Local Newscaster/Journalist


The iconic Japanese American reporter currently co-anchors KING 5 News weeknights at 10 p.m. on KONG and KING 5 News at 11 on KING 5. Matsukawa was first hired at KING 5 in 1983 as a reporter and helped establish the Seattle branch of the Asian American Journalist’s Association (AAJA). In 2005, Lori was given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the AAJA for mentoring aspiring journalists and was inducted into the University of Washington Communication Department’s Alumni Hall of Fame. She has been honored by numerous other organizations for her dedication to the community and its growth, including dedicating time to the Japanese American community and co-chairing a committee that built the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington.

33. Favorite Park to Return to Nature

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 684-4396

Located in South Seattle, this popular park offers extraordinary views of Lake Washington, 300 acres of forest land, a 2.4-mile bike and walking path, an amphitheater, art studio and miles of hiking trails. Its location and proximity to the city allows people to visit it often and enjoy the Northwest’s gifts.

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