Discovering The Jade District
written by Courtney Tait | photography by Choiyee Wong
Like many Portland neighborhoods, the 12-block stretch along Southeast 82nd Avenue — between Division Street and Powell Boulevard — is changing. Named the Jade District as part of a revitalization project overseen by the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), the area is home to Portland’s biggest concentration of Asian Americans, and showcases a diverse range of shops, markets and restaurants — with dishes well deserving of a place on the city’s culinary map.
FuLai Wong, executive chef of Wong’s King Seafood, has seen the district’s growth firsthand since opening the restaurant in 2004, and he welcomes it. “It’s a good thing to have competition,” he says. “It brings options to people. They might not want to eat the same thing every day. They might like the restaurant down the street, and the next time, they might come to my place. We just stay true to ourselves and keep doing what we’re doing.”
With light-pole banners defining the district, a community garden filled with culturally-specific vegetables, and a highly successful Night Market featuring international food and drinks, performers, vendors, and a beer garden, the Jade District celebrates its diversity while welcoming visitors to take part in its evolution.
“It’s a good experience,” says Wong. “You have a lot of seafood markets, you can find a teahouse, a favorite dim sum restaurant — it’s a good place to visit.”