Just like the greater Houston area itself, Chinatown is home to a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, with a food scene to match. Most locations are within driving or even walking distance of each other, making it easy to hit everything on this must-try list. However, with so many great options, it might make it difficult to choose.
Soon after opening in 2013, Tiger Den instantly became a Houston local favorite thanks to their delicious Japanese ramen. It opens only for dinner after 5PM and almost always has a line, but is definitely worth the wait. The modern interior is lit with low lights and Japanese street styled décor, creating a cool and buzzing atmosphere. They specialize in noodles, made in-house fresh daily; and offer a variety of broth styles guaranteed to satisfy with their bold, rich flavors. Along with their ramen which can be paired with extra toppings or grilled skewers that are charred to perfection.
Tea Bar & Organics
This New Orleans-inspired, Vietnamese styled establishment is sure to delight anyone with a love for doughy sweets. It’s cash-only, and there is essentially one thing on the menu: beignets. Okay, there is also a selection of coffees and drinks to have along with the beignets, but basically it’s just beignets and it’s really all that’s needed. These beignets are fried to golden perfection topped with powdered sugar, and each table has a bottle of honey that marries with these puffed pastries like the couple is straight out of a Disney fairy-tale.
Coco Sweet’s can be found inside the shopping center at the Hong Kong Supermarket at the corner of the main entrance. It offers a variety of teas, smoothies and large selection of sweet treats such as pandan waffles and crepes, along with a large selection of che, a traditional Vietnamese dessert. There are infinite ways to combine ingredients to fit any personalized taste, with a wide array of tropical fruit flavors and fun jelly toppings.
One of the best things about Chinatown in Houston is that it encompasses all kinds of Asian restaurants, not just Chinese. Seoul House is a Korean barbecue restaurant that serves up traditional Korean dishes featuring a variety of marinated meats, most of which have funky names like bulgogi and bibimbap and are sure to never disappoint. Along with your entrée, they also offer an unlimited sides bar that is always worth a second visit.
Crawfish and Noodles
Anyone with a love of seafood should definitely make their way over to Crawfish and Noodles. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a mouth-burning, tear-jerking Cajun menu with Vietnamese flair. A definite must-have is the cua rang muoi or fresh blue crab stir fry, but be sure to leave room for crawfish with all the fixings.
For those craving dim sum, Fung’s Kitchen is the place to go. A typical dim sum restaurant, there are people walking around with carts of steaming hot food, stopping by each table for each person to eat with their eyes and decide what to get next. Dishes are typically only a few dollars a piece, and at the end of the meal the table will be cluttered with small plates wedged in between a dumpling or two, and yet somehow never break the bank.
Saigon Pagolac is one of the oldest restaurants in Chinatown, having opened over 25 years ago. It is famous for its signature dish, the Bo 7 Mon, or the Seven Course Beef, which is just what you’d expect: seven dishes of beef. Think of it like do-it-yourself Vietnamese fajitas, where you cook the meat right at the table and wrap it in rice paper with a variety of delicious meats and veggies. This is a great place to take a big group of friends or family.
Pho Binh By Night
Located off Dairy Ashford and Bellaire, Pho Binh By Night is a great late-night joint that serves pho, a Vietnamese national noodle soup loved by locals, especially during the winter. It’s kind of like a Vietnamese beef noodle soup for the soul, but can also be enjoyed just about any time or day of the week.
Bo Ne Houston
Bo ne is Vietnamese for ‘steak and eggs’ and this place was voted #1 steak and eggs in Houston; it is a must-have for an indulgent brunch meal. The bo ne can be ordered in either a large or small, and comes with a freshly toasted French baguette served with a side of made in-house Vietnamese butter and pate. There is also a wide variety of other classic Vietnamese dishes to suit any mood. Don’t forget to order the café sua da, or Vietnamese style coffee, to complement any meal.
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