Oriental Mart

1506 Pike Place

Oriental Market, Pike Place Market, August 21, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Waiter statue, Oriental Market, Pike Place Market, August 21, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Mila Apostol and her family, Oriental Mart, Pike Place Market, Seattle, April 12, 1986, Photo by John Stamets, Courtesy UW Special Collections (MPH4202)

In this part of the Corner Market, dating to 1912, the level of the building facing Pike Place has long housed open-fronted shops like this one. On the site of the Market’s genesis, the Corner Market was built to house market stalls and storage space, soon home to vendors featuring a wide range of products: dairy, coffee, spices, confections, flowers, fruit, seafood, meat. In 1973, Mila Apostol opened this shop, a much smaller nook at the time, selling grocery items from her native Philippines, Japan, China, and Thailand. Oriental Mart has grown to be a popular stop for global foods, gifts, and souvenirs, and also a gem of a place for Filipino cuisine. The kitchenette addition came in 1987, inspired by daughter Leila “Ate Lei” Apostol Rosas, now co-owner (with her sister Joy) and kitchen doyenne.

The menu is homestyle, based on daily inspirations and using ingredients from vendors within steps of her stove. You’ll hope that the salmon sinigang hasn’t run out for the day, the fragrant soup getting its tang from tamarind. But you can hardly go wrong with pork or chicken adobo, pancit (thin noodles), longanisa (sausages), or whatever else “Ate Lei” has cooked for the day. As you sit at the counter, scan the handwritten signs posted in the kitchen, evidence of the convivial, familial personality of this place.

Continue past the lunch counter and up a few stairs back to Pike Street, turn left to continue up the stairs to the top (third) floor.

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