Christmas 2021 dining: Chinese restaurants open in Tacoma & Pierce County
A word to the wise: If you want Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in the Tacoma-Pierce County area, you need to have a game plan and a Plan B.
It’ll be busy, no matter where you order.
“Be patient, please. Like a lot of other places, we’re understaffed and so we’re really asking for is patience and we’ll try to get the order out accordingly and in a timely manner,” said Lun Tang, manager of Hong Kong Chinese restaurant in Tacoma (my favorite spot in Pierce County for battered egg rolls).
Take his words to heart. Plan ahead and order in advance, if possible. I’ve noted below which restaurants allow for that.
Expect Chinese restaurants to be busy on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and please note some restaurants listed below are open for both, some are only open Christmas Eve. We don’t have an abundance of Chinese restaurants here and Chinese for Christmas has grown in popularity. That means every Chinese restaurant will be working at its highest capacity in an era when staffing is short and supplies cost a premium. Cut the restaurants some slack. Give them lots of grace.
With that being said, here are Chinese restaurants open and serving on either Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both.
Looking for a more traditional Christmas dinner? Find where to get ham or turkey dinners here, but be warned there are slim pickings. You might have to do the cooking yourself. https://dinepiercecounty.com/2021/12/11/christmas-2021-holiday-meals-dessert-platters-around-tacoma-pierce-county/
12151 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma; 253-548-8888; https://www.forbiddencityeats.com/
Holiday hours: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve, but closed on Christmas Day.
Tip: The restaurant has hot-pot, they take reservations and they will do dine-in service on Christmas Eve, as well as take-out.
Dining style: Dine-in and take-out.
Online ordering: Yes, order online here – https://forbidencity.menufy.com/
Try these dishes: Hot pot, of course, which is a tough dish to find around here. Also, order the wok-fried green beans and the dumplings on the appetizer menu. Read a first-bite report of the restaurant right here. https://dinepiercecounty.com/2021/01/24/forbidden-city-opens-in-old-lieus-chinese-restaurant-space-in-parkland/
HONG KONG TACOMA
8843 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, 253-531-2533; http://hongkongtacoma.com/
Holiday hours: 12-9 p.m. Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day.
Tips: See the menu online here. Old school phone orders only. No online ordering. However, I heard from manager Lun Tang that the restaurant is looking at joining Door Dash in the future.
Dining style: Take-out only. Dine-in service won’t be offered.
Order ahead: “The best bet is to place the order in advance so staff will know what the timeframe is for preparing the order,” said Tang. “Ordering anytime is fine. It might be a little more hectic on Christmas Eve to put in a large order.”
Try these dishes: Egg rolls for the win. They make them the old-style way here with a dip in a batter and then a deep fry. I also love that the sweet and sour sauce is not the dayglo red kind, it’s the Polynesian pineapple style that’s brown and tasty. The same shattery crisp batter is used on the almond fried chicken, too, so get that. I’m also partial to the egg-foo young. This restaurant offers the greatest hits of Chinese-American food.
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8736 S Hosmer St., Tacoma, 253-548-2419, https://www.mingpalacewa.com/
Holiday hours: Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Dining style: Dine-in service and take-out are available. For dine-in service, they take reservations. Make them in advance. “It’s better to book a table if they’re ready, we’re going to be very busy that day,” said employee Michelle Liang.
Tips: Online order here for pickup at a specific time. No self delivery, pick-up only. Wait times will be longer than usual, Liang said.
Note: Dim sum available until 3 p.m. and dim-sum available won’t be available for take-out on Christmas Day.
Try these dishes: The restaurant has all the Cantonese basics covered. The restaurant is known for dim sum and if you’re hankering for dumplings, don’t miss the well-crimped shumai, har gow and cilantro-shrimp dumplings, but do note limited service and coverage for dim sum. Call for details.
NORTH CHINA GARDEN
2303 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; 253-572-5106, northchinagarden.com
Holiday hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day.
Dining style: Open with a full menu with dine-in, take-out service.
Tips: Order online in advance for take-out on the restaurant’s website.
Try these dishes: My favorite General Tso’s chicken in Pierce County can be found at North China Garden, home to classic Chinese-American food. The deeply-flavored sticky sauce is a clingy lacquer on big, thick chunks of fried chicken. Great destination for hand-made dumplings, too, and their soups are always my go-to.
11101 Pacific Hwy SW, Lakewood; 253-212-2167; https://www.hongsrestaurants.com/
Holiday hours: 10 a.m.-1:45 a.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Dining style: Open for take-out, as well as dine-in service. Online ordering available.
Tip: Order online through Door Dash, Uber Eats, or call in your order. View the menu here.
Try these dishes: This hybrid restaurant offers everything from Japanese to Vietnamese to a robust menu of Chinese wok classics, plus dishes such as fried rice, chow fun, chow mein and more. The restaurant has vegan items on the menu.
8623 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood; 253-589-2100, hunangarden.net
Holiday hours: Open 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day.
Tip: Phone or online order. Please note, I had difficulty getting information from the employee who answered the phone, so please call and double check all this information.
Try these dishes: Greatest hits of Chinese-American food served here.
9601 S Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-581-0102, tacomaszechuanchinese.com
Holiday hours: Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Tip: The restaurant likely won’t be offering online ordering because it will be too busy, said owner Adan Oei. She prefers that diners call in an order. However, be patient as they’re expecting to be very busy. Call in advance before Dec. 23 with specific questions.
Try these dishes: You’re doing it wrong unless you order Szechuan cuisine, for which the restaurant is known. The selection of spicy Chinese is broad. I recommend hot pepper lamb, hot pot, handmade dumplings in chile oil.
8765 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-582-3400, https://www.yenchingrestaurant.net/
Holiday hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Christmas Eve and open 4-9 p.m. Christmas Day
Dining service: Open for take-out as well as dine-in service.
Tip: No self delivery. View the menu here.
Try these dishes: The Wang family specializes in Mandarin and Szechuan cuisine and has been operating for more than 40 years. Don’t miss ordering twice-cooked pork, tender pork belly in a clingy sauce that carries a kick of spice. Also try the spicy eggplant draped in a garlic-spiked tangy sauce and Yen Ching is one of the only restaurants around here that still does a tableside mu shu pork pancake presentation.
13105 Meridian, Puyallup; 253-770-9988, http://rosegardenfoods.net/
Holiday hours: Most likely 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but call to double check.
Tips: Order online in advance on the restaurant’s website here
Try these dishes: This South Hill Chinese restaurant owned by Kathy and Jack Wang offers old style Chinese-American classics, but also a menu of regional Chinese specialties. From the Taste of China menu, the must order is the spicy seasoned chicken with stir-fried green beans and a tongue-numbing sauce made from Sichuan peppercorns. Always order the slippery wontons in hot chile oil. I love their sesame beef and Mongolian beef and any of their chicken dishes.
15609 Main St E, Sumner; 253-891-1328, facebook.com/Sumnerdragon
Holiday hours: 12-9 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Dining style: Take-out orders only both days, no dine-in and no delivery those days. Take-out orders will only be accepted by phone call.
Try these dishes: This downtown Sumner eatery covers the basics of Chinese-American dining. This is my go-to in Pierce County for fluffy egg foo young and General Tso’s chicken that glistens with a sweet-and-savory sauce. I am a big fan of their hot and sour soup.
Where: 21179 State Route 410 E, Bonney Lake, 253-826-0000, newpeking.biz
Holiday hours: 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. Closed Christmas Day.
Tip: Old school phone ordering, but view the menu here. Owner Linda Choe said, “We prefer people to call in one hour ahead of their desired pick up time. We ask not to call more than an hour ahead to ensure we have everyone’s order placed in the order it was placed.” The full menu will be served.
Critic’s pick: Spicy chicken dishes are always a good thing to order (several kinds of chicken preparations are on the menu). I appreciate the kicky heat in the General Tso’s chicken, orange chicken and hot pepper chicken.
1201 Valley Ave E, Sumner, 253-891-9900, pekinggardensumner.com
Holiday hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Dining style: Take-out only, and the full menu is available.
Tip: Pre-orders are a good idea, which you can do using their online ordering system. (Write the pickup date/time in the comments). Get a bonus if you order more than $40 – use the code “HOLIDAY.”
Call-in orders are OK, too, but they will be very busy, so know that if you call in your order, there might be quite a bit of a wait.
Try these dishes: The almond fried chicken is a must order if you’re a fan of panko-style breading, rather than the fried batter style of almond fried chicken. I always order the fried rice here.