Slightly tucked away inside Seattle’s iconic, bustling Pike Place Market is Oriental Mart, a three generation-owned market stall. It first opened in 1971 by Milagros Apostol who immigrated to Seattle with her husband and children from the Philippines, where she owned a dry-goods store. It was a natural move for Apostol to open an Asian-goods shop in her new home, but visitors often looked at Apostol perplexed, wondering how they could cook with their newly acquired ingredients from Oriental Mart.
It wasn’t until 1987 that Apostol’s daughter Leila “Ate Lei” Rosas — referred to as the family cook — decided to open an eatery adjacent to the grocery. Since then, Rosas has been cooking dishes using ingredients found in the grocery (now run by her sister, Joy Mori), and has become known for her salmon collar sinigang and her “Do You Trust Me Plate.” What makes Oriental Mart so special is that whether you’re a tourist, local, or regular, you will be happily greeted by the family and enjoy a Filipino “home cooked meal,” all in one of America’s most popular farmers markets.
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